History

 

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The Blasdell Gospel Chapel is the oldest church in the village of Blasdell, New York. Some consecrated Christian laymen came into this community and conducted gospel services in a small schoolhouse on the Milestrip Road. It was about 1885 that Mr. Alex Tweedly, Mr. John Townsend, Mr. Edward Fairbairn and Mr. Sims secured the little red German two-room schoolhouse to hold the services. These gentlemen walked weekly from Elmwood Gospel Chapel in Buffalo on mud streets and wooden sidewalks and brought about the founding of the congregation.

The schoolhouse was used for public as well as spiritual instruction. School children helped to advertise these meetings and the school house was filled to capacity each night for several weeks.

As a result of the precious seed sown, souls were saved and 12 believers were baptized in Lake Erie in July of 1888. Rush Creek was also a site of some baptisms. During this same summer a Sunday School was started in the afternoon. For nearly a decade, this was the only house of worship in the community.

Blasdell Gospel Chapel

Blasdell Gospel Chapel

The congregation outgrew the small meeting house on the Milestrip Road by the year of 1894. In the spring of 1890, Wood, Harmon & Co. from Buffalo donated lots #735 and #736 on the south side of Arthur Avenue where our present chapel is located. Most of the materials and labor for the original building were donated. The building was completed in 1894 and services were then held there.DSC_0808

A shed to shelter horses and wagons was also built at the back of the chapel. Those who stayed for the evening services would bring kerosene lanterns to guide them home. For those who came some distances, sandwiches, hot tea and coffee were oftentimes provided in the sheds located in the back where carriages parked. Horses, of course, were tied to the hitching rail at the side of the building.

According to our records in 1900, total offerings for that year amounted to $40.08 and that was high because of building expenses. But in 1901 receipts dropped, totaling $26.68.

In October of 1904, as required by section 81 of Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York, this group known as Believers was incorporated taking the name of Believers in Christ, Inc. Because of loss of records in 1929, we were reinstated as a corporation so we could be recipients of an inheritance. Through this incident, we discovered the necessity of using our legally correct name, Believers in Christ, Inc. by those willing any monies to our group.

Blasdell Gospel Chapel 1949

Blasdell Gospel Chapel 1949

In the early days the auditorium was divided by folding doors. The old platform under the arch was in line with the present double doors leading down to the kitchen area, making the auditorium about half the size it is now. Another archway at the back of the sanctuary has been changed to a glass partition. Two potbelly stoves kept the place warm. The lighting of the building has undergone several changes. Originally, kerosene lamps were attached on the side walls and one hung in the front. Gas lights were installed next. The gas bill in 1916 for one month was only $.30. From there we went to electric fixtures.

Seating has taken a lot of changes. At first we used wooden spindle chairs which were set in a circle in the back room (which is our present foyer) when the believers gathered for the Breaking of Bread. This service is still conducted at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday morning when we observe the Lord’s Supper. Simplicity has always been the instruction from the Word of God, using just one loaf of bread to represent the Lord’s body and the wine to represent His blood.

Blasdell Gospel Chapel Auditorium

Blasdell Gospel Chapel Auditorium

Improvements were made in 1933 by putting classrooms and a furnace in the original cellar. A baptismal tank was installed under the platform. Those having received Christ as personal Saviour and wishing to obey the command of the Lord Jesus Christ showing to whom they belong, could be baptized there. In 1976, a new fiberglass baptismal tank was installed.

Accompaniment for congregational singing was by pump organ and the first organist was Jenny Salisbury, whose mother, Mrs. Charles Salisbury, originally owned the land which Wood, Harmon donated and on which the present chapel now stands. This pump organ was carried everywhere for picnics, outdoor services, etc. Our first upright piano was donated in 1926. A baby grand was purchased in 1970 and the present organ donated in 1971.

Hand painted scripture texts on the walls call attention to the believer’s responsibilities. In John 3:16, “God gave His only Son”, therefore our central text is “unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” Gen. 49:10

Downstairs Kitchen

Kitchen

We tripled the size of the existing building in 1955 with the addition of more classrooms, a balcony, and a kitchen and basement dining area. The kitchen was a vast improvement over the small kitchen in the original cellar (still in existence, but not used at this time). The newer large kitchen is used extensively for Young People’s conferences held each September, missionary conferences, teas, fellowship suppers, weddings, etc. We thought this new dining area was marvelous and met our needs, but it was soon outgrown. Therefore a banqueting room was built in 1966 comfortably accommodating 250 seated at tables. At conference time this room is often filled beyond capacity.

In the fall of 1972, we saw our present outside structure completed. Inside we completed three large classrooms, an audio room and a library which also doubles as a classroom. This addition also included a large roughed-in shell behind the sanctuary which would some day enlarge the sanctuary to double its size. This area was used for some time by the young people as a gymnasium. Above this whole new area a three bedroom missionary apartment was built. Many members of the congregation gave of their labor to see the classrooms and apartment completed and it was not necessary to have any work contracted to an outside firm. In the fall of 1976, the old platform and arch were removed and the present sanctuary, as it appears today, was completed.

Blasdell Gospel Chapel

Blasdell Gospel Chapel

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