This Sunday, one of the oldest Wesleyan churches is celebrating its 170th birthday, and it has been worshiping continuously in the same church building all of that time.

On September 23, 1843 the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Morley opened its doors for the first time. In northern New York near the Adirondacks, it was a part of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America that was formed in May 1843. The Methodist Church’s views on slavery caused Rev. Orange Scott, abolitionist, and others to split into this new group. A group had been meeting in Morley for several years under the leadership of John Byington. Byington had attended the conference where this split occurred. After hearing his report of the proceedings the local congregation decided to affiliate with this new group. And thus the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Morley was born. Rev. Lyndon King, a circuit preacher, was the first pastor.

The current church building is the same one that was built in 1843, albeit with many additions and updates. The church parsonage next door to the church was built in 1845, again with additions and updates. It has been said that the parsonage was a stop on the Underground Railroad, where runaway slaves from the south were hidden on the way to freedom north of the St. Lawrence River.

Over the past few years the church has been updated inside and out. Recently the interior has been totally renovated and a community room created.

Morley Wesleyan Church enjoys engaging in community outreach and missions. We have partnered with the Morley Library, Morley Fire Department, and Morley Heritage Grist Mill in helping put on the Morley Summer Fest. A hunter safety class was hosted with another one coming up soon. Last year we presented a Trunk-or-Treat (Halloween) for the community and will again this year. We also presented a soccer camp/vacation Bible school in July.

At almost the same time as the anniversary, the church is welcoming a new pastor. Rev. David Bannach will be making the move from Indiana at the beginning of October.

Ralph Williams serves as treasurer and historian for Morley Wesleyan Church.