VBC History

1600's Church of England founded by Henry VIII breaking with the Roman Catholic Church
1700's John and Charles Wesley question practices within the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church
Middle 1700's "Methodists" are so called as they had a simple "method" for worship - Methodist Episcopal Church founded
1800's Issues that arose within the Methodist Episcopal church:

Lack of pursuit of Holiness (lure of worldliness)
"Political" influence on church
Membership in secret societies
Freedom for all persons (slavery)Favoritism to wealthy - "rented" pews

Benjamin Titus (B.T.) Roberts - opposition to "unholy" practices - called for a return to the doctrines and practices of Wesleyan Methodism

Aug. 23, 1860 "Free" Church of Methodists - Free Methodists - founded in Pekin, NY

The FMC emphasized a return to the conservative holiness traditions of Wesleyan Methodism including:

  • Human freedom, upholding the right of every person to be free, denying the right of anyone to hold slaves
  • Freedom and simplicity in worship
  • Free seats in church, so the poor will not be kept out or discriminated against
  • Freedom and openness in relationships and loyalties so the truth may always be spoken freely (avoiding vows of secrecy)
  • Freedom of lay persons to be fully involved at all levels of decision making
  • Freedom from materialism in order to help the poor.
1865 Ferndale, NY - founding of the Liberty Falls Free Methodist Church - Liberty Falls Society organized with 16 family heads as charter members. Pastor Manger is the first recorded pastor
1866-67 B. Winget and McCarthy - Meetings were being held in the schoolhouse in the winter and in a tent at Hurd's Grove in the warm months. This location was at the intersection of Liberty Falls Road and Loch Sheldrake Road where the Triangle Diner stood in later years
1874 Camp meeting in Hurds Grove with B.T. Roberts the main speaker
1884 Building known as The Liberty Normal Institute or the Academy Building located on Academy St. became the first church building. This was bought and moved to Ferndale.
1887 Church building completed with Pastor Seward overseeing the first service in the new building
1891 The Loch Sheldrake and North Settlement (?) Societies joined the Liberty FallsSociety.
1892 Brisco added to the circuit
1894 Building lot purchased for a parsonage for $100.00
1895 James E. Payne - Egypt, now called Dahlia, organized and added to the circuit
1895-1896 Parsonage built
1902 Liberty Falls changed to Ferndale by the railroad to avoid confusion with mail delivery
1945 Basement built under the church. Rooms for Sunday School and a kitchen were constructed. A bathroom and furnace were installed
1950-1956 Paul Hosier - A live radio broadcast was started every Saturday evening from the church sanctuary. People could hear the gospel in Word and song. Advertising always included 'The Free Methodist Church in the Dale".
1957 NYS road commission notifies the church of impending work on new highway, Rt.17. The church will have to vacate premises as will 4 other homeowners. Compensation for the property will be provided by the state. The church receives a check for $47,500 as compensation from the state for the property. The Society plans to sell the church building and parsonage for a reasonable salvage price.
Feb. 1958 The pastor and his family move into parsonage at new location on Rt.52.
March 29, 1959 Easter Sunday and the last service in the 'Church in the Dale" (Ferndale).
April 5, 1959 First service in new church building on Route 52.
June 1959 Church building in Ferndale sold to the Baptist Church for $500.00 and the parsonage for $300.00
June 7, 1959 Dedication service for the new church building on Rt. 52. Mayor of Liberty, Medwin Benton, spoke at this service
June 25,1959 According to records, the old church was not destroyed, but moved closer to Old Rte.17. It is still there and in use today!
1964 Brisco closes and the building is sold for $2500.00 to Mrs. Dickinson of Newburgh, NY.
1988 Due to the growth of the church, a decision to build was made. Work on new classroom space for Sunday School began, construction of new parking lot completed.
1989 Parsonage converted into office and Sunday School space. A parsonage was purchased on Chestnut Street for the Senior Pastor. A parsonage on Lake Street was purchased for the Associate Pastor.
April 26, 1992 Approval of Mountain Construction as builder of the new Sanctuary. Ground breaking in April.
1992 Light and Life School opened for Kindergarten through 4th grade. Julie Shea and Robin Sostak instrumental in making this dream a reality. Later the school included Nursery through 8th grade. Closed in 2010.
2010 Light and Life School closes
June 2015 Church celebrates 150th Anniversary. Ed and Robin Sostak appointed as Co-Pastors of VBC by Superintendent David Harvey.
March 2020 Church goes to virtual online services as COVID-19 pandemic begins
June 2020 Church returns to in-person services with appropriate precautions bu continues to livestream services
November 2020 Pastors James and Jen Cohen are hired as Family Pastors
December 2021 Pastors James and Jen Cohen leave to plant a church