December 7, 2014 A small group gathered at the Banksville Middle Patent United Methodist Church’s Candlelight Caroling and Advent Service on Sunday, December 7. For precisely 44 years some of the attendees have been gathering here to welcome the Christmas season on the first Sunday of December, beginning at twilight. This evening there were a few new faces.
The Trustees and friends now gather at the church for only three services a year. Full-time services ceased when the then-Reverend vacated the pulpit in 1917. The most popular service remains to be the heartfelt service ushering in the Christmas holiday season.
The hanging chandelier and oil lamps with candles were lit, and the door remained open for everyone to enter, clothed in warm blankets and coats to give prayer and thanks for another holiday season.
The chill at sunset was warmed by the music of the Grace Notes who welcomed everyone by singing Christmas carols from the narthex as they have for 15 years.
Chris Daillak remembers back over the 44 years when she was a child. Her family would get together with other local families to rope the wreaths to decorate the church for the Advent Service. Her parents, Howard and Shirley Pinchback, and their neighbors Jean Lander, and the MacAllisters, were among others.
According to the North Castle Historical booklet, Volume 20, 1993, A History of the Middle Patent United Methodist Church, written by Town Historian Richard N. Lander, the church was built in 1847 as the newer and larger Methodist Church of Middle Patent. In 1869, a room was added for a choir as well as a back entrance. In 1938 the church was completely refurbished and later placed under the care of the Armonk Methodist Church in 1945.
After a fire in 1992, the building was saved, but badly damaged, says Jean H. Lander who wrote The Middle Patent Methodist Church 1972 - 1993 (that appears in the same booklet as above). Under the leadership of Trustee Howard Pinchbeck, the building was restored. Many of the original antiques of the one-room church were salvaged and today the church is still furnished with the original pulpit and pews. The pump organ is an exact duplicate of the 1896 organ. This season the organ was played by Dale Bonenberger who accompanied the singing of many Christmas carols. The windows are adorned by tall and colorful stained-glass windows, most of which were installed in 1896.
It’s always a nice joyful time, says Chris Daillak. There are no church members, and now with the recent passing of Jean Lander and Missy Taylor, the trustees are looking for someone who will reach new neighbors to help continue the annual tradition.
The Minister from the First United Methodist Church in Greenwich, CT, Rev. Heather Sinclair, joined the service to call the worship and the benediction.
Daillak’s sister, Leigh Lewandoski, is a member of the Grace Notes. “The attendees are a small group with a big spirit,” Leigh says. “For our family it’s not Christmas without this service.”
Saturday 5:30 p.m. Sunday 10:00 a.m. With Choir, and Sunday School for children ages 4 - 13 years of age. Nursery Care is available for younger children. Please join us for coffee hour after the service.
The Children's Jewish Education Group SUNY Purchase Campus 735 Anderson Hill Rd. Purchase, NY (914) 864-1267 www.cjeg.org
December 18, 2014 In the spirit of holiday giving, Westchester Tree Life of Chappaqua donated the men, bucket truck, and considerable time to completely wrap the entire Blue Spruce tree located on the grounds of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church with new multi-colored, energy-efficient, LED Christmas lights.
The church was exploring different ways to replace the old lights that had either burned-out or were deeply hidden inside the tree's canopy by years of branch growth. Lacking the necessary equipment to safely decorate the tree, and days away from Christmas, the church turned to the community for help.
Hearing about the church's need, Remington Arnold, a co-owner in Westchester Tree Life volunteered his company’s services as a way to give back to a community that has been so supportive of his business over the years. “Rem”, as his family, friends, customers and employees call him, remarked at the completion of the job, “The tree now looks like what a Christmas tree is suppose to look like … something of beauty, something that glows brilliantly in the night, and something that hopefully makes people feel happy when they gaze upon it.”
The St. Stephen’s parish expressed their sincere gratitude to Westchester Tree Life, “Rem”, and the two employees who worked tirelessly on decorating the church's iconic tree. Parish members were especially touched that a community business made time in their busy holiday tree work schedule to accommodate the church on such short notice. St. Stephen’s invites one and all to come view their beautifully lit tree.
Congregation B'nai Yisrael
2 Banksville Road PO Box 7 Armonk, NY (914) 273.2220
North Castle's Middle Patent Church Holds Yearly Advent Service
December 14, 2013 The Advent service celebrated at the Middle Patent United Methodist Church on December 8 of this year may have been much like the one in 1848, when neighbors and friends of the community gathered in the front of the small church at the corner of Bedford Banksville and Middle Patent Roads. They listened to carolers standing along the few steps in front of the historic building. The group then moved inside and upon entering the chilly church were quickly warmed by the spirit of the holiday and the dozens of people in attendance. Everyone remained bundled up, some wrapped in blankets, as the organ was played between the prayers and singing of Christmas carols. The single-room church is simply designed with handsome oak wood pews, pulpit, and the original oil lamps along the walls and gallery.
"This was our 43rd Advent service," said Chris Daillak, a Trustee of the Middle Patent Church. "I believe I might have attended all of them."
In a 1993 booklet from the The North Castle Historical Society, the late Richard N. Lander, a church trustee, Town historian, and life-long resident of North Castle, wrote that the church had an active musical program dating back to the early 1860's.
"Middle Patent Church has no congregation and only a few services a year, with the Advent service being the main event. The church has been in such a state of flux this year with the death of both the past presidents, Jean Lander and Missy Taylor White," said Daillak. "Jean had run the church for more than 35 years and Missy took over under Jean’s direction for the last several years. Their deaths, in combination with the closing of the Armonk Methodist Church, left the remaining trustees unsure if we would be able to have a service this year." The Middle Patent Church was originally an offshoot of the Armonk Methodist church on Bedford Road in Armonk.
The Advent service brought participants back to many such services in the past. Everyone recognized their good fortune that Terry Kimball, a lay leader of a neighboring church, offered to conduct the service so the Advent tradition could continue. Once again, the future of the Middle Patent Church is uncertain, but its extensive history still holds a special place in the community.