On the 4th of May, 1952, the Stillwater United Church came into being. Truly a united church, it was created by the consolidation of the Second Baptist, First Methodist, and Schoonmacher Memorial PresbyterianChurches. They were the three Protestant churches then existing in Stillwater, New York.
This remarkable interdenominational union affected the customs, beliefs, and traditions of three separate congregations, long established through nearly two hundred years of coexistence. This union was not solely the result of financial difficulties, nor the inability to secure ministers for three pulpits (although this latter factor perhaps triggered the action). From the time the building of the first little rural meeting houses, forces were at work which pointed the way to ultimate union. Since 1762, these forces had been slowly and gradually breaking down denominational boundaries. Drawn together by the common experiences, like interest, and the supporting of similar causes, the people of all the congregations were brought to a clearer sense of values and a closer Christian fellowship.
The result was that by 1947, when circumstances warned that the three should move more closely together than ever before, the spirit of the people was one of enthusiastic approval; and the first tentative step – federation – was taken.
After four successful years as a federated church, it became apparent that certain disadvantages were inherent in this type of organization – financial, administrative, and denominational. Again, the people were ready for the next step to complete unity. They made the decisions and took the legal procedures necessary to bring it about.
Today, the active and successful nature of Stillwater United Church reflects the wisdom of its founders. The core values adopted by the congregation not only represent the rich history associated with the church, but also represent the path to the future.