History of Third Church
The Early Days
In the early 1800’s, a group of men and women of the villages of Albia and Wynantskill met regularly for worship in the village school house. There, on the evening of August 16th, 1830, they resolved to become incorporated under the name “Third Presbyterian Society of the City of Troy”. They elected Jessie Tracy, Daniel Wright, and Andrew Finch as the first trustees.
On December 7th, the First Presbyterian Church of Troy dismissed 48 members to form the new congregation.
The Rev. Ezra D. Kinney superintended the organization of the church on Thursday, December 16th, with 65 members. The following night, the Session held its first meeting.
Building the first church
On August 16th, 1831, the church purchased two lots on the north side of Washington Street (what is now Pawling Avenue) and began construction of a wooden church.
The building, with its furnishings, cost the members just over $1,700, or about about $37,000 in present day funds! The church was dedicated on December 16th, 1831. Twenty years later, on March 24th, 1853, this building burned down. Later that year, the church built a new brick structure on the same site.
From about 1870 to about 1900 Third Church struggled to keep its doors open. In May of 1902, the Rev. Morgan S. Post was ordained and installed as pastor. At that time there were only two elders and the church roll carried the names of 25 members. The church building consisted of a small sanctuary with a Sunday school room behind it.
Third Church begins to grow
The first manse was built in 1906. In 1912 the church building was raised on 40 jacks so new foundations could be laid and a basement could be added that would serve as the Sunday school room. At that time the stone front was added to the building. Construction continued throughout 1913 and finally in October of 1914 the Sunday school held classes in its new quarters for the first time.
In October of 1940, the pulpit of Third Church was once again vacant. After 38 years of service, Rev. Post retired and became Pastor-Emeritus. His successor, the Rev. John Stuart was ordained and installed on June 22, 1941. He was followed by Rev. John R. Ross who was ordained and installed in May 1949.
Throughout the early 1950’s, the church continued to grow but was also facing many challenges. The building began to show its age. The brickwork and foundation were cracked and weakening. The cost of structural repairs was great.
The congregation was also outgrowing the facilities. The Sunday school had outgrown the space allotted to it. Several classes met in one large room separated by thin partitions. Classes even met in the kitchen, on the stage, and in an unheated space behind the sanctuary accessible only by ladder. There was no space for parking, which was not needed when the church was originally built, but with increasing use of the automobile by the mid 20th century, parking was now a necessity.
An adventure in faith
At the annual meeting on January 18th, 1956, the congregation passed a resolution creating the “Adventure in Faith” Committee. The original members of the committee included Ralph R. Nash, Mrs. Albert E. Bibb, Mrs, George Bonesteel, Fred E. Gardner, William Geddis, Robert Kelley, Robert Lyle, Albert Snover, Robert Stuart, and Alton Sliter.
The congregation charged the committee to plan for the orderly expansion of the physical facilities of Third Church, to recommend a new site, to engage the services of a professional fundraising organization, and to appoint and discharge from its membership and from the congregation at large sub-committees to prosecute the work.
Moving to the new site
Several names were suggested for the new church – among them were Church of the Master, Faith Presbyterian Church, and St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, but in the end the congregation decided to keep the name Third Presbyterian Church.
The new (and current) church site on Winter Street was purchased in the closing days of 1956, during the ministry of Rev. John Crandall. Work toward the new church stopped for a time when the church was without a pastor, but upon the installation of Rev. David Krehbiel in 1959, the Adventure in Faith Committee resumed its work and a fundraising campaign for the new church began under the Board of National Missions on October 9th, 1960.
Finally the construction of a new church was underway. Workers laid the cornerstone on October 1, 1961. Work was completed and a dedication service was held Sunday June 3rd, 1962.
In preparation for the fundraising campaign, Rev. Krehbiel wrote to the congregation, “The psalmist declared, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.’ As we embark upon our ‘Adventure in Faith’ for the new church, let us keep in mind that the new building is not our goal, but the means to our goal. Our calling is to ‘worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’, to provide a place where people of all ages can learn about God, and to establish a center from which Christians will go into the world with their faith renewed and strengthened.”