Clarence Presbyterian Church:
Respecting the Past, Embracing the Future

by Julie Ottaway Schmit

This is the third in a series of three articles about the history of the Clarence Presbyterian Church.

    The Clarence Presbyterian Church is steeped in history, yet in a way, its members welcome the chance to start, as they invite the community to tour, visit, and experience the church located at 9675 Main Street, freshly remodeled to accommodate even more people and activities.


    The look of the brick church today, with its new, huge, bright windows that overlook Main Street in Clarence, and the many doorways that lead you in, tell the message – you are welcome here! The idea to remodel the church was first seriously considered in 2003, with work on the final design beginning in June, 2008, scheduled to be completed for the Dedication Weekend, September 12 & 13, 2009.   The main reason to remodel was simple - to provide more space in which the church’s mission, helping as many people as possible, could be carried out. The church now includes a large, bright (air-conditioned!) sanctuary with white pews to seat 300, a new elevator, a modern kitchen, a gathering space in the Narthex for fellowship following Sunday church services, improved technology installations, and a larger columbarium. The former sanctuary has been renovated into a Multipurpose Room/Fellowship Hall, which will be available for use by members of the community for various events, as will the kitchen. The youth (and the pastor!) of the church are excited that for the first time, activities such as floor hockey will be able to be enjoyed in the Multipurpose Room.    


    The Sanctuary also overlooks a newly created courtyard, a highlight of the newly remodeled church. A Labyrinth, 20 feet in diameter, will be constructed out of pavers in the courtyard, and there will be benches and a garden, for quiet meditation.  


    When local churches rang their bells 50 times in memory of those who lost their lives on February 13, 2009, when Flight 3407 crashed, the bell that was rung (by hand) at Clarence Presbyterian Church, is the bell from the original church. The bell, made in Troy, NY in the 1800’s, rings loud and clear today.


    The overall message of the Presbyterian Church has remained largely unchanged since its inception, but has been tweaked over the years, to keep up with the times. Perhaps the philosophy is best expressed in the words of the pastor, Dr. Gregory Warren Hall: “You need not be a member of this church to take communion, but if you have been baptized and believe in Jesus Christ, we not only invite you, but exhort you to join us.”


    Growing. Serving. Celebrating. Members of the Clarence Presbyterian Church have been doing those things now for over 192 years.  


    Those interested in checking out the Clarence Presbyterian Church in 2009 and beyond are welcome to do so. The Dedication Weekend, September 12 & 13, would be a great time to start. Many events are planned, including a BBQ, Open House, and a concert. Call 716-759-8396, or go to for more information.

Here ends the three part historical series of Clarence Presbyterian Church, as found in the Clarence Bee.

To read previous segments please click here