Gaines Church History

Since the people who helped build and support this church were from all walks of life and all denominations, the church was named “The Gaines Community Church, under the auspices of the Methodist Church.”.

Sunday morning worship and Sunday School continued through the years. The 1983 merger forming Pine Creek Valley UMC brought the church body to Gaines church; the other two churches were sold. Worship continued in this building until the completion of the church west of Gaines in 1991. The Gaines village church was sold to Gaines Township and now houses township offices and is used for community meetings and place of voting.

From within the walls of this church came many persons who have influenced others in their walks in life. Among them emerged two who have served the United Methodist Conference, namely Rev. Keith Dewey, retired, and the late Rev. Roger Strait,who, after retirement, served as a Deacon in the Baltimore, MD. area, and later pastured the Mt. Zion UMC in Shipley, MD .

One very interesting situation of faith developed in 1975-1976. The Rev. Charles Graham had come to the Gaines Charge in July 1974. In the fall of 1975, he passed away unexpectedly and left the church without a minister. The Conference had no one to take his place until Charge Conference could be held the following June. We asked for volunteer speakers from among laity and retired pastors, not just in our church and area, but from all over Tioga County. Our lay leader, Lynn Whipple, led in the opening of the services and usually picked the scriptures for each Sunday; the pianist, Dottie Jones (now Quimby), picked the hymns each week; the volunteer speakers brought their own message. Some Sundays, we had no idea who would be the speaker until we arrived at church on Sunday morning. From September 1, 1975 through June 30, 1976, we never missed a Sunday and every service had hymns, scriptures and message well coordinated, as if planned by one person. The facts were that these Sundays were planned by three people in three different locations who had no contact with each other prior to Sunday morning. These people were prayer warriors who asked God’s guidance as they each planned their individual part of the service and HE brought it all together.

During this time, the Bulletin Board in the church lawn was kept up to date by Burl Persing, church trustee and Sunday School Superintendent. It reflected in part the following message designed by Lois Whipple: “All are welcome!! PASTOR KUMANSI.” Who is the pastor of this church? Rev. Kumansi (Come and see). And, stepping out in faith, that is exactly what the congregation did each week. We had to come and see who the speaker was for that day.

And so we marched on to 1983, the merger, and 1991, the new church building two miles west of town.