The Congregational Church was the earliest church located in West Bloomfield, having the first budding congregation in 1799. In 1806, construction of the first of three church buildings was started. During the early years and being a pioneer town, the church served to resolve disputes through tribunals. Hard feelings developed; personalities got in the way of resolving issues. Two of the church leaders resigned and a new pastor was brought in. Some of the membership left and built a church a few hundred feet from the old. After a 13-year separation, talk of reuniting took place. Slavery was a huge issue, and it was made clear, if a reunion was to occur, it would be as a Congregation Church with strong abolitionists beliefs. The two churches become one in 1843.
From The Bicentennial History of West Bloomfield Congregational Church
After the church reconciliated, the second building was sold to the Catholic Church, and they occupied the building from 1856 until 1990. A few years later, the West Bloomfield Historical Society was given stewardship of the building.
“It was in the winter of 1820 that seven pioneer residents of West Bloomfield organized a church under the leadership of Revs. Snow and Aylesworth of the East Bloomfield Circuit. For some ten years, the group was served by stalwart and undaunted circuit riders who journeyed throughout the area preaching the gospel. After a time, a frame church was built in the village of West Bloomfield but used only briefly as most of its members lived in Millers Corners and it was decided to hold services there. Meetings were still held in West Bloomfield for a while, but eventually the few who attended merged with the Congregation Church and their building was sold for a town Hall.” From “Unmasking the Past” Some of the early services were held in Silas Millers barn as well as in homes and schoolhouses in Millers Corners. Eventually land was purchased and the church, in the Greek Revival style, with a portico and Doric columns, was built in 1840. A parsonage was built in 1878 allowing the pastors to be near their congregation. 1889-90: The church building was expanded: the front porch was removed and rooms on two floors were added in its place, the roof was raised, a new belfry was installed, and a smaller porch installed in front of the new entry doors.
In 1856, St. Joseph Parish in West Bloomfield was founded. The church closed in 1990, with St. Bridget Parish in East Bloomfield becoming known as St. Bridget/St. Joseph. In 2012, St. Bridget/St. Joseph joined with St. Mary in Canandaigua to form Ontario County’s St. Benedict Parish.
First Universalist Society of Lima resided in two buildings at different times. The first is a two-story, painted common brick structure set on a coursed-rubble foundation and stone water table. It was originally planned and constructed by the First Universalist Society of Lima between 1827 and 1829. The building was to be a "meeting house" for services held by the newly formed church. From 1842 the building was rented for elementary-grade classes while continuing to be used for services at other times. In the mid-19th century, the second-floor stage and Italianate cupola were added. Joint use of the building continued until 1872, when the church built a separate building. A highlight of its history, Frederick Douglass spoke here in 1846.
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