Historical Background

On Sunday morning, July 1st, 1832, George S. Porter, who had graduated from the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, Mass, a few weeks prior, was ordained to the ministry in Greenwich, which was within the boundaries of New York. The Rt Rev. Benjamin Onderdonk was then the New York Bishop. Mr. Porter was then sent to Fredonia as a missionary stationed at Trinity Church and on Friday, August 24, 1932, he was ordained to the Priesthood and divided his time between Fredonia and Forestville.

Two years later another missionary, The Rev. Lucious Smith, was appointed to the two churches and in a report Mr. Smith said, “At the church in Forestville prospects are brightening every day. Services are well attended not withstanding the fact we have to meet in a crowded schoolhouse.”

The next year, in October 1936, the Parish of Forestville was admitted into the church union, but the exact date of this Parish formation is unknown. In his report to the convention, Rev. Smith stated, “I am happy to say that during the past year I have organized a Parish in Forestville, New York. The services are well attended and I trust the day is not for distant when they will commence erection of a church edifice.”

In 1838 Bishop Onderdonk came from Albany to Buffalo by canal boat, then on Lake Erie by boat to Dunkirk and made his way inland as best he could, visiting Forestville, Irving, Fredonia and other Parishes. At this time, the Bi9shop confirmed three candidates in the Methodist Chapel, as there was as yet no hose of prayer erected for St. Peter’s Parish.

The present Church was built in 1859, mostly by members of the congregation at a cost of $1,500. 00. The land was bought from Albert H. Camp and his wife, Julia Ann for $225.00 and at one time was wedge shaped. The land was sold to St. Peter’s Church of Forestville, in whose name the title still remains. At that time a Craftsman member made and gave the altar Cross.

On May 30, 1860, Bishop Delaney consecrated St. Peter’s Church, preached and confirmed 8 persons. There were then 32 communicants and 90 individuals connected with this Parish. In 1928, land for the present Parish House was given by I. A. Washburn and his wife and under the leadership of Rev. A. S. Ashley and cooperation of the parish members, the parish house was erected and equipped. The wedge shaped piece of land was surveyed and the boundary straightened; the Trustees of the Methodist Church giving the necessary deed to St. Peter’s Church.

Following the Rev. Lucious Smith as priest in charge of St Peter’s, there came others; Thomas P. Tyley, 1843; Charles Arey, 1850; Louis Noble, 1852; Wm. B. Edson, 1854; Henry Costelle, 1859; Pascal Kidder, 1864; Charles Champlin, 1872; Frederick W. Raikes, 1880; Robert Harris, 1887; William W. Rafter, 1890; Pascal Kidder (again) 1893; Malcom S. Johnston, 1899; Wallace H. Watts, 1901; (assisted by C. M. Puller); M. S. Foreman, 1907; William Compton, 1909; L. C. Denny, 1914; Asa Sprague Ashley, 1921; Charles J. Burton, 1927; Albert Chambers, 1931; Paul Shuart, 1933; Alesander Corti, 1936; Leo Dyson, 1950; Robert Beadle, 1954; Bruce Jacobson, 1960; Benjamin Moss, 1963 assisted by John B. Hanna and James D. Hendryz; James D. Hendryz, 1966 assisted by Leslie Chard; Canon Leslie Chard, retired from St. John’s in Dunkirk; 1969-1974; Canon William Howard, Priest in charge, assisted by Rev. William Bailey of Westfield and Lay reader E. H. Jordan of Forestville until May 1977; Cannon George F. O’Pray, retired from St. Luke’s Church of Jamestown, May 1977 to May 1981.

The Rev. Fred Bowles, retired from St. Matthews in Buffalo, had moved to Forestville during the latter part of 1980 and attended St. Peter’s Church during 1981. When Canon O’Pray met his untimely death in a car accident, Rev. Bowles was assigned to this church by Bishop Harold Robinson of the Diocese of Western New York. This is the first time in 22 years that St. Peter’s has had a Priest living in Forestville. Rev. William Crittenden of Chatauqua assisted during July and August 1981. Tim Pazda has been a lifetime member of this church and a lay reader.

Our Current Pastor is The Rev. John D. Mears, from East Aurora, who began serving in May of 1997.
Church organizations are the St. Catherine’s Ladies Altar Guild under the guidance of Angie Ciminella, Albion White who had been Warden for many years was succeeded by Warren Riles. Organists of recent years were Adele Foster, Wilma Bolivard, Warren Riles, Dorothy Mount and Dorothy Mears.

Current officers are: Paul Weslow, Warden; Richard Mosher, assistant Warden; Carol Coppola, treasurer; Dorothy Mears Secretary; Vincent Coppola and Janine Salzman, Council members.