Public tours of the church at 6:30 on Wednesday January 4 in Wellsville
By Kathryn Ross, Vice President TRGHS
WELLSVILLE – The public is invited to take a look at what is new and what is old on a walk through the former Christian Temple Church building at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 4th.
The walkthrough is sponsored by the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society as part of its monthly offering of historical programs. Longtime members of the church family, George and Nancy Johnson will conduct the tour and promise to have some surprises.
While the facade has altered little, over the last few years, the building has undergone some changes as it has moved from its religious roots to a more public facility. The Christian Temple Church group had its beginning in Wellsville in 1885. A more formal organizational structure was instituted in 1888 and was first named The Christian Church of Wellsville. In 1913 the cornerstone was laid for the Christian Temple building located on Maple Ave.
As a church building it also housed and helped other groups such the community kitchen and offered its basement gymnasium to organizations such as the YMCA and various exercise, youth, and musical groups.
Almost 100 years after the church doors opened the congregation merged with the former First Congregational Church and became Grace United. While services were moved to the former Congregational Church, the mission of the Christian Temple building was to become a community center facilitating recreation and fellowship. Today the building continues to serve as a vital part of the community, as the home stage for the Starlight Theatre Company, headquarters for Genesee Valley Media, a site for cultural programs and the gallery and summer studio of well-known artist Karen Lang.
The TRGHS owns and operates the Nathaniel Dike Museum located on Dyke Street. The membership meets every other month, and in between hosts historical programs which are free and open to the public. In February it will once again host its Tale or Treasure meeting when people are invited to bring in an historical object to amaze or stump those assembled. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at a site TBA.