Our History

The history of University United Methodist Church began in 1868 with the Dempster Mission originally located on the corner of South Crouse Avenue and East Fayette Street. As Dempster Mission grew a parcel of land was bought on East Genesee Street. The following year, the trustees of the newly-chartered Syracuse University announced their plans to expand their campus located one-half mile from Dempster Church’s parcel of land.

The cornerstone of the new church was laid the same day as the cornerstone of the Hall of Languages on the Syracuse University campus in 1872. Many people attended both events, reflecting the new advance for Methodism in the area.

In February 1914 a fire destroyed the older part of the church and seriously damaged the new part leaving, “only four walls where [the] once big church stood.” Professor Frederick W. Reveals, head of the Syracuse University Department of Architecture, and Professor Fred Lear, who studied with Reveals, drew the plans for the new church. While the style is not true Gothic, these architects mimicked the style as best they could while incorporating the remaining parts of the building.

 Our Stained-Glass Windows

Our stained-glass windows were included with the rebuilding of the church after the 1914 fire. The windows were crafted by the William J. Pike Stained Glass Company of Rochester, N.Y. Each window, starting in the southwest corner of the sanctuary depicts, in chronological order, important events in the life of Christ.

Our Pipe Organ

There two sets of organ pipes located in the sanctuary. The one in the front of the sanctuary came to University Church from a theater in New York City. The organ portion has been removed and the pipes remain as decoration. The organ in the back of the sanctuary is our main source of music for Sunday worship. It was made possible by a gift from Glenn and Frances Anthony and was dedicated as part of the church’s Centennial celebration in 1970.

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