Old church pic
A Brief History of the
Ionia United Methodist Church –
"Uplifting Christ Since 1831"

The earliest settlers of Miller's Corners were Samuel Miller and his family. In early 1789, Miller came from Hartford County, Conn. to Canandaigua. Later that year, he and his sons came out into the woods and built a pole shanty after clearing some land. In 1790 Mr. Miller moved upon his land and built a log cabin. Millers Corners grew into a community as more families came and settled.

A Bible study class was formed into the First Methodist Episcopal Church of West Bloomfield, November 9, 1830. Since most of the members were residents of Miller's Corners, it was decided to hold the services there.

On February 7, 1831, a regularly organized society was formed at Miller's Corners: 2nd Society of Methodist Episcopal Church at West Bloomfield.

Until 1840 the meetings were held in Silas Miller's Barn and in the various school houses. In 1840 the church was built on its present site. The total cost of the church amounted to about $2,000.

The first parsonage was located at 1955 County Road #14. In the 1840’s, the parsonage was sold and the last indebtedness of $200 on the church was paid.

For many years the Ionia Church was served by circuit rider pastors serving Millers Corners/Ionia, East Bloomfield, Honeoye Falls and Lima.

In 1878, recognizing the need, a parsonage was built across from the church for about $1,000. A bell was purchased for the belfry.

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 the 1st quarter of the 20th century, the church and parsonage were painted and decorated inside and out, new aisle rugs replaced the carpet that covered the church floor, a new furnace was installed.

In 1929, electrical fixtures replaced the old oil lamps, doing away with the disagreeable task of pulling the chandelier down from the center of the church with a wooden pole each time the lamps were lighted or were filled. Also a piano was purchased to replace the organ which had been used for many years.

In the 1930’s, the long sheds behind the church, which extended across the back line and were originally built to house horses and carriages, were removed because they were no longer used and were in poor repair.

In 1939 the name of the Ionia Methodist Episcopal Church was changed to Ionia Methodist Church in accordance with the national union of the various branches of Methodism into one organization.

On January 7, 1941 the parsonage was destroyed by fire. It stood across the road from the church but had not been used as a parsonage for many years.

During the 1940’s the Young Adult Group sponsored several projects of church improvement such as new hymnals, recovering of the pew cushions, painting of the exterior, choir robes, folding chairs and repair of the chimney.

1959, the church purchased a church organ from Taylor Piano and Organ Co.

In 1961, $1,000.00 was spent for a new roof. The Couples Club donated the major part of the cost from their project of raising and selling sweet corn.

1966-67 A well was drilled, a septic system was installed and a rest room upstairs. The upstairs room was partitioned into two Sunday school rooms. A large wall cross over the altar, new altar table and a matching communion table, the brass candelabras, pedestals and Bible stand were dedicated by memorials.

1968 the church’s name was changed from Ionia Methodist Church to Ionia United Methodist Church because of the national church union with the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

In 1970, a Baptismal Font was dedicated. The altar area of the church was renovated, extending the raised area across the entire front of the church, and the altar rail was repositioned and refinished.

1977, the outside west exterior wall of the church was resided. The side walls and ceiling were fully insulated and the exterior of the windows painted and re-glazed.

In 1989 Mary Jane Bennett wrote: "To look back over the years of Methodist Church in Ionia causes one to marvel at the continuous procession of able pastors and earnest layman who have formed the organization through the years. Since the early years of our church when the Ionia community was a self-sufficient farming community, the area has changed to that of a suburban community where there no longer exists the corner grocery store, the Grange Hall, the railroad depot, the school house or the small businesses, so that when the residents commute elsewhere for most necessities, it becomes somewhat difficult to establish the church as a community center but this must be our aim. Surely our church’s foundation has been in God and He has been our guide, our hope and inspiration, a very present help. It is with this thought that we pray that efforts will be renewed to make Ionia United Methodist Church a stronger more dedicated and consecrated church which will be a source of pride to its members and the surrounding community.""

"Miracle Sunday," June 7, 1992, began the campaign for the building of Fellowship Hall addition. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 4, 1992. Donations that Sunday came to $13,555.04! The "Second Mile" on March 20, 1994 realized a donation of $8,000! Another appeal went out for $12,000 to finish the work. Monthly spaghetti suppers and socials, along with donations from Ionia residents, raised funds to create this miracle! A truly momentous occasion was realized at the dedication ceremony on February 26, 1995. Numerous others volunteered countless hours painting, carpeting and the finishing of Fellowship Hall.

Land was purchased behind the church from the Parrish family. This provides an area for a playground for the local children with the donated equipment.

In the year 2006, our church celebrated its 175th anniversary. We began our 175th birthday year on February 12, 2006 with a skit written by a church member re-enacting the meeting of seven men on February 7, 1831 to form a “society” at Miller’s Corners (Ionia).

The Strawberry Social held in the month of June and the Raspberry Social in July have been welcomed by the whole area.

Our annual Fall Festival has become a local tradition, reminiscent of the Ionia Firemen’s Carnival. The Tractor Parade is longer every year. The festival begins with a pancake breakfast, followed by a chicken barbecue, children’s games, area music groups each hour, cake wheel (from the Firemen’s carnival days!) and local vendors with their wares encourages people to spend an old-fashioned “down-home” day in Ionia.

In 2014 our church took over sponsorship of the East Bloomfield United Methodist Church’s Holiday Fair Craft Show after 45 years. Craft vendors come from all over the area and offer homemade crafts to a large number of customers.

Our dedicated Sunday School teachers are the heart and soul of this ministry!

There are Bible studies for adults.

Heifer Project International, organized as a Sunday School project, presented a plaque to the church for being the smallest church in the northeast "to fill an ark" with farm animals for people around the world.

A variety of people have helped our children create a wonderful Christmas pageant each holiday season.

A very successful community Vacation Bible School brings in almost 100 children every year.

Our very active youth have organized the Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Drop-off site, Go M.A.D. service day, and many other mission projects.

We are truly blessed with such wonderful leaders who hear the Master’s voice above the worldly tasks.

Copyright © 2016            Ionia United Methodist Church • 2120 Elton Road • Ionia NY • 14475            Revised: 2016-09-27 15:15