Fabius Christian Church (2009 present) formed as a result of the merger of the Fabius United Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church of Fabius. The congregation meets in the former Baptist church (c1818) on the north side of Main Street in the Village of Fabius, NY. The former Methodist Church building is now the Fabius Wesleyan Center. A Time to Grow Nursery meets in the main level of the building.
These church histories are made possible by records loaned from Linda Meyers, Chuck Kutscher, Virginia & Kate Cameron, Bill & Joanne Casey and NUMEROUS historians and church leaders. Their dedication to the collection and preservation of historic documents makes this page possible.
Some Fabius church records are available at the Central Branch of the Onondaga County Library (downtown Syracuse, Local History Section)
Baptist Church in America
The Baptist Church traces its roots to its founding father, Roger Williams, who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs. Williams and his followers settled Providence Plantation, and eventually the colony of Rhode Island. Baptists believe in evangelism, which was an effective means to share their faith during the colonial period of the new country. Small, local churches formed a network via the establishment of the Triennial Convention of 1814, although individual churches select their own preachers.
Some of the prominent aspects of the Baptist Church have been its members’ passion for missions – to share the faith to foreign audiences – independence of local churches from national control, and growth of membership through religious revivals. In Central New York, many Baptist Societies emerged as a result of The Second Great Awakening of the 1820s and 1830s. Evangelism stirred converts at revivals and camp meetings.
Baptists believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and the final authority. They believe in baptism by immersion, given to individuals who are mature enough to understand and freely confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. For this reason, Baptists do not believe in baptism of infants.
Records of the Baptist Churches of Fabius (1803-1916) are on microfilm in the collection of the Study Center for Religious Life in Western New York, Kroch Library Rare & Manuscripts Collection, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.
Methodist Church in America
What’s in a name? The general term for the religion is Methodist. The official designation for the church established in the U.S. in 1784 was The Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1830, the Methodist Protestant Church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of laity having a voice and vote in the administration of the church. By 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church was the largest Protestant denomination in the country. Simultaneously, its membership divided into the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This rupture was the result of conflict over slavery and the power of bishops. This division remained until 1939, when the merger of the two conferences concluded with a single Methodist Church. In April 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form The United Methodist Church.
The history of Methodism began long before the formation of the town and village of Fabius. John Wesley (1703-1791) and some of his fellow divinity students in Oxford, England formed a religious study group that was dubbed “Methodism” in recognition of the rigorous ‘method’ the members used to worship and live their faith. The evangelistic style of preaching and sanction of lay preachers – characteristic of early Methodism – was in contrast to the established doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church. Even though he was an ordained minister in the Church of England, Wesley was prevented from speaking in Anglican churches. He and his followers spread their message of conversion and salvation to audiences wherever they found them.
A close friend of Wesley’s, George Whitefield (1714-1770) is credited with spreading Methodism within the North Atlantic region of the U.S. via the Great Awakening Movement of the 1730s and 1740s. Methodist circuit riding preachers and lay pastors established the foundation for The Second Great Awakening of the 1820s and 1830s. Revivals and camp meetings characterized this movement and sinners were encouraged to be saved before the second coming of Jesus Christ. This movement resulted in the foundation of various societies.