By the end of the 19th Century, Zion Church was sponsoring 4 mission churches: All Saints Chapel at The Manor, St Stephens in Maple Grove, The New Lisbon Church and one in West Laurens.
St. Stephens – Maple Grove
St Stephens – Maple Grove
Zion Church was sponsoring missionary efforts in the hamlet of Maple Grove as early as 1869. Twenty years later, in the spring of 1889, the Maple Grove congregation began raising funds and chose Marshall Platt (1850 to 1929), Henry Augustus Starr (1839-1934), and Clark Bailey Hull (1846-1917) to serve on a committee to oversee the building of a chapel. The chapel’s architect is unknown. Platt, however, was a carpenter and local farmer who probably was responsible for the erecting the building.
The builders erected the chapel between May and July of 1889. After the basement was dug and the foundation begun, on June 25, 1889 they laid a marble cornerstone donated by Josephine Ward, a congregant of Christ Church, Gilbertsville. The carpenters completed the chapel in time for services to be held in August 1889. Missionary priest, the Rev. Horatio Gates held the first Eucharist at St. Stephen’s Chapel on October 27, 1889.
The Rt, Rev, William Croswell Doane, Bishop of Albany, consecrated St. Stephen’s Chapel on a rainy Wednesday, October 7, 1896. Although the congregation was never large enough to be self-sustaining, diocesan missionaries held services in the chapel until June 10, 1955. In 1961. Local congregants continued to use the chapel through December 1959. Over their objections, the Diocese of Albany de consecrated the building. In December 1961, the trustees of the diocese sold the building and the surrounding land. The former chapel was used as a community church through 1964 until it was sold again and converted into a residence. In 2015, new owners began conserving and rehabilitating the building.
The New Lisbon Church
On July 4, 1819, The New Lisbon Church held its first service. Horatio McGeorge who had finished Zion in the fall of 1818, built The New Lisbon Church. The layout of the two churches is similar; New Lisbon is proportionally one bay shorter and the pulpits were different: Zion’s pulpit and alter were in the back of the church while New Lisbon’s was in the front. There were two doors on either side of the pulpit. Worshipers entered and turn to face the pulpit. There is a theory this arrangement was to reduce the number of late comers. The bell tower, which had been similar in design to Zion’s was blown off in the 1920’s and a squat structure was built to cover the bell. As was Zion’s bell, The New Lisbon bell was caste in the same foundery as the Liberty Bell. The structure within the tower existed to hold a clock.
The New Lisbon Church was known as the First Congregational Church of New Lisbon. However, an extensive search of the files of central Congregational church in— found no mention of the New Lisbon church. Also …. Noble and … Chapin were founding members of the church. Noble was on the Vestry of Zion and Chapin had a pew in Zion. So, it may be it was The Congregation of New Lisbon. There is strong evidence that Noble and Smith built the Church much as land developers build golf courses today. There was one pastor in the early days who lasted about a year and his daughter was the only recorded wedding until the 21st century.