Our People

Kathleen Brown


Kathy comes to us from Omaha, Nebraska. In her past interim appointments, she has served in Iowa, Alaska and two different churches in Nebraska. She has also served as Pulpit Supply (in more churches than she can count!). Kathleen holds a Certificate in Management Skills from Creighton University in Omaha and she studied Public Relations and Communications at Empire State College in Rochester, New York.
From 1995 – 2006 she served as Minister of Mission Support with the American Baptist churches of the Central Region (Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas), and from 1990-5, she served as Associate for Mission Support and Stewardship Education through ABC of Rochester/Genesee Region. Kathleen has also led mission trips to Ukraine, Alaska, and Mexico.

Our History

  • Around 1811 Baptist preaching began in Penn Yan by Elder Sutherland and Samuel Carpenter. The need was great, for at that time the village reportedly contained two or three dozen dwellings, and at least three taverns.
  • 1828 Ernest efforts were begun to establish a Baptist society in Penn Yan, which by now had several hundred residents.
  • 1830 The “First Baptist Church of Penn Yan and Jerusalem” was founded on May 26th with 27 members. (Jerusalem is the township directly west of Penn Yan.) The 27 founding members transferred their membership from the Second Milo church, as well as from two Baptist churches in Jerusalem Township. (both of the latter churches eventually disbanded as the population of the areas diminished.)
  • 1835 After holding meetings in homes, a school house, the court house, and a printing office, the first church building was built by the Penn Yan group. Located on the site of the present building, The 40 x 63′ building was the first brick church building in Penn Yan. Little else is known about the building, and no pictures are known to exist.
  • 1871 The present Romanesque Revival building was built at a cost of $25,000. An old handwritten record indicate that the plans were drawn up by “I. N. White”. This is probably in error, as the building is typical of the work of H. N. White. Horatio Nelson White was a well-known Syracuse architect of the period, who designed many New York State churches.

The 52 x 110′ building had a “new and fine toned bell” in its 120 foot steeple. Also included was a “large and very melodious organ” built by William A. Johnson of Westfield MA, his opus 345.

At that time, there were still no other brick church buildings in Penn Yan. 108 years later the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places, as part of the Yates County Courthouse District.

  • 1899 The original 120′ steeple was found to sway in the wind and when the bell was rung! The steeple was hastily removed! It was rebuilt in the present form 6 years later. (Scroll down for a photo of the building with the original steeple)
  • 1903 The floor of the sanctuary, originally level, was raised at the rear, the organ was moved from the the rear of the sanctuary to the front, and a kitchen was added at the rear of the building.
  • 1915 A 30 x 50′  “Acron style” addition was built to house the Sunday School. A central two story room was surrounded by small class rooms on the ground and second story levels. These class rooms joined into the larger room by opening sliding windows and folding doors. On Sunday mornings, the Sunday School classes would hold an opening worship service together, then would close the windows and doors to separate into groups for individual studies. A dining room and kitchen were located in the basement level.
  • 1924 Rev. William Wheatley worked with several other men of the church to form a Boy Scout troop. This troop was originally Troop 3. Later, when all troops in the Finger Lakes Council were renumbered, it became Troop 44. It is now one of the oldest active Boy Scout troops in the state.
  • 1925 The “Baraca” men’s class held an attendance contest with the Binghamton Baracas. Penn Yan won with 1,879 men crowded into the 2 local theatres! This aroused great interest which brought on a series of evangelistic services. Several weeks of effort led to the addition of 108 new members.
  • 1930 In 100 years, the church membership had grown from 27 to 846. A huge anniversary celebration was held.
  • 1931 The organ was greatly altered by the Marr and Colton firm of Warsaw, NY. The tracker (mechanical) action was replaced by electro pneumatic action chests, and a new console was provided. The present instrument contains 1200 pipes. Most of the pipes from the 1871 Johnson Organ were retained, resulting in a fine quality of tone characteristic of Johnson organs.
  • 1952 The Sunday School portion of the building was renovated. A new floor divided the 2 story portion, classrooms were enlarged, and windows and folding doors became solid walls.
  • 1994 A major roof timber failed, again endangering the steeple, roof and sanctuary. The north and west sides of the steeple were stripped of the shifted brickwork, new trusses were built, and the area re-bricked.
  • 1995 – 1997 The sanctuary was redecorated, a new roof installed, and the 1871 brickwork was repointed.
  • 2003 – 2004 The 1915 addition was demolished, and has been replaced by the “Jessup Christian Education Center”, a modern 2 story addition which houses the Christian Education facilities, dining room, kitchen and church offices.

Our Missions

Groups we are associated with:

  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Community Chorus
  • Yates Concert Series
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Backpack Program/Milly’s Pantry
  • The Hope Center & Mobile Food Pantry
  • Penn Yan Area Council of Churches
  • Lenten Lunches

“Trust the past to the mercy of God’s plan; the present to His love.”

— Augustine

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