CHURCH EVENTS 1990 - 2003
From August 1, 1991 through June 1, 2003, First Presbyterian Church of Verona was under the pastorship of Rev. D. Richard Will. Rev. Will succeeded Rev. P. Arthur Brindisi, Stated Supply, of the Utica Presbytery. During this period, Verona First was yoked with Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.
In 1993 the church observed its 190th Anniversary. A Mission Study under the title “Looking Ahead” was conducted in 1994. A newsletter for the two churches was begun under the name The Voices, and a youth group named Young Voices was organized.
In addition to the “Young Voices” youth group, a Christian children’s musical, “A Family Recipe”, was presented in July of 1998 at Verona First and Mount Vernon churches. Vernon and Verona youngsters, under the musical direction of Kim Sreca, performed such catchy songs, as “The Martha Stalwart Theme Song,” “God’s Family Tree,” and “Leave a Message After the Beep.”
During earlier years Cantatas were presented: “The Other Wisemen” and “The Christmas Cantata.”
On October 6, 1996, Verona First began using a new wireless microphone donated for Rev. Will’s use. A year later, a significant upgrade to the Church sound system was made, and new speakers for the church organ were built.
Built on Faith was the name given to the fund raising effort for the construction of the Fellowship Hall and Christian Education building. On the wall of the new Fellowship Hall is a panel with the names of many contributors. There were many fundraising events from 1996 to 2002: The Pastor’s Challenges, Silent Auction, Bowling, funds from the Deacon’s and Women’s groups. The first music festival was held on October 30, 1999, called The Church’s One Foundation. These and other events, as well as generous contributors, helped pay the mortgage loan in full, about one year early.
The Church website was established October 4, 2001 by Rev. Will with the assistance of his son Drew. In 2002, Rev. Will received his Doctorate in Ministry.
In 2002, planning for the bicentennial of the church began. The theme “Verona First...2003 and beyond,” was chosen. Plans were made for: a monthly bicentennial worship service; participation in the Verona Volunteer Firemen’s Parade and Field Day’s; worship in the park; a worship service at the home of Kaye and Larry Sarandrea; sermon reenactments; the 200th celebration was held on August 3rd, a brief observance on August 5th, and a members only dinner was held at Schneible’s Inn on August 8th; and a candle lighting/fact providing finale.
In 1996, the unexpected visit of a truck crashing into the church dining room wall, spurred the congregation to adopt the plans for a new Fellowship Hall and Christian Education Building. The plans were approved at a congregational meeting on November 3, 1996. The total cost of the project was $154,800. Ground was first broken in late November 1996. Construction was completed in May 1997 and the new building dedicated June 22, 1997. The loan was retired in May 2002, and a ceremonial burning of the mortgage took place on June 23, 2002.