BROWNCROFT AREA CHURCHES
The Brighton Reformed Church was built at 219 Arbordale Road (on Blossom Road and Heather Street) in 1891 and expanded in 1896. The basement was dug from 1920-1924. The Holland language was used until the 1920’s. (1) The brick structure at 805 Blossom Road was built in 1954. (2)
Bethany Evangelical Church, started in 1912, was located at the northeast corner of Winton Road and Juniper Street.
The Brighton Community Church was formed in 1922 by 149 people who left the Bethany Evangelical Church, leaving only 4 members. (3) Their temporary frame tabernacle, with its sawdust floor, (4) was built in 1922 on what is now Nottingham Circle. They built the basement of their church at 420 Winton Road in 1926 and finished the building in 1954. (5) In 1980 they moved to Penfield and became the Browncroft Community Church. (6) The Metropolitan Baptist Church is now located there.
St. Matthews Episcopal Church, at the corner of Browncroft Boulevard and Winton Road, was built in 1926, and featured beautiful stained glass windows and a slab from Shakespeare’s tomb. (7) Before the church was built, the Sunday school class met at the office of the Browncroft Realty Corporation. In 1920 they leased (with option to buy) the Spies Hotel, meeting in the sitting room and closing the doors to the saloon. (8) The Episcopal Church left in 1965 (9) and several congregations have occupied it since then. The church is now the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church.
The Rochester Christian Reformed Church built a beautiful gothic structure at the corner of Browncroft Boulevard and Newcastle Road in 1951. In 1982 the building was destroyed by fire and the 105 year old congregation relocated to Penfield. (10)
The Emmanuel Covenant Church at 310 Browncroft Boulevard was built in 1957-1958. (11)
Many area residents also attend St. John the Evangelist and Brighton Presbyterian Churches. St. John the Evangelist Church, with its school, was built on Humboldt Street in 1914. (12)
Brighton Presbyterian began as Brighton Congregational in 1817, and became Presbyterian in 1870. After their church on Hoyt Place burned in 1867, they built a sanctuary on East Avenue in 1872. The present stone sanctuary was built from 1912 to 1915, (13) and the education wing was started in 1944, replacing the 1872 structure. (14)
1. The Forty-Fifth Anniversary Book of the Brighton Reformed Church (Rochester, N.Y., 1937) pp. 4-6.
2. Russel Pater, interviewed by Sharon Bloemendaal, April 1984.
3. "Cut Loose from Old Church Ties and Start Anew" Newspaper article date unknown, probably 1922.
4. Mildred Farmer Woodgate, interviewed by Sharon Bloemandaal, April, 1984.
5. Maude Thornton, IThe History of the Brighton Community Church (unpublished, 1934).
6. W. Millar Crawford, interviewed by Sharon Bloemendaal, April 1984.
7. "Slab from Shakespeare’s Tomb Brought Here". Democrat and Chronicle and Rochester Herald. October 18, 1926.
8. "Church Extension Society Gets Option on Former Saloon Property" Rochester Herald. January 18, 1920.
9. Episcopal Diocese archives
10. Christian Reformed Church of Rochester 1877-1952 (Rochester, NY 1952)
11. Ralph Dirksen, interviewed by Holly Petsos, March, 1984.
12. John C. O’Brien, interviewed by Sharon Bloemandaal, April, 1984.
13. John Laird, The History of the Brighton Presbyterian Church 19817-1933 (Rochester, 1933)
14. Elizabeth Caley Copson, 150 Years of Brighton Church (Rochester, NY, 1967).