How do you preserve the items that tell the story?

Beth Patkus

Do you have old family documents you are wondering how to save?  Maybe you are storing organizational and historical records and pictures for a group to which you have belonged and you don’t know what to do with them?  I know as we are celebrating our church’s 200th Anniversary, we have found a lot of old pictures as well as a couple very old Bibles and hymnbooks, among other things, that we wonder how to protect for the future.

Logo 200th Copper Hill UMC

The next event in our church’s 200th Anniversary Celebration Series may provide just the clues we are all looking for.

Our church is eagerly anticipating the upcoming August 10 visit of the professional archivist of the NY Annual Conference of the UM Church, Beth Patkus.   She is educated and trained to help us with just such questions.

During the afternoon of August 10, from 2-5:30 PM, Ms. Patkus will view and discuss items on display in the fellowship hall with members and friends.   At 5:30 PM the group will share a pot luck supper.   Then at 7 PM  Ms. Patkus will make a public presentation complete with visuals titled “Telling Your Stories:  Preserving and Sharing Historical Records.”   Everyone is invited.  Please invite your friends from other churches and organizations to this informative session.

Medallion Celebrates Our 200th Anniversary


200th Anniversary Medallion

Obverse of Medallion





What will be our anniversary memento?

When there is a significant anniversary, we search for an appropriate memento.    Copper Hill Church has had a medallion made in honor of the 200th Anniversary of its organization in 1816.   One side features a line drawing of the church with its old bell tower.   (The belfry had to be removed in 1991 because the roof was not supporting the added weight properly.)  The other side of the medallion features the key verse for our bicentenary celebration, Psalm 100:5.    “The Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  This durable keepsake has a loop at the top so it can be used as a Christmas ornament as well.

How the medallion came about

Chairperson Carol Griffin suggested the idea to the 200th committee.   After it was adopted, she gathered ideas from committee members and worked with Woodbury Pewter Co.  from Woodbury, CT  who designed and manufactured the pewter medallions for the church.  The first one of the run is made by hand.  Copies of the first are then made and these special souvenirs are now available from 200th Anniversary Chairperson Carol Griffin for a donation of $10.

Ladies’ Annual Dinner Out

Ladies' Night Out



The ladies of Copper Hill Church are noted for their cooking.  Suppers such as the Corned Beef Supper in March and the Roast Pork Dinner in the fall are almost legendary.  But once a year the ladies talk a night off to go out together to restaurant.  This year the joyful meal was at J & G Italian Restaurant in East Granby on June 14.   Pastor Kelvin was invited and took the opportunity to thank the ladies for their many contributions both volunteer and financial to the work of the church.  Excellent food, great service, and lots of good friends made for a fun night out.

Historical photo located

Copper Hill Church in the 1890's

Picture discovered

Bob Stewart has recently discovered and received rights to an historic photo of our church. It was in the care of the “Keeping Society” of Guilford, CT.  The photo was taken by a photographer named C. L. Hubbard who traveled around in Connecticut in the 1890’s taking pictures of various churches. The date on our exhibit photo in the fellowship hall is 1905 but that could be a collection date rather than the date it was taken.

Bob Stewart comments about the picture, “It shows the church with the steeple and an unknown gentleman in the foreground. Another object of interest is a telegraph (telephone?) pole in the extreme right of the photo. A possibility is that the telegraph line that was on the railroad right-of-way was extended to the post office across the street from the church. It would make sense to have telegraph service at a post office.”


According to the East Granby history book, the first trunk line of Southern New England Telephone Company came through East Granby in 1887 and the company announced in 1905 that every town in Connecticut finally had service (p. 258).  According to that same source, the post office at Copper Hill existed only from 1872-1903 at which time Rural Free Delivery from East Granby began (p. 224).

We also observe that the sheds for the horses are evident in the picture and apparently were located just where we step out of the kitchen door. If so, this might explain why the fellowship hall was built offset from the center of the church. Is the roof behind the horse sheds the “new” lecture room as it was then called?  According to our historical record called the Church Register, that was built during the pastorate of  Bro. J. H. Knott who served the Copper Hill Methodist Church from 1895-1897.   Would this new addition have had anything to do with the reason the picture was being taken?    There are no annotations to tell us.

Who is the man who appears to be posing for the picture?  Could it be the pastor? If it is and the hall has been built, then according to the register, it is likely one of these four;  Bro. Knott previously mentioned or E. P. Alvord who followed him pastoring from 1897-1899, John H. Crane, a local elder who led the church 1899-1901 or Rev. George L. Coburn who pastored from 1901-1906.

The Meeting House, The Church & The People



Meetinghouse at Storrowton Village Museumcropped-Logo-200th-Copper-Hill-UMC-.jpg

Announcing a 200th Anniversary presentation at the Copper Hill United Methodist Church on Monday evening June 13 at 7:00 PM by Dennis D. Picard, Director of Storrowton Village Museum.

“As we attend services on Sunday or on a special holiday during the year, it is easy to look at our surroundings, and imagine our ancestors back through time might well have had the same experience. Come hear how just about everything we know has gradually evolved and changed over the centuries; from theology to even the buildings we call churches. It is an interesting and intriguing story.”

Dennis PicardDennis D. Picard has been a museum professional in the “Living History” field for over thirty-five years.  He began his career at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge Massachusetts, in 1978, where he eventually spent twelve years filling various positions including “lead interpreter” for the Richardson Parsonage, where he researched and designed many public programs which are still offered by that institution today.  He also is the recipient of various grants that allowed him to serve as project coordinator for research and implementation of programs and events at different sites.

Dennis, with his background in sociology and museum experience has authored many articles on the lifestyles and folkways of New England and has also served as a consultant for many Historical Societies and Museums.

Dennis Picard and early American crafters

He has held the position of Assistant Director and Director at several sites including Fort Number Four in Charlestown New Hampshire, the Sheffield Historical Society in the Massachusetts Berkshires and presently at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield Massachusetts.




Copper Hill Church participates in rail trail clean-up day

Part of our rail trail clean-up crew

Sunday April 17th was Rail Trail clean-up day in Copper Hill as a part of the larger effort organized by the Farmington Valley Trails Council.   While Lisa Griffin and Sheri Mandirola and children had participated last year, this year our church council voted to officially participate as a church and to list it on our church calendar.   So this past Sunday after church at least ten volunteers from our church, four adults and six children, helped with the annual clean-up effort.  We were assigned to the section from Phelps Road north to the state line.   The biggest hazard was from the bicycle traffic since it was a beautiful day.  It was a very pleasant section to walk and thankfully the amount of litter was small.  Pastor Kelvin spied just enough litter to put some trash in each child’s bag. Nancy took the attached pictures.  Griffin, Conner, Shannon, Anna, Ian and Parker did the work.

200th Anniversary Celebration Underway

Logo 200th Copper Hill UMC


Copper Hill Church founded in 1816

Our church has been planning and looking forward to this year for some time.  Two hundred years ago in 1816, six lay persons, Aristarchus Griffin, Seth Griffin and Calvin Gillet and their wives under the oversight of Rev. Billy Hibbard of the Granville Circuit organized Copper Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, as it was then called.


Two hundred days set for celebration

This year our church has chosen to designate a period of about 200 days in which to celebrate and remember the blessing of God upon our church over two centuries and the faithfulness of laypersons and clergy that has brought us to today.  We feel so privileged to be the generation that is here to celebrate this great milestone.   The key verse for the celebration is, “The Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Ps 100:5 NRSV).



For us it is not just a time to look back, though we will do lots of that as we remember together, it is also a time to look forward.   We believe that since God has allowed this church to stand firm for 200 years, he has purposes for its future too.   So as we prepared, we have also developed a Vision 2020 Plan to help point our way into the future we believe God has for us.


The celebration has begun

The logo above was designed by JoAnne Jones and approved by the 200th committee.  Please watch for items marked with that logo.


The 200 days of celebration commenced last Sunday and will continue through Sunday, October 23, 2016.  During this time we will host various special events and seek to publicize the history and work of our church.   Pastor Kelvin Jones is planning two sermon and service series that bookend the celebration.  The first series began last Sunday and is called “Foundations for 200 Years and Counting.”   It will continue through May 1.   On each of these Sundays there will also be a special emphasis and a testimonial by a church member on the topic, “What Copper Hill Church means to me.”    Last Sunday and tomorrow lay leader, Robert Loomis, is highlighting moments in our history.  Pastor Kelvin is including more interesting and relevant historical info as illustrations in the messages of this series.   Last week we read from an 1839 Bible.  This week we will read from an 1836 Methodist hymnal.


JoAnne Jones wrote a song some time ago that is especially fitting for church anniversaries.  This inspirational piece called, “Keep the Flame Burning” will be a featured part of the music.   Did you notice that Pastor Kelvin is growing a beard to commemorate the celebration too?


More to come

Please watch for more articles featuring special events such as the Victorian Lady Tea coming up May 15th  at 2 PM.   Watch for the logo noting 200th series events.

Brush fire behind our church today

Brush fire behind our church today

As our church council was deliberating at their meeting this afternoon, a neighbor, Les Martin, burst in asking us to move cars and announcing that there was a brush fire behind our church.  He had already called 911.

The building on the left in the picture is the St. Pauly clothing donation shed but the church is on the right, maybe 20-30 feet behind the camera.

Most people at the meeting went immediately to the parking lot to move cars away from the rear of the church.  Three stayed behind to pray, then also went out.  We formed a bucket brigade using large kitchen pots to put out the fire which was  spreading in the leaves of the hedgerow that winds south from the Southeast corner of our fellowship hall.  The dead stump was also on fire inside.    The picture above was taken when the bucket brigade had extinguished visible flame and before the firemen arrived.

The East Granby firemen arrived quickly with two trucks.  They tore the stump apart and thoroughly doused all the smoking hot spots.  The picture below shows three members working to be sure that the fire is completely out.  The cause of the fire is unknown.

East Granby firemen extinguish brush fire

We are thankful to God that there was no damage and thankful for our alert neighbor, Mr. Martin, who spotted the fire.  There was plenty of brush and in just a few more minutes the fire could have become extremely dangerous to our church.   We are also very thankful to God that it happened when we were having a meeting there so we could form a bucket brigade and fight the fire until the firemen could arrive.   We only have an afternoon Sunday council session once a quarter.


Lenten/Easter message series focuses on Jesus’ life

Close-ups reveal details

Close-up camera shots of things or people are very revealing.  They help us immensely to spot details that we might otherwise miss.  I have chosen this analogy because our goal in the Lenten Easter series of messages is to  look at passages in the Gospel account of Matthew that give us close-up pictures of Jesus.   We’ll look at some of the most revealing moments in his life and ministry, moments that reveal crucial details about who he was and what his ministry on earth was about.   The overall goal is to help us to be better followers of Jesus because we understand him better.   The first message in the series was on Ash Wednesday evening when we examined a lesser known fact of Jesus’ life, his denunciations of the religious leaders of his day for their hypocrisy.   This week, we’ll jump back to the beginning if his ministry and talk about why he decided to be baptized when he didn’t need it.

Close-ups of Jesus in Matthew
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matt. 20:28   NIV 2011
Date Message Scriptures Subject
Ash Wed. Feb. 10 Three Thoughts Christ Condemns Matt. 23:1-12 Jesus condemns hypocrisy.
March 6 God’s Message to Us at Jesus’ Baptism Matt. 3:13-17 God’s words reveal 3 things about Jesus
March 13 Jesus the Calling Christ Matt. 9:9-13 Jesus calls us to follow Him
March 20
Palm Sunday
Jesus, the Crucified Matt. 20:17-19,  28;  27:27-54 Jesus was crucified for us.
March 24
Maundy Thursday
Jesus Communes With Us Matt 26:17-30 Communion reminds us of Jesus’ Presence in the ordinary times.
March 27
The Risen Christ Matt. 28:1-10 Meeting the Risen Christ changes everything.
April 3 The Ascended Christ Matt. 28:16-20 Jesus’ ascension assures us.