Our History

Harris Hill United Methodist Church 150 years, 1862-2012

A missionary named John Hill came to Clarence in 1858 and began his preaching from a stone school house. His brother George joined him and together they soon found a need for a church of their own. In 1862 the original part of this church was built. There is a history of Harris Hill UMC (originally called Evangelical United Brethren church) that shares many wonderful early memories of the church that was built in 1862. It tells of the immense importance of the church which was the spiritual and social center of the tiny hamlet.

Harris Hill circa 1862 vs Harris Hill 2012

The one line of that history states “When we realize all of the conversation that has taken place in this little church, and the spiritual atmosphere that has influenced so many lives that have gone out into the world and influenced other lives, the number would run into the thousands and extend from Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Today we stand poised to be the congregation who take the ministry of Christ into the next 150 years. You may not remember names found in the history: Snyder, Longnecker, Summey, Frick and Shisler. These folks worked hard to build the Kingdom of God through the Harris Hill church. We are the names that will be listed in a history of this church for the next 150 years and beyond.

The scripture that was quoted in the writings; Matthew 16:18 “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Whether we look to William Otterbein and his dramatic experience with God, or John Wesley and his experience with the Moravians, neither set out to start a new denomination, but both had a personal relationship with God. These men were focused to do something that would lift the church as a whole out of its spiritual depression.

That is where this congregation stands today, knowing that there is a hurting world filled with fear and frustration, we continue to be the people of God in this Clarence/Williamsville community.

Harris Hill UMC is a strong active and vital church, proving that God’s word is timeless. From the days of 1862 where it is listed that there were 150 members to the 1970’s where the number was 46, to the present listed at 145 members (and growing), Harris Hill is called to be a church; The family of believers have had great influence. It has touched the hearts and minds of thousands, taught the word of God, prayed for the people of God here and around the world, and brought many to eternal life in Christ. As we continue in ministry, I hope that each person listens to the voice of God as they look to be the next history of Harris Hill UMC.

Harris Hill Front. Love God, Live Like Jesus, Share the Spirit...