The history of Irondequoit Presbyterian Church is a history of people carrying on God’s work in many creative and dedicated ways. In 1856, Mr. Charles Hill organized the first Irondequoit Central Sunday School. From 1856 to 1888, Sunday school was held in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1888, Mr. Ransford Perrin bought an additional acre of land, and a red brick two-room schoolhouse was built (the former Turkish Society building still on the corner of Culver and Williams Drive). Then, because of objections to using the school for religious study, the “Sunday School Group” met in Mr. Perrin’s home. As the school grew, Mr. Perrin decided to deed property to the Irondequoit Central Sabbath School Society so that a chapel could be built. The cornerstone for the chapel was laid on October 19, 1890 on the site of the present Christian Education Wing of Irondequoit Presbyterian Church.
For a number of years, the Chapel was used for Sunday School with an occasional hour of preaching by students from the Baptist Seminary. A Congregational Church was organized in 1908 as an outgrowth of the Sunday School and the Christian Endeavor Society. Women played a strong role in the founding of the church, helping with church work, assisting the needy in the town, and working for children’s homes in Rochester. In January of 1914, a survey was taken indicating that members preferred the Presbyterian form of worship, and by August of that year, the congregation was incorporated as the Irondequoit Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. On June 16, 1926, with a budget of $80,000, the congregation voted to build a new church, and on September 26th the cornerstone was laid. The new church was dedicated in 1927, and the first service was held on Palm Sunday.
The years that followed brought many challenges and opportunities. The Depression of 1929 caused some financial problems, but financial drives and timely donations allowed the church to cut its debt, obtain a church organ and new hymnals, and install a bell tower sound system following World War II. In 1956, with a budget of $84,550, the old Chapel was demolished to build the Christian Education Wing. The wing was dedicated in September of 1957. By 1960, the church had grown to 658 members.
While the 1960’s saw a great increase in membership, the 1970’s saw a reversal of these numbers. Despite these trends, the church would continue to focus on mission and outreach. This included support for the building of the Cho-Sung Presbyterian Church in Korea (1961), continuing support and donations by the Women’s Association for the work of Church World Service, assistance to refugee families from Laos, Cambodia, and Eritrea (1980’s), and on-going programs of support and mentoring for the youth residents at the NYS School at Industry.
As the church entered the 21st century, the commitment to service and outreach continued through support of Cameron Community Ministries, the Community Food Cupboard, the Sunset House, and the People’s Ministry in Christ. In 2013, the members of IPC embraced the New Beginnings Program to help discern God’s current plan and direction for our congregation. A Strategic Planning Team was formed, and soon a series of small group programs was developed to foster new spiritual growth and fellowship around our common mission—to remain rooted in Christ’s love, to grow strong in our faith together, and to branch out to serve those in our community and the world. Today, that commitment continues through our hosting and support of the Creative Beginnings Child Care program; providing meeting space for AA, Food Addicts in Recovery, and other community groups; and our support of countless community projects with our member’s time and talents. From our roots as a simple Sunday school more than a century ago, Irondequoit Presbyterian Church continues to seek new ways to answer God’s call to service and witness in this community and beyond.