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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    Rocks changing shape at Webb Mills UMC

    November 2, 2023 / By Eric Coons, Webb Mills UMC

    Every Sunday morning, you can expect to find about two dozen faithful members worshipping inside Webb Mills United Methodist Church, but total membership exceeds 100. Like many churches, many members don’t attend regularly. Some migrate south for the fall and winter months, others are “taking a break,” and some only come back for major holidays. Regardless, Webb Mills UMC is considered their home church. The church has been ministering for more than a century.  

    In July, church members decided to celebrate our history and membership. With the Holy Spirit busy at work, volunteers started forming an Ebenezer right in front of the church. The idea took off like wildfire. Today, the Webb Mills UMC Ebenezer acts like a touch stone for the community.   

    The base of the Ebenezer is a marble stone block inscribed with the word, “King.” This stone acts as the foundation for our Ebenezer. I couldn’t think of a better base than Jesus as our cornerstone. It sits right in front of the church sign. 

    When I was the church’s Youth Minister, I would take kids in grades 6-12 on a hike every fall. Most of those hikes were done in the Adirondacks and some in Pennsylvania. This time acted as a personal retreat to get the kids back together and offered a time of fellowship. During the hike, we would stop and hold a small worship service and offer the Eucharist to everyone in attendance. On these hikes, the youth and I would also create our own Ebenezer to remember where we were and where we’ve come from. 

    Just like on those hikes, people today grab a stone and add it to the church’s Ebenezer. People’s grandkids bring stones from all over and add it to the collection. Families come back each summer to Pine City and bring a stone with them. People who don’t even belong to the church are also contributing.  

    Stones have come from people's cottages on the Finger Lakes and Canada, from homesteads, and while on vacation, people are bringing stones back to their home church. They place it where they want to. This summer, my wife and I visited Maine. There we found a rock, brought it back, and added to the group.  

    It may look like just a pile of rocks, but it’s much more than that. Each month, the Ebenezer is growing and changing shape. It’s become a meaningful and healing experience for people of every age. As the stones appear, the shape changes, and it will continue to do so as time goes on. Just like our church body and our ministry style, the Ebenezer will change. I’m excited to see it change. Praise be to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is our rock, and our cornerstone.

    TAGGED / Communications

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."