Presbyterian Church of Allegany opens its doors

Kate Day Sager/Olean Times Herald

Barb Endersen of the First Presbyterian Church in Allegany looks forward to the shared use of the church with the Olean Unitarian Universalist Community in the future.

ALLEGANY — When Barb Endersen read an article in the Times Herald that indicated the Olean Unitarian Universalist Community had outgrown its surroundings, she thought of the extra space available at her own church.

The divine result was the sharing of the Presbyterian Church of Allegany with the congregation from the Unitarian Universalist. At 11 a.m. Sept. 16, the Unitarian Universalists will hold its first formal service in the fellowship room at First Presbyterian, which holds earlier services at 9 a.m. on Sundays. After that the Unitarian Universalist, which has lay leaders and guest speakers conducting services, will meet at 11 a.m. the first and third Sundays of the month at the church.

 Anna Eskenazi Bush, a member of the Unitarian Universalist community, said the congregation’s new home is one that was much needed. The faith, which is a liberal religion encompassing many faith traditions, had met at the Yoga Betsy building in Olean. The 60-member congregation is now in its third year of services.

  Ms. Bush said an article published in the Times Herald in December mentioned that the congregation was expanding and outgrowing its space at Yoga Betsy.

 Ms. Endersen, who serves as a lay minister at her church, said she read the article and approached the other church leaders and The Rev. John Woodring to see if they would rent space with the Unitarian Universalist congregation. They all agreed to the idea as the 152-year-old North Third Street church has had declining membership and has been underused in recent years.

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