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October 26, 2012

Keeseville church celebrates 30th

'Come back and just celebrate with us'

KEESEVILLE — The Keeseville Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene began with a dream and a prayer.

And this weekend, it will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Formally organized on Oct. 24, 1982, the church was a vision of members of the Plattsburgh Church of the Nazarene under the direction of the Rev. Robert Wanner.

“Some of their church members … became part of this church to help start this church,” said the Rev. Richard Reese, who has pastored the Keeseville congregation with his wife, Deborah, for the past three years. “That church was instrumental in starting this church.”

In the beginning, families from the Keeseville area met in homes throughout the community, and in June 1982, the Rev. Ernest F. Machia was appointed the church’s first pastor. The first service was held July 18 of that year at the Keeseville Civic Center’s library, a space members rented for $55 a month.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Geoff DeFranca, in 1988, the church embarked on its first building plan on property previously donated to the Upstate New York District by William R. LaFlure. Congregants began to clear the property at 124 Hill St. in June 1991, and a formal groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 18 of that year.

In December 1991, the church was holding services in the new building, and by 1993, the mortgage was paid in full.

“Everything’s paid off,” Mr. Reese said. “We’re debt free. That’s unusual for a church our age.”

STRONG FOUNDATION

And so, this weekend, the pastor said, “we’re asking everybody that’s been here to come back and just celebrate with us.”

The Rev. Patrick Fleming and the Rev. David Drake, both former pastors, and their families are among those who will be in attendance.

The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday with “pizza, pictures and memories” in the church fellowship hall,” Mrs. Reese said.

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