Sylvan Beach Union Chapel celebrates 125 years
The Sylvan Beach Union Chapel was founded 125 years ago with the simple idea of creating a non-denominational place to worship at Sylvan Beach in the summer. As our Andrew Sorensen tells us, they're still carrying on their mission more than a century later.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
SYLVAN BEACH, N.Y.-- Tucked just off the sands of picturesque Sylvan Beach sits a small national treasure.
"Today is our 125th anniversary of the Sylvan Beach Union Chapel," said Tanya Pifer, longtime parishioner.
The Chapel is now marked on the National Registry of Historic Places, but Pifer says it took a surprisingly short time to build it.
"The chapel was built in 1887 and it took them about 40 days to construct the building," Pifer said.
Although a few things have changed over the 125 years of the chapel, like the addition of electric lights and a PA system, most things have remained pretty much the same.
"We just had beams replaced last year and when they cut into the beams, of course they're 125 years old, and when they cut into the beam in the back it just went to dust," Pifer explained.
And they have pretty much the same people come back, year after year.
"Today it's a seasonal chapel. We have a different minister every week. Reverend Paul Mills is our minister today, and this is his 41st year at the chapel," she said.
Mills, a retired United Methodist minister says, like hundreds of ministers before him, it's the historical aspect that brings him back.
"It's like a tabernacle, when you look at it, the doors on each side open right out. There were crowds that didn't have room for everyone to sit inside, so people could be outside and see the service and hear," he said.
The open air format also makes it fill up quickly for weddings and baptisms.
"Last year we actually had 14 weddings, so it was pretty continuous almost every weekend," Pifer said.
But before you scramble for your computer or phone book, keep in mind the historic aspect also means the chapel doesn't have a phone or a website. They say it's best to just contact the village, or drop in for a service at 10 a.m. any Sunday from June to September.