Harold William Griffis – A Methodist Minister – one of the younger members who has established an enviable record: Part II

Epworth League 1930 Harold as Dean

This is the second part of the story of Harold Griffis as a Methodist minister and pastor.

The following reflects the major milestones in his career within the Methodist Episcopal church. The first part of the story covered Harod’s career up through his pastoral duties with the Jonesville Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church and Groom’s M.E. Church from 1925 – 1928. Part II of the story resumes with his career in 1928 at the Methodist M.E. Church in Williamstown, Massachusetts and at the First Methodist Church in Troy, New York (indicated in bold face below).

YearPosition
1925Pastor of Jonesville Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church and Groom’s M.E. Church, NY
1928Pastor at Methodist M.E. Church in Williamstown, MA
1930Pastor at Trinity Church, Troy, NY
1938Pastor at the First Methodist Church, Amsterdam, NY
1940In addition to First Methodist Church, pastor of East Main M.E. Church, Amsterdam
1946District Superintendent of Troy District
1948Pastor at 5th Avenue & State Street Methodist Church, Troy, NY
1954District Superintendent of Albany District
1958 – 1961Pastor at Trinity Methodist Church, Albany, NY

1928 – 1930: Williamstown Massachusetts

After their productive years serving the Grooms M.E. Church and the Jonesville M.E. Church, Evelyn and Harold moved to Williamstown, Massachusetts where Harold was the pastor at the Methodist Church for two years.

Harold and Evelyn Griffis circa 1930's
Harold and Evelyn circa 1930, click for larger view.

The first Methodist church in Williamstown was originally a white frame building erected in 1845. The lot for the building, which in later years was fitted with a stage and  became known as the Opera House, was acquired by Summer Southworth, a manufacturer of cotton goods.

When the congregation grew and required a larger building, Southworth contributed $8,000 toward building the red brick church, which cost $13,000, aside from the lot and furnishing. The church was dedicated on March 6, 1872.

Southworth also gave the Methodists a gift of music, an Opus 447 pipe organ manufactured by the William A. Johnson and Son Co. of Westfield. [1] The photograph was taken by Evelyn Griffis, (personal scrapbook). Click for larger view.

Pipe Organ in Williamstown ME Church, photo from Evelyn Griffis scrapbook. Click for larger view.
Post Card of Williamstown M.E. Church 1930, from personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.
Williamstown Parsonage next to the church on Main Street 1929, from scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.
A view of Main Street in Williamstown, MA 1930 from scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.

Today, the Williamstown church still stands but it is now the Williamstown Community Preschool center. The parsonage no longer exists. Where the parsonage once stood, adjacent to the church, there is now used as a playground for the preschoolers (for larger views of photographs: photo one, two, three, and four.)

The following is a Lenten Program from the Williamstown church when Harold was the pastor.

Click for larger view.
Click for larger view.

The following is a pamphlet from the Williamstown church on religious questions for discussion at Sunday evening service. The questions reflect Harold’s interest in engaging his parishioners on spiritual issues that were defined or viewed through current events and daily life experiences. It perhaps also indicates that Harold was a keen observer of community attitudes and his desire to understand the values held by his parishioners.

Click for larger view.
Click for larger view.

While a pastor at the Williamstown M.E. Church, Harold was also deeply involved with the Epworth League and was Dean of the Epworth League Pultney Institute each summer. [2]

1930 – 1938: Trinity Church, Troy, NY

His career as a pastor continued with an eight year assignment at the Trinity Church in Troy, New York. The following newspaper article provides a cogent summary of his accomplishments at Jonesville and Grooms churches, prior to his pastoral duties in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Williamstown newspaper clipping, personal scrapbook of Harold Griffis. Click for larger view.
Trinity Church Steeple click for larger view

Troy, New York had a long history of Methodist congregants and churches. The first church was built in in the early 1800’s. As the Methodists grew in number, additional churches were started throughout Troy. Members of the original State Street church organized many of these churches. By 1860 there were nine Methodist churches. In addition to State Street Methodist Episcopal Church there was North Second Street (later named Fifth Avenue), Congress Street (later named Trinity), Third Street, Levings Chapel, Albia, North Troy, German, and Zion. [3]

Trinity Church, Troy, NY, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Trinity Church, Troy NY 1930, from Scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.

The Trinity Methodist Episcopal church was formerly known as the Congress Street church.

“The Methodist Episcopal Church on Congress Street, Troy, N. Y., was organized in the month of October, 1846, in the following manner: Several persons from the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church, and the North Second Methodist Episcopal Church, came with certificates from the pastors of those churches to Rev. Oliver Emerson, pastor of the Third Street Church, and wished to come under his care and to be formed into a class to meet in Congress Street, Ida Hill. They were received and a class was formed under the care of Stephen Monroe and William H. Robbins.” [3]

In June 1847, an old blacksmith shop on the south side of Congress Street at an intersection with Ferry Street, was reconstructed for a house of worship. It was called the “Hemlock Church”. On its completion, the Sunday school of the society, began holding its sessions in the new meeting house.  Desiring a larger structure, the congregants built a larger church of brick on the north side of Thirteenth Street, near the intersection with Congress Street. The corner stone of the brick church was laid in October, 1848. The building was originally dedicated on July 12, 1849. [4]

Illustration of Trinity M.E. Church from Hillman, Joseph, The History of Methodism in Troy, N.Y. NewYork, Page 103

The pews in the church were free and no rentals for sittings were  imposed or collected. The entire cost of the site, building and furniture was $6,199.84. The church was enlarged in 1860, accommodating two hundred more people. The building was then rededicated by the Rev. Bishop Matthew Simpson. Two years later, the Sunday school rooms were enlarged at a cost of $600. In 1880, the church was renovated and the corner towers were added along with other architectural features, at a cost of $14,084.94. The building was rededicated December 28, 1880. [5]

Harold’s Diary

The photographs below are pages from Harold’s personal diary book of 1936 when he was pastor at Trinity Church. They reflect ‘days in the life of a pastor’, what he typically experienced and did on a daily basis as a pastor. He visited parisoners at home, in hospitals, and at his office at the church. He also provided sermons not only at his church but at other churches within and outside of the Methodist Episcopal circle and provided prayers and talks at business gatherings. He also met with various community groups and organizations.

From the Diary of Harold Griffis. Click for larger view.

Thursday, January 16, 1938: Worked in the study all morning.  In the afternoon I spoke at Mrs. Thomas’ prayer group which met at Mrs. Swensson’s. Walked up and back. Afterwards went down and got a haircut.

The Life Lights put on a sauerkraught supper. I worked in the kitchen and had a grand time. There was a very poor crowd at the supper. I think they made around $5. Another beautiful day.  Just cold enough to be snappy.

Friday, January 17, 1938: Went to the bank this morning and borrowed $350 to pay up the bills that have accumulated. We have resolved to follow a ‘pay-as-you-go” policy from now on.  It hardly seems possible that all unconsciously anyone would get so far behind.

The new bulletin came early in the afternoon and I spent the rest of the day arranging to have it hung.  Took a short walk with Evelyn and the boys.

Had a discussion group until 8.  Then came home and wrote and read.

A beautiful, clear day.

From personal diary of Harold Griffis. Click for larger view.

February 5, 1936: Went to Albany in the morning and had lunch there. Made some calls in afternoon. Mid-week service – 26 (attended).  Official Board & third Quarterly Conference.  I was called back for another year.

February 6, 1936: In the study in the morning. Capt. Mugford came to see me about becoming Pres. of the Board of the City Mission.  I spent the afternoon looking into it.  Talked with Neitzel and Dr. Kelley and decided not to do it. Spent the evening at home. 

Sunday May 3rd: 171 – at morning service. H.S. on behalf of the Finance Committee presented us with $100.  In the afternoon the Smiths took us out to see Stones poultry farm in Stephentown.  After League they came in for supper. Very warm …

Monday May 4th: Preacher’s meeting in AM. Worked on emergency Peace Campaign in afternoon.  Broadcast an announcement over WHAZ in the evening.  This was my first broadcast. Probably it will be my only one.  Started furnace again today. Very cold.

The right hand photograph, taken from the same 1936 year diary, contains two pages for Sunday, April 19, 1936 and Monday, April 20, 1936. 

Sunday April 19: Exchanged pulpits with Ernest Ryder. Talked with Frank Hines after service and he told me Trinity did not want me to go.  E. And I went back to Saratoga for dinner.  The Pastoral Committee met me at 4:30 at the hotel to re-enforce what Frank said. Had Mother and George at the hotel for supper.

Monday April 20: Had dinner with the Bucklands at the Gloss Restaurant in Schuylerville. Came to Troy. I went down to the “Y” finance dinner at night and then came back and worked on my mail.  “R.O.” came in to talk about the Conference and the proposed change.

The two photographs below also depict activities in Harold’s daily life in 1936. The left hand photograph provides his activities on June 14th and 15th. The right hand photograph provides his observations on his activities on June

Sunday June 14: Children’s Day. 205 att. A very nice service.  James and John spoke their first pieces. I baptized four babies.  It rained in the afternoon.  In the evening E and I went over to see the Bucklands.

Monday, June 15: Played golf in the morning

Wednesday, June 10: The Life-lights had a picnic at the Farm 45 men and women there. Played softball and volleyball. Everyone had a good time. Played golf in the morning with Ryder. Father Simpson of St. Augustine’s played a round with us.

Thursday, June 11: Got out a letter in the morning. H.S. took us out to dinner in the evening. Went to Riley’s up on Saratoga Lake.

The following photograph was taken in 1934. Harold and Evelyn was dressed for a formal event.

Source: Personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.

The following is a church program when Harold was pastor of the First Methodist Church.

Sources

Featured Image at top of story: Group photograph of Epworth League participants and faculty win 1930. Harold Griffis, Dean, in the center of the front Row. Evelyn is also in the photograph in the top row fourth from the left. Click for larger view.

This story is partly based on material from a book originally published on the life of Harold Griffis as a Methodist minister, see James F. Griffis (Ed.), Sermons, Notes and Letters of Harold William Griffis, Self published, Blurb: Oct, 2018

[1] Phyllis McGuire, Williamstown Methodists Reflect on Church’s History, iBerskshires.com, November 28, 2010

[2] Harold Griffis, Dean of Pultney Institute, Epworth League, The Granville Sentinel., December 28, 1928, Page 6

[3] Rev. James A. Fenimore, A Church on the Edge of an Apocalypse, Term Paper, December 30, 1998 referenced at Christ Church UMC, Troy, New York website. Page 5-6

See also: Hillman, Joseph, The History of Methodism in Troy, N.Y. NewYork: Moss Engraving Company, 1888

[4] Hillman, Joseph, The History of Methodism in Troy, N.Y. NewYork: Moss Engraving Company, 1888, Page 102

[5] Hillman, Joseph, The History of Methodism in Troy, N.Y. NewYork: Moss Engraving Company, 1888, Page 102

History of Trinity United Methodist Church, website, accessed 8 Jun 2021

Harold William Griffis – A Methodist Minister with Wit and Uncommon Sense: Part I

Round Lake Epworth League Institute August 14-22-1926

“His wit and uncommon sense approach to his messages give him place in the realm of those highly desired as public speakers “

– The Glens Falls Times, March 21, 1950, Page 6
Harold Griffis greeting parishioners
Harold Griffis greeting parishioners outside the church after service. Albany, NY circa 1959, click for larger view.

Overview: An Extensive Career within the Methodist Episcopal Church and Local Communities

Harold William Griffis had a deep compassion for his fellow man and in his belief in God, as reflected in his long and varied career as a Methodist minister [1] ; his work with local communities; and in the various positions he assumed in the church organization and in local business and community groups.

Proof photograph of Harold William Griffis

Professional proof photographs of Harold William Griffis when he was Superintendent of the Troy District. Click larger view of photo on the left.

For larger views of photos below: left hand photo | right hand photo

The following reflects the major milestones in his career within the Methodist Episcopal church. Part I of this story covers Harold’s pastoral roles with Jonesville and Grooms Churches.

YearPosition
1925Pastor of Jonesville Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church and Groom’s M.E. Church, NY
1928Pastor at Methodist M.E. Church in Williamstown, MA
1930Pastor at Trinity Church, Troy, NY
1938Pastor at the First Methodist Church, Amsterdam, NY
1940In addition to First Methodist Church, pastor of East Main M.E. Church, Amsterdam
1946District Superintendent of Troy District
1948Pastor at 5th Avenue & State Street Methodist Church, Troy, NY
1954District Superintendent of Albany District
1958 – 1961Pastor at Trinity Methodist Church, Albany, NY

Harold accepted everyone regardless of limitations or faults and his tacit aim was getting the best out of each individual. While he was a spiritual person and looked after the needs of his parishioners, we was down to earth, pragmatic, and business oriented in accomplishing church activities and local business needs. His ability to get along with all walks of life and his organizational skills led to various assignments within the church hierarchy and organization and local business community. In each of his pastoral assignments, Harold Griffis became part of the fabric of everyday activities of his parishioners and in the business and local community.

Harold’s close connections with his parishioners and local business communities were reflected in the scrapbooks he kept of newspaper stories of his parishioners and church activities. He would visit members of the church in weekly hospital visits and at home when there were family crisis or a death in the family. During World War II he personally visited families who lost loved ones in the war and visited soldiers that returned home or were in the hospital.

  • Harold Griffis Scrapbook
    Harold Griffis Scrapbook of newspaper articles related to his ministry.
A sample of obituaries of parishioners in Harold Griffis’ scrapbook, most of which he officiated in their respective funerals , click for larger view.
A sample of obituaries of parishioners in Harold Griffis’ scrapbook, click for larger view.

A review of the leadership he gave outside of the local church is impressive. During his early years, Harold Griffis was active in the Epworth League [2] along with his pastoral duties. He was also District Superintendent for the Troy District as well as for the Albany District. He also assumed duties in various district and national church organizations and Jurisdictional Conferences [3] [4]

During the 36 years of his active ministry with the Methodist Church he was a member of the four major boards of the Troy Methodist Conference: Education, Evangelism, Missions, and World Service, and Finance. During three of the four years on the Board of Missions Harold was the executive secretary. For six years he was on the Conference Secretary’s staff. He was chairman of the Cabinet throughout the four years as Albany District Superintendent. [5]

His ministry reached beyond the Troy Annual Conference. He represented Troy conference at the last sessions of the General Conference, heading the ministerial delegation in 1948, 1956 and 1960. He was a delegate to the Jurisdiction Conference from 1944 though 1960. He served on the Committee on Episcopacy two quadrenniums and on the Committee on Promotion and Cultivation one quadrennium. [5]

The following participation name tags or medals are reflective of Harold’s representation at regional and national Methodist conferences. Harold was a Methodist General Counsel leader from his respective districts various years. For example, he garnered a majority vote on the first round to represent the Troy conference at the 1956 national conference.

“The Rev. Harold Griffis, superintendent of the Albany District, won the designation as leader of the Troy Conference delegation to the General (national) Conference of the Methodist church to be held in 1956 in Minneapolis. He polled 76 votes on the first ballot seven more than were needed to register a majority.” [6]

  • 1948 General Conference
    1948 General Conference
  • 1956 General Conference
    1956 General Conference
  • Denver 1960 Methodist General Conference
    Denver 1960 Methodist General Conference
  • 1952 San Francisco Methodist General Conference
    1952 San Francisco Methodist General Conference
  • 1952 Carlisle Fourth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
    1952 Carlisle Fourth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
  • 1948 Third Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
    1948 Third Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
  • 1956 Fifth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
    1956 Fifth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
  • 1960 Sixth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
    1960 Sixth Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
  • 1944 Second Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
    1944 Second Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference

Harold also was on the board of managers for the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, a trustee of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and was the former grand chaplain of the Masonic Grand Lodge of New York state. [7]

Proclamation from the Methodist Hospital of Brooklyn. Click for larger view.

  • Sunday School Centenary Offering
    Sunday School Centenary Offering
  • Sunday School Centenary Offering
    Sunday School Centenary Offering
  • Griff Kiwanas Club
    Griff Kiwanas Club
  • Griff Rotary Club
    Griff Rotary Club
Grand Chaplan Free Masons

Harold Griffis was a member of the Freemasons and was typically a Chaplain at their meetings and ceremonies. [8] According to family members, Harold had conflicting views of the rituals associated with the Freemasons but saw the importance of the organization in his role as pastor and as a spiritual leader in the local community.

The following is a photograph of Harold’s American Free Mason’s “Knights of Malta” Cross.

American Freemasons “Knights of Malta” cross. This was a Knights templar lodge medal typically from the 1930s-50s.
American Freemasons “Knights of Malta” cross. This was a Knights Templar Lodge medal typically presented to members from the 1930 to the 1950s .Click for larger view. [9]

In a eulogy to Harold Griffis, it was stated,

“Many remember his unusual skill in teaching the Bible and personal prayer; but the most thoughtful preparation to which Harold Griffis gave himself was in the field of corporate prayer. This is where so many of his parishioners will remember him at his best” [5]

Eloquent speaker The Glens Falls Times January 12 1955 Page 14

“A forceful and eloquent speaker with the ability to clothe spiritual truths in the cloak of humor…”

– The Glens Falls Times January 12 1955 Page 14

Harold’s gift of speaking was noted both in and out of the church, as reflected in this newspaper article.

“His wit and uncommon sense approach to his messages give him place in the realm of those highly desired as public speakers “

The Glens Falls Times, March 21, 1950, Page 6

Early Years

Harold Griffis graduated from Gloversville High School with a commercial diploma and initially worked in the Gloversville YMCA after high school graduation. Having decided to become a minister while he was a junior in high school, he realized the need to obtain a college degree. In his post high school graduate year he was tutored by his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Theresa Dutcher, to take the required college entrance exams to enter college. While Harold was working, Evelyn went on to teacher’s college immediately after they both graduated from high school.

My Creed Page One

My Creed

At an early age, Harold William Griffis gave his life to God and serving man. When he was a junior in high school, he decided he would enter the ministry.

He wrote a letter of testimony that he kept for himself at the age of 18 on December 10, 1921. It was in an envelope that he kept throughout his life. He reaffirmed his thoughts in the letter on February 15, 1923.

(See yer entire letter “My Creed”).

With Evelyn’s help, he passed the college entrance exams. Harold applied and was accepted to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Harold William Griffis, Formal photograph while in college at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, probably his senior year. Click for larger view.
Formal photograph of Evelyn Dutcher as a senior in high school, Gloversville, NY. Click for larger view.

During his college years, he applied to the Troy Annual Conference of the Methodist Church to be accepted and ordained as a Preacher in 1920. During his sophomore year at Wesleyan University he was admitted as a trial pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church April 1923 . He became a Deacon in the church in 1925 and an Elder in 1927 [10]

The Glens Falls Times April-05 1923 Page 3

The Glens Falls Times, April 5, 1923, Thursday Evening, “Hudson Falls” Page 3 Click image for larger view.

Harold Griffis admitted as trial pastor excerpt The Glens Falls times April 07, 1923, Page 1

Harold Griffis admitted as trial pastor.

Excerpt from The Glens Falls Times April 7, 1923, Page 1

Local Preacher’s License for the Methodist Episcopal Church, signed by the Fremont St. Quarterly Conference of Troy, March 11, 1920. Click for larger view.
The backside of the Preacher’s License indicating the renewals to the license. Click for larger view.

Harold graduated from Wesleyan University in 1925 and was appointed as a minister and pastor to the Jonesville and Grooms Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) churches in New York state.

Church Elder’s Credentials for Harold Griffis, April 10, 1927. Click for larger view.
Diploma of Ministry from the Methodist Episcopal Church. Click for larger view.

Epworth League

Founded in 1889, the Epworth League is a Methodist young adult association for people aged 18 to 35. At its conception, the purpose of the League was “the promotion of intelligent and vital piety among the young people of the Church: to encourage and cultivate Christ-centered character in young adults around the world through community building, missions, and spiritual growth”. [2]

Harold and Evelyn were involved with the Epworth league as early as 1918. As Harold became more involved in the church, he and Evelyn assumed a variety of roles within the league. Typically they both participated in week long sessions in the summer months. Often these weekly sessions were staged at Riverside or Riparius, New York where eventually they purchased a summer cottage in the 1930’s. Eventually Harold became part of the faculty at local league events and was Dean of the Faculty for the Epworth League Institute in Poultry, Vermont in 1929 while he was Pastor at Groom’s church and Jonesville Church.

Photograph below: Harold Griffis (standing fourth from left) was Dean of the Epworth League Institute in Poultney, Vermont, 1929

Harold Griffis – Epworth League, 1929, fourth from the left back row. Hand written notes by Evelyn Griffis, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for enlarged view of photo.
Source: personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.

The following is a pamphlet that provides a schedule of events and faculty at the Troy Conference Epworth League Institute at Round Lake, NY in the late summer of 1928. Harold Griffis was manager of the week long event as well as part of the faculty. Evelyn Griffis was also part of the faculty.

  • 1928 Epworth League 1928 Page 1
  • 1928 Epworth League Page 2

Below is a group photograph of participants at the Epworth League Institute, 1931. Harold and Evelyn are seated fifth and sixth from the left in the second row. The original photograph is 19.5 inches by 9.75 inches (source: personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view).

1925 – 1928: Church of Jonesville and Grooms Church, New York

Harold and Evelyn were married on Harold’s birthday June 29, 1926. After their wedding, they immediately left for his pastoral duties at the The First Methodist Episcopal Church in Jonesville, New York and the Groom’s M.E. Church. [12] Both churches were relatively close to each other. Groom’s church no longer exists. The map below shows the location of the Jonesville church (marked B) and where Groom’s church was located (marked A) in New York state just west of U.S. Route 87.

The parsonage, where Harold and Evelyn lived as newlyweds, was in Jonesville, New York. Below is a photograph of the Jonesville church and the parsonage in the winter of 1926.

Jonesville Church, winter 1926, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Jonesville Church Parsonage in the winter of 1926, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.

While at Jonesville, Harold was Pastor when the church reached its 100th anniversary.

  • Jonesville M.E. Church 100th Anniversary
  • Jonesville M.E. Church 100th Anniversary
  • Jonesville M.E. Church 100th Anniversary

The following are photographs of the Jonesville Church Parsonage where Harold and Evelyn lived while he was pastor for the Groom’s and Jonesville Churches.

Jonesville M.E. Parsonage, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.

The following photographs reflect social activities associated with pastoral and church roles: a clam bake to raise money for the church. Harold Griffis is standing on the right along with his father in law, Squire Dutcher to his left with the straw hat. Seated in this photograph is John Dutcher, Squire’s brother.

Groom’s Church

The church has roots back to 1788, when Groom’s Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in the Vischer Ferry area, though John Wesley had been sending preachers to Halfmoon, NY and Newton, NY since 1783. The original Newton Methodist Church was founded in 1830, West Crescent in 1835, and Crescent Methodist Church in 1852. In 1957, members of these four Methodist churches of the Clifton Park area voted to merge, combining their membership to reach a total of 361 members. [12]

About two miles from the Mohawk River in the south central part of Clifton Park, the church stood beside an old Indian trail which meandered northward from the ford in the Mohawk at Vischer’s Ferry. Situated on a hilltop, this tract of land (including the larger part of Clifton Park) was granted to five men on 17 September 1703 by Queen Anne.

On 1 Jan 1793, Richard Peters purchased two acres of the tract from James Murray and was one of the founders and organizers of the Old Clifton Park Church. Established in 1788 with many of the residents of Vischer Ferry and Grooms Corner as its members, it stood adjacent to the cemetery until February of 1975 when it was destroyed by fire.

The cemetery, known as the Grooms Methodist Church Cemetery as well as the McIntosh Cemetery is in the 1927 photograph below.

Cemetery at Groom’s M.E. Church. Personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Harold and Evelyn Griffis in front of Groom’s Church, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Construction of new addition on Groom’s M.E, Church while Harold was pastor, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Photograph of Grooms Methodist Church in 1926 building a new hall
Construction of a new hall on Groom’s M.E. church, with Evelyn Griffis in car on the right. Source: Evelyn Griffis personal scrapbook. Click for larger view.
Grooms Church – New Hall and Harold and Evelyn’s car, from scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.
Groom’s M.E. Church 1925-1926. Personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Postcard of Groom’s Methodist Episcopal M.E. Church. Personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Grooms Church 1925, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
Grooms Church 1926. Harold Griffis in the middle with hat in hand with parishioners, personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.
School of Theology Round Lake, New York July-19-24, 1926
School of Theology Round Lake, New York July-19-24, 1926, Harold Griffis is in the third row first on the left. Click for larger view. Source: personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis.

The following photographs, from one of Evelyn Griffis’ scrapbooks, provides memories of a short vacation that Harold and Evelyn had at Caroga Lake in 1927.

Harold and Evelyn visiting family in Gloversville July 6, 1929, from scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis, click for larger view.

The following is a photograph of Harold and Evelyn with some of their contemporaries. All are in their late 20’s, starting careers and new families.

From personal scrapbook of Evelyn Griffis. Click for larger view.

Sources

Featured Image at top of story: Click for enlarged full view of photograph. Round Lake Epworth League Institute August 14-22-1926, Harold Griffis is sitting in the front row, fifth person from the left; and Evelyn Dutcher Griffis is standing in the second row, fourth person from the left.

This story is partly based on material from a book originally published on the life of Harold Griffis as a Methodist minister, see James F. Griffis (Ed.), Sermons, Notes and Letters of Harold William Griffis, Self published, Blurb: Oct, 2018

[1] The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was the oldest and largest Methodist denomination in the United States from its founding in 1784 until 1939. It was also the first religious denomination in the US to organize itself on a national basis. In 1939, the MEC reunited with two breakaway Methodist denominations (the Methodist Protestant Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South) to form the Methodist Church

See A timeline of the United Methodist church to gain an understanding on how various factions united and changed the composition of the church since the 1700’s.

[2] Founded in 1889, the Epworth League is a Methodist young adult association for people aged 18 to 35. It had its beginning at Cleveland’s Central Methodist Church on May 15, 1889. Before that year, as many as five young people’s organizations existed in the Methodist Episcopal church, among them the Methodist Alliance, claiming 20,000 members in 1883; the Oxford League, organized at the Methodist Centennial Conference, with a large chapter at Central Methodist Church; and the Young People’s Christian League. The league, which soon spread worldwide, divided its social service into 6 departments: Spiritual Life, Social Work, Literary Work, Correspondence, Mercy and Help, and Finance. Local chapters organized Fresh Air Work (day camps for city children), literary events, lecture series, and fellowship gatherings.  

  • See: Epwoth League, Wikipedia, Page updated 30 March 2021, page accessed 26 April, 2021; Encyclopedia of Cleveland History,
  • Epworth League, Case Western Reserve University, Page accessed 20 Apr, 2021;
  • A Little About Us, Epworth League, Page accessed 20 Apr 2021.

[3] Jurisdictional Conferences are a collection of Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church located inside the United States. The constitution of The United Methodist Church established five jurisdictions within the United States and it specifies which states will be a part of each. Each jurisdiction is responsible for boundaries of annual conferences within those states and electing its own bishops.

See: Jurisdictional conferences (United Methodist Church), Wikipedia, Page updated 26 Jan 2021, page accessed 28 Apr 2021.

[4] See, for example, a newspaper article indicating his role as Assistant Secretary to an annual Troy Conference early in his career, The Glens Falls Times April 12, 1928 Page 11

[5] Brochure: Trinity Methodist Church Memorial Service for Harold William Griffis November 26, 1961:

Harold Griffis Memorial Service Page One
Harold Griffis Memorial Service Page Two
Harold Griffis Memorial Service Page Three
Harold Griffis Memorial Service Page Four

[6] The Glens Falls Times May 6 1955 Page 2.

The Glens Falls times May 06 1955 Page 2

[7] Harold’s various roles in organizations were mentioned in an obituary in The Glens Falls Times, July 01, 1961, Page 5:

[8] F and AM stands for Free and Accepted Masons. For more information on F. & A.M. see AF and AM vs F and AM States, Page accessed 28 Apr 2021.

[9] The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a regular Masonic Lodge, which (in most Regular Masonic jurisdictions) only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in Christianity.

[10] Dates of appointments from the Directory and Pastoral Record , Troy Conference 1957.

See also newspaper article on his appointment as elder, The Lake Placid news., April 22, 1927, Page 3

The following provides an explanation of the difference between Deacons, Elders and Pastors in the Methodist church.

Elders are ordained to a “ministry of word, sacrament, order and service”. They preach and teach God’s word, provide pastoral care, administer sacraments of baptism and communion, and order the life of the church. Deacons are ordained to a “ministry of word, service, compassion and justice”. Like elders they preach and teach and provide pastoral care, but they do not administer sacraments. They are called to a ministry that brings the church into the world — and the world into the church. Susan Keaton, Deacons: Bridging the church and the world, 3 Oct 2016, Page accessed 1 May 2021.

An elder, in many Methodist Churches, is ordained minister that has the responsibilities to preach and teach, preside at the celebration of the sacraments, administer the Church through pastoral guidance, and lead the congregations under their care. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church states that:

Elders are ministers who have completed their formal preparation for the ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Order; have been elected itinerant members in full connection with an Annual Conference; and have been ordained elders in accordance with the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

The Order of Elder and the Order of Deacon differ in function. To borrow from medical terminology, Elders are generalists, while Deacons are specialists. See Order of Deacon and Order of Elder Similarities, Page accessed 1 May 2021.

A pastor is the ordained or licensed person who has been appointed by the bishop to be in charge of a local church or churches. The pastor in this formal sense is the official representative of the Annual Conference and is responsible for serving effectively in the ministry of “Word, Sacrament, and Order” in that appointment. In a less formal sense, pastor is a title synonymous with minister.

[12] History of Jonesville Church, Jonesville United Methodist Church, Page accessed 23 Apr 2021;

See also: Shenendehowa United Methodist Church, Wikipedia, Page accessed 15 May 2021