Friday, June 12, 2009
Maspeth Methodist Episcopal Church 1907-2009
From HISTORY OF QUEENS COUNTY with illustrations, Portraits & Sketches of Prominent Families and Individuals., New York: W.W. Munsell & Co.; 1882:
Methodist Episcopal Church - In 1854 a Methodist Episcopal society was organized at Maspeth and a church built, which was burned in 1868. Shortly afterward a new church was built here on land given by Baldwin Pettit. The first pastor in the old church was Rev. Mr. Pratt, who was succeeded by John H. Stansbury. When the new church was built Rev. J.M. Hall was pastor. Since that time the church has been served by the following preachers: Joseph R. Hammond, Benjamin Powell, Abraham Belmont, William Twiddy, Joseph Patterson, Isaac S. Brundage. A Sunday-school was organized in 1854. Joseph H. Way was superintendent from 1869 until 1875. Since then Gus. Haflinger has had charge of the school.
From the Times Ledger:
Haflinger helped fund the centerpiece stained glass window in memory of his 14−year−old son, Harrison, who died in 1903.
The window was very special for the Haflinger family because it depicted the Biblical passage in which a 12−year−old Jesus met with rabbis in the Jewish temple, according to [Church Board Member Patricia] Furrell.
“He donated the window to show his love for his son, who was that age when he died,” she explained.
The window brought inspiration to the congregation every Sunday, according to lifelong congregant Stephen G. Shklanko, who was married in the church and had his two sons baptized there.
“When the sun hit it every morning, it would light up the stained glass window. It was beautiful,” the 49−year−old said.
On a personal note, I grew up near this church and although I never attended services or programs there, I passed it frequently. The way it is depicted above is the way I will always remember it - a modest white clapboard church against a blue sky with a big, beautiful green lollipop tree in front. It fit perfectly into the streetscape here, which includes Gustav Haflinger's yellow house at the corner and the Cemetery Caretaker's pink cottage across the street. The horrible weather the day of the fire seemed appropriate as well. This tragedy has definitely left a big hole in the heart of Maspeth.
Here's the pastor talking about the fire:
Photos and video by Christina Wilkinson