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The Times
  • Emmanuel Episcopal marks 190th anniversary

  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church is celebrating its 190th anniversary this weekend with a free baked ziti dinner Saturday and a special Mass of Thanksgiving Sunday morning.

    Saturday’s dinner is free and open to the community. It will run from 5 to 7 p.m. or until the food runs out, and will take place in the church’s Parish Hall, 594 E. Albany St., Little Falls.

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  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church is celebrating its 190th anniversary this weekend with a free baked ziti dinner Saturday and a special Mass of Thanksgiving Sunday morning.
    Saturday’s dinner is free and open to the community. It will run from 5 to 7 p.m. or until the food runs out, and will take place in the church’s Parish Hall, 594 E. Albany St., Little Falls.
    The menu for the eat-in only dinner will include baked ziti, salad, rolls and butter, dessert and beverage. The parish Music Ministry will offer special music during the dinner.
    The parish will conclude its 190th anniversary weekend at the 10 a.m. service Sunday with a special Mass of Thanksgiving. Father Steve Scarcia, rector, will present a special anniversary homily. Members of the Emmanuel Choir, under the direction of choir director Jane Malin and organist Ann Kocuba, will present special inspirational music for the Mass.
    A history of the church, prepared by Father Scarcia, notes the early Episcopalians in Little Falls, along with other “denominational families,” met at the Octagon Church.
    “As with other Christian groups, in the early 1800s a band of Episcopalians gathered to worship the Lord each Sunday at the old Octagon Church,” according to Father Scarcia. “Eventually they became a ‘mission church’ under the auspices of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fairfield, and their priest. This fledgling congregation then petitioned the Episcopal Diocese of New York to be admitted as an Episcopal congregation.”
    On Feb. 21, 1823, Emmanuel Episcopal Church was formally recognized and incorporated by the state of New York.
    The small mission parish continued to worship in the Octagon Church while saving money to construct their own building. In addition to donations from “subscribed parishioners,” Scarcia said, the congregation received a gift of $1,500 from Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, New York City.
    Property was acquired at the corner of Albany and William streets in Little Falls and, in 1833, ground was broken to build what would be known as Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Construction took two years and it was on Oct. 4, 1835, that Emmanuel Episcopal Church was consecrated and dedicated by the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New York, Bishop Onderdonk; the Diocese of Albany had not yet been created.
    The Rev. Phineas L. Whipple, former rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fairfield, was the first priest at Emmanuel. The church had 17 rectors from 1835 until the Rev. Father Charles R. Rasay arrived in 1897 and served here until 1929.
    “There are even a few in the parish today who remember Father Rasay,” according to Scarcia.
    Improvements included an enlarged Chancel, a new hand-carved stone high altar, which was brought in on the Erie Canal, and the “Feeter Epiphany Window” installed over the high altar.
    Father Percy Paris served the parish during the Depression years. “The church gave social and spiritual support to many in the community and also those who returned to Little Falls because of unemployment and the economy,” according to Scarcia. He said the “Little Chapel” attached to the church was used to serve those in need and served as a social hall for the parish and community.
    Page 2 of 2 - Father Paris left to become the dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Algoma, Canada, and was succeeded by Father Frank Titus. Under Father Titus, the present parish hall, located east of the church, was built in 1937. Father Titus left in 1939 to become an Episcopal chaplain in the U.S. Army and was succeeded by Father Howard Kennedy. After he left to become the Dean of the Cathedral of All Saints of the Diocese of Albany, Father Percy Paris returned to serve as Emmanuel’s rector once again. He died after a short time.
    Father Gale Miller was the next rector and he served until 1956, when Father Arthur Logan Bice became rector. During Father Bice’s tenure, which lasted until 1977, a number of changes were made to the church including renovation of the high altar area.
    The current rector, Father Steven A. Scarcia, was called in 1977. One of his first duties was to ask the wardens and Vestry to appoint Father Bice as “Rector Emeritus” in recognition of his 21 years of service.
    Since then the church has added several forms of outreach ministry, including the Emmanuel Church Thrift Shop, founded by the late Alice Neely, of Dolgeville, and Father Scarcia. Other outreach ministries include the Helping Hands Sewing Ministry, food for the local food pantry, ministry of the women of Emmanuel parish and a healing ministry.
    These ministries are in addition to parish education including church school, adult studies, Bible studies, Enquirers classes and Alpha. Parishioners also serve occasional dinners.
    “Emmanuel Parish, by its foundation, tries to be a ‘Beacon of Light’ through our faith in Jesus Christ and our various ministries, by being Christ’s hands, heart, feet and love in a world in need of his message of Salvation,” said Scarcia.
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