Our History & Home
Through the years, God has been faithful to his church, and has blessed us in countless ways. Today we are a thriving family of approximately 120 adults (about 90 are members) and 20 children and teens, who come from a rich variety of spiritual traditions and educational and social backgrounds.
The First Presbyterian Church of Ballston Spa was formed on June 8, 1834, by 66 members of the Ballston Center and Milton Center Churches. In 1835, the Rev. Samuel Irenaeus Prime was ordained and installed as our first minister; that same year our current building was erected.
Membership peaked at about 500 members in the late 1930s, but by the mid-1970s it had dropped to less than half that number. Financial support also declined dramatically; in the 1980s the church began to rely increasingly on the endowment fund to pay routine expenses, a practice that persisted until 2000. By 1997 membership and commitment reached an all-time low. Attendance at worship declined to as few as 18 people on Sunday mornings and the Albany Presbytery assumed oversight of the church. There was talk of closing our doors.
But God was not finished with us.
In 1998, the Rev. Linda Ruby began her tenure with us, first as a one-quarter-time stated supply pastor, then half-time, and finally, in 2002, as our full-time pastor. As our faith and commitment grew, membership increased steadily and our financial health improved. The church's annual income began to be met by those active in the church.
In the year 2000, the leadership decided to give 10 percent of all income (exclusive of rents and designated gifts) to ministries beyond our doors. This decision was a turning point for the church; since that date use of the endowment has stopped completely.
In 2003, we called the Rev. David Bennett to our pulpit. During his 13-year pastorate, membership, financial support, lay leadership, mission participation, prayer ministry, and educational programs grew. We are currently seeking an Interim Pastor to lead us in ministry. There is a sense of great anticipation as we take part in God's unfolding plan for us.
Though our Church Covenant was written in 1834, it is just as relevant today as it was for our founding members.
Our Church Home
Although two Ballston Spa congregations predate us, our 1835 structure is the oldest church building standing today in the Village.
Approximately 20 feet were added to the eastern end of the original structure (where the organ and choir loft are now located) in 1857. The spire was also built at that time and houses what is reputed to be the second oldest Meneely Bell (dated 1834) in the country.
In 1886, a stained glass window, "The Resurrection," created by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Company, was placed behind the pulpit in memory of Rev. Prime by his widow.
Our sanctuary is fitted with a pipe organ, a piano, and an excellent sound system; it seats about 200 people. The building includes a large fellowship hall, a church office, the pastor's office, a parlor, a large kitchen, nursery facilities, and several classrooms.
A successful capital fund drive in 2005 enabled us to perform vitally important restoration to our building's exterior (including extensive work on the steeple, painting, installing new entrance steps and landscaping, and replacing entry doors).