DEWITT COMMUNITY CHURCH
DeWitt, NY
John Young, a Revolutionary War Veteran, founded the present community of DeWitt in the early 1800's.  He built his log house on a small bluff above Butternut Creek, just east and south of the present inter-section of Erie Blvd. and E. Genesee St.  The church was organized in 1811 and the first structure was erected on land donated by Young.  Although originally sponsored by the Methodist Church, DeWitt Community Church has, for many years, been a true "community" church with an inter-denominational membership.

The present church across from Shoppingtown Mall on Erie Blvd., was dedicated in the fall of 1955, but many of us recall worshipping in the earlier chapel that once stood just south of the current facility. This structure was built in 1887 and moved to the corner of Landsdowne and Thompson Roads in 1927. By 1955, the old church was so crowded that four worship services were necessary each Sunday morning.

Part of this congregational growth was due to geographic factors--DeWitt was, of course, in the path of Syracuse's eastern growth and development--but most of it was the result of the dynamic ministry of the Rev. Alexander C. Carmichel.  At the time of his call to the church in 1937 there were only about 30 members but when the present church was dedicated in 1955 there were nearly 2000 members.  A November 12, 1961, article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, prepared on the occasion of the church's 150th anniversary, referred to him as  being, "in every sense the beloved shepherd vitally concerned with the well-being of each member of his flock."  Although Rev. Carmichel lost his beloved wife, Betty, several years ago he enjoys a fairly active retirement and still resides nearby.

As a youngster growing up in this community during the 1950's, I have many fond memories of Alex.  (He always insisted that "Reverend Carmichel" was a bit too much for a kid to pronounce, and as I was only six when I first attended his church, I, like most others, have always known him simply as "Alex.")  His sermons were always spell-binding--and I ought to know because as an altar boy I would hear the same one at up to four services each Sunday.  He had the wonderful gift of being able to speak to his parishioners in terms that anyone might understand and to bring moral insights to bear on everyday problems.  He augmented his classic oratorical skills with a dry sense of humor and combined prose and poetry in such a way that his sermons took on an almost lyrical style.  Anyone who has had the privilege of hearing Alex speak will know exactly the qualities I am trying to describe.

DeWitt, like most suburban communities, has a highly transient population and like many former members of the church, I eventually moved from the area.  But I think often of the great influence that Alex and this church exerted on me and many others of my generation.  And it is the hope that there are yet others who recall those happy times that has prompted the creation of this web site.

My wife, (the former Jean King of Syracuse), and I were married in the Church in 1961, and I will list below some members of the congregation that we can recall from that era.  If anyone reading this has information about any of them, we hope you will share it with us.
                                                                                                       Edward Hutchison
                                                                                                           Madison, MS
                                                                                                      


Virginia Staib
Lynn Ann Diffenderfer
Rev. Gordon Anderson
Eula Tunnicliffe
Donald Megnin
Donald Comstock
Dave Walker
Wally Schoonmaker
Ina Bardwell
Helen Theisenhauer
Harold Guild
Marty Buckbee
Tommy Tomb
Helen Jorden
Arlene Harrigar
Edward Reeves
Carol Cox
Sarah Peacher
Dean Harris
Mary Allen
Hiram Evans
David Cerone
Chuck Case
Don Anderson
Howard Henry
David Burtis
Marilyn Vail
Lynn Swanson
Ron Haskins
Robert Keller
Kitty Kerr
Walter Snow
Rosalie Raps
Mary Beth Williams
Tom Shannon

Click here to visit the Home Page of Ed and Jean Hutchison
Click here to see photographs of Church members, circa 1960
This page was last updated on: February 23, 2012
Click here to send email to Edward Hutchison
The music playing in the background is an old piano favorite of mine, "He Lifted Me"

In loving kindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace, He lifted me.

REFRAIN:

From sinking sand He lifted me
With tender hands He lifted me
From shades of night to plains of light
O praise His name, He lifted me!
 
Click here to listen to similar gospel music
Click here to see an interior photograph of the Church
Click here to see a 1956 photo of Youth Fellowship members
UPDATE!  Sad news:  Click here to read of Alex's death in October, 2005
Click above to see a video tour of the Church