The years of 1979-1980 were challenging for our Church.
In 1979, there were many positive happenings: namely, success of the Partners for Christ campaign for mission and capital improvements, “best ever” Ecumenical Vacation Church school, great success of the UPW Thanksgiving Bazaar, becoming partners with our brothers and sisters in the Hunt’s Point Presbyterian Church in the South Bronx, 36 new members, Mark Shepard as our Senior High Youth Director and the membership looking forward to our 250th anniversary year in 1980. On March 19, 1980 we were honored to have the Moderator of the 191st General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States visit our church and address us.
However, the Church was also facing especially difficult times. In the Pastor’s report from our annual meeting in January, 1979 – “All is not well in Zion, at least the Yorktown Zion. All is not well in the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown.” There was evidence from the Pastor’s report that there was continuing internal unrest. The Session, because of reduced pledge commitments, sought to find ways to pull our congregation together and become a church that would more effectively minister to our members.
Unfortunately, several difficulties with the then pastor, William Kenney, were emerging. On June 5, 1980, our members received a letter from the Session stating that it was their recommendation that the improvement of the health and welfare of our entire church family would best be served by the dissolution of the pastoral relationship between Mr. Kenney and the church, effective 12/31/1980. On 6/19/1980, the members voted by large majority to dissolve the pastoral relationship, effective 12/31/1980. It was a sad and challenging time for our church. However, strengthened by its ability to face and to resolve serious problems within the church, our congregation, in the end, became stronger and even more united.
Dick Hunter, Church Historian