It’s the oldest standing church in Perinton, but to the members of South Perinton United Methodist Church, it’s much more than that.



This month, the church turned 175. Its recognizable white bell tower and pointed steeple stand tall near the corner of Pannell and Wilkinson Road.

It’s the oldest standing church in Perinton, but to the members of South Perinton United Methodist Church, it’s much more than that.

This month, the church turned 175. Its recognizable white bell tower and pointed steeple stand tall near the corner of Pannell and Wilkinson Road.

The sanctuary was dedicated in 1837 as a gathering place for the first congregation, which consisted of several neighboring farm families.

Years earlier, a Presbyterian farmer named John Wells felt compelled to start holding weekly worship services in a one-room schoolhouse on Wilkinson Road. In 1859 it became linked to its current sister church, Macedon Center United Methodist Church.

Although the days of ice cream socials and horse racing outside the church building are things of the past, it continues to serve as a haven for old and new members today.

“As soon as I walked in, I said, ‘This is for me,’” said Sue Parisi, of Fairport. “It’s a smaller, family church. You get to know the people sitting next to you. It was very welcoming.”

Nancy Quigley, 71, was a teenager when her family first joined the church, which became the backdrop for major life events, like her wedding and the baptism of her children and grandchildren. As she grew older, Quigley admits she considered moving somewhere else.

“I wanted to go to a big church where nobody knew me,” she said with a laugh. “But ... I decided I like my little church. This is my family. I’m just a part of this church, and it’s a part of me.”

She has been the secretary there for more than three decades.

The church is involved in a number of community outreaches including food collection, vacation Bible school, supporting missionaries abroad, potluck dinners, and peer-to-peer ministries.

The building is also used as a meeting place for various community groups, hosting AA meetings, quilting clubs, and more.

With its rich history comes a group of dedicated members who hope to see their church family grow. Dr. David Jones is currently serving as interim pastor at the church until the end of this year while Pastor Laura Calos is on medical leave.

“It’s obvious that they make friends quickly and they’re very welcoming,” he said. “I like that this congregation seems willing to adopt.”