This early photograph of the Church of the Regeneration cannot now be dated with precision, but it certainly was taken some time after 1861, when the fence in the foreground was erected, and before 1879 when Theron Wilber, who has been identified as the individual standing with his hand on one of the fence posts, died. Since the young trees about the church seem well developed, it is probable that the photo was taken in the late 1860s or early 1870s. Note that the main entrance to the church then faced the west instead of the south, as at present, and that the belfry is vacant. It was this old photograph, owned by Mrs. E. Matthew Netter, from which the cover illustration derives.

This early photograph of the Church of the Regeneration cannot now be dated with precision, but it certainly was taken some time after 1861, when the fence in the foreground was erected, and before 1879 when Theron Wilber, who has been identified as the individual standing with his hand on one of the fence posts, died. Since the young trees about the church seem well developed, it is probable that the photo was taken in the late 1860s or early 1870s. Note that the main entrance to the church then faced the west instead of the south, as at present, and that the belfry is vacant. It was this old photograph, owned by Mrs. E. Matthew Netter, from which the cover illustration derives.

 

REGENERATION HISTORY

Around 1817, the Union Meeting House hosted the first Episcopal Church services in Pine Plains. The Union Meeting House of the rural village of Pine Plains stood on the north side of what is now Church Street.  This building was on the site of the present Presbyterian Church.

John and Grace Duxbury in front of the Church of Regeneration

John and Grace Duxbury in front of the Church of Regeneration

In 1857, villagers expressed an interest in establishing an Episcopal Church in Pine Plains and the Rev. Frederick Sill, who was assistant rector at Christ Church in Red Hook, began conducting regular services at the Union Meeting House.

A year after the incorporation of the parish in 1859, the parish built the present church building for Church of the Regeneration (Regeneration).   The church’s name, unique within the Episcopal Diocese of New York, may have been taken from the services of Baptism in the 1789 version of the Book of Common Prayer.  This version of the Book of Common Prayer, in use when the parish was founded, has several references to “regeneration”. The Articles of Religion established in 1801 read in part as follows:  “Baptism … is also a sign of Regeneration or New Birth”.

The Right Rev. Horatio Potter, Bishop of New York, consecrated the church in 1864.   Interim clergy conducted services until the first rector began his duties in 1887. The parish added the chancel to the church edifice in 1888 and built a rectory next to the church in 1892.

On December 24, 1905, fire badly damaged the church.  The fire began in the floor around the heater. The Pine Plains Hose Company and the newly established village water system saved the building. When the village of Pine Plains received electric power in 1921, the church and rectory were among the first buildings to be wired.

The first annual meeting of Regeneration at which women voted took place in 1937.  In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Regeneration celebrated its first midnight Holy Communion on Christmas Eve, began using colored vestments for clergy and had a vested choir.  On May 28, 1959 a special meeting of the parish was held to permit women to serve as wardens and vestry members. Regeneration was among the earliest parishes in the Diocese to elect women to its vestry.

In the mid 1960’s the four churches in Pine Plains began to cooperate in supporting the Vacation Bible School (VBS) conducted by the Methodist Church.  In the early 1980’s the cooperation among the four churches in Pine Plains Churches grew into the Pine Plains Council of Churches. That organization remains strong today, supporting VBS as well as a food pantry and ecumenical services.

In 1988, Regeneration celebrated the 125th anniversary of its consecration.

Joan Manferdelli's Family

Joan Manferdelli's Family

On February 10, 2002 Regeneration dedicated its church banner to the late Joan Manferdelli for her service to the church as a vestry member and warden from 1992-2000.  The banner, made by the parishioners, depicts a baptismal font to symbolize regeneration. In 2004, 2006, and 2008 members of the parish took mission trips to India. In the 2004 journey sponsored by the Diocese of New York, Johanna Shafer and Penelope Wheeler represented Regeneration in the Chennai diocese of southern India.  The congregation of Regeneration has sponsored pre-schools in the Chennai diocese and assisted young women through teachers’ training college.

The Chennai Colony Preschool children are sitting in the chairs in India.

The Chennai Colony Preschool children are sitting in the chairs in India.

In the past decade, Regeneration has committed to new community outreach initiatives. Regeneration established a scholarship program awarding a modest scholarship to a graduating senior at Stissing Mountain High School.  The church’s thrift shop, cleverly named “Regenerated”, opened. Re-purposing of an existing garage and construction of the thrift ship was financed entirely by donations from parish members and friends. Also, ESL classes began in Regeneration’s parish house. All of these outreach efforts continue to the present day.

On November 8, 2009 the Right Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York visited as celebrant and preacher for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the parish.

Several priests have served Regeneration for relatively long periods of time:  the Rev. George Langdon 1914-1942, the Rev. Theodore Kanellakis 1989-1998, the Rev. Michael Shafer 2000-2013.  Rev. Fred Cartier has served as Regeneration’s interim pastor since 2013.

Today Regeneration is a small parish with a loyal and enthusiastic congregation that has been called to build friendships and to care for each other and for those in the global community.