United Methodist House at Chautauqua, a year-round retreat and renewal center



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  United Methodist House
  Box 115
  Chautauqua, New York 14722
  summer: 716-357-2055
  year-round: 716-357-4045
  or debbiecaruso99@gmail.com

[Toddlers in the UM House chapel, 2015]

More information

The history and growth of the House

[History book]

The book The United Methodist House: The Story of the House and Its People, by Nancy Richards, is now available, priced at $10 (plus $5 postage). Call 716-357-4045 to order.

[House in black and white] The United Methodist House was dedicated in 1888 by the two men who had been the 1874 founders of Chautauqua, Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent and Methodist layman Lewis Miller. (The view at right is thought to date from 1888.) A chapel was added in 1950 and the interior was renovated in 1988 for the centennial anniversary.

As the House marked its 125th anniversary in 2013, a series of events brought out supporters and friends in 18th and 19th century attire, including impersonators of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, and his mother Susanna. There was also much to eat (including the celebratory cake, pictured at right) and much talk about the House's growing programs. Space in the House is also sometimes made available to other Chautauqua groups, such as the Catholic Community, which uses the Chapel for two noon-hour lectures each week during the summer season, and the Men's Club, which has weekly presentations.

The present form of the house dates from 1999, the year the Chautauqua Institution itself marked its 125th birthday. Extensive renovations for that year included construction of four entirely new bedrooms as well as the refurbishing of the existing accommodations across the original front wing. Since then, work has continued to improve the facilities, brighten the exterior and interior, and preserve the House's historic fabric.

A note on administration

[Baird and Hill]The United Methodist House is responsible to the Western Pennsylvania and Upper New York Conferences of the United Methodist Church. The house is governed by a board of trustees representing the two Conferences and the Chautauqua community. Members of the board are elected at an annual meeting of the House, held on the Wednesday of Week 3 of the Chautauqua season. All members of the House are welcome to attend that meeting and take part in setting the directions for the House's work. The qualification for membership is a (tax-deductible) donation to the House at some time during the year. The current president of the board is Brenda Baird (right) of Trinity UMC, Grand Island, New York, who was first elected at the 2014 annual meeting. She is seen with the president of the Chautauqua Institution, Michael Hill.

[Autumn leaves]Volunteers and generous supporters continue the work and vision of our founders. (Pictured at left: volunteer Cindy Shuff in the kitchen during a “work day” preceding the 2013 season.) In the United Methodist tradition, everyone is always welcome and invited to enjoy our United Methodist House and its facilities.

The UM presence at Chautauqua

The United Methodist House is one of four UM establishments on the grounds at Chautauqua. These are the others:

• Hurlbut Memorial Community UM Church, on Pratt Avenue in the heart of Chautauqua, a year-round congregation serving the residents of Chautauqua and the surrounding area. Outside the nine-week summer season, Hurlbut holds its principal weekly worship service Sundays at 10:45 a.m. Telephone 716-357-4045; web www.hurlbutchurch.org.

• The UM Missionary House at 34 South Lake Drive, facing Chautauqua Lake, which provides accommodations during the summer season only. Telephone 716-357-9544.

• Fenton Memorial Deaconess House, on Hawthorn Avenue, offering accommodation for deaconesses and others during the summer season. Telephone 716-357-2013.

[Freestanding sign]

The mission of United Methodist House

In the spirit of the Founders of the Chautauqua Institution and in the spirit of the United Methodist Church . . . the mission of the United Methodist House:

To offer a positive radiant expression of United Methodist Christianity in this place which will provide for

  • spiritual refreshment, quiet renewal, friendship, and fellowship
  • onsite housing for the Host couple, Chaplain,and short term guests
  • services for the Chautauqua community.

This web site

Redesigned, November 2009, by Chris Redmond (credmond@uwaterloo.ca) under the supervision of the Communications Committee of the United Methodist House board. Comments, suggestions and additional material are welcome and will be considered as volunteer time allows. Hosted by godaddy.com.