Forest Home Chapel
Sunday, July 25, 2021
United Methodist Church, Ithaca New York

Recent History

The Best Craft Fair


From 1983 until 2001, on the first week of November, Forest Home Chapel held what was deemed “the best craft fair in Ithaca” according to the Best Bets column in the local newspaper. Over 50 craftspeople brought their juried work to be attractively displayed and sold exclusively by Chapel staff, bringing in hundreds of loyal customers every year.

Pottery, dried arrangements, textiles, clocks, glassware, toys, books, potpourri, tree decorations, and even super-sized bears were sold, as well as hot homemade soup and bread lunches served at small cafe tables in the main room. The small book, 25 Best Sellers: Patterns from the Forest Home Chapel Craft Fair, was published as a way of sharing “secret” directions and patterns of the most popular items made by Chapel folk.

The Fair was the Chapel’s sole fundraiser during this time, and pulled all members together for every job from sewing bees ahead of time, to sending checks to craftspeople when it was all done. From small children to the elderly, every member had a job, most people had three, and when asked, no one ever said no!

2004 Homecoming Service

Attending Pastors, left to right: Tom Wolfe, Roger Smith, Robert Johnson, Fred Brooks, Paul Pitkin.


October 24, 2004, a Homecoming Service took place at the Chapel, for a day of remembrance and strength. Five pastors were able to attend. Others, including John W. Annas, Jr. (1970-1976), Rev. Roger J. Smith (1996-1999), and Bob and Jan Hill (1979-1981), sent letters with warm memories.

Click here to download a .pdf summary of the event.

2005 Organ Dedication

The brass dedication plate on the new organ

The Search and Dedication

"Today we dedicate our New Allen C-6 digital organ to the memory of Martha Warren Hertel and Mary Warren Swan. The dedication of this organ has been made possible through the generosity of the people of Forest Home Chapel and the family and friends of these two sisters. Martha and Mary were long time Forest Homers, Quakers, supporters of the Chapel, and lovers of music. It is with great affection and enormous gratitude that we accept these gifts, looking to use this organ both as an integral part of our worship and in service to our wider community for many years to come.

"This dedication is the final step in an intriguing two year journey which included the investigation of two historic reed organs, both offered to us as gifts. One was in a United Methodist Church serving the rural community of Collins, Ohio, and one was in the home of Ithaca musicians, Dick Cogger and Mary Kirkpatrick. The committee considered the possible purchase of a small Moller pipe organ installed in the home of organist David Jackson of Spencer, New York. There was also the tantalizing prospect of the purchase of a very small, portable baroque pipe organ to be built to order in The Netherlands. Our final choice, a purchase from the Robert M. Sides Family Music Centers of Williamsport, PA, was the best fit for all the Chapel’s needs and a fine tribute to our celebration of 90 years on this site in Forest Home. We were helped in our search by the excellent advice of Marilyn Crooker, Cullie Mowers, David Talbot, Richard Strauss, Bill Cowdery, Larry Chase, Daisy Kirkpatrick, Christopher Loy, Carl Sundell, Roger Pellerin, Gerald Wolfe and others." 

William Cowdery

Guest Organist

William Cowdery has taught on the faculties of Ithaca College, Colgate University, and Keuka College as performer, musicologist, and theorist. A frequent soloist, accompanist, and lecturer at Bach festivals in the Northeast, he has been a three-year fellow of the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook. Bill has authored numerous articles in the New Harvard Dictionary of Music and the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1996). Recently he co-edited “The Compleat Mozart” with Neal Zaslaw (Norton).

2008 Pearl Buck Lecture

John and Pearl Buck lived in the Parsonage in the late 1920s, returning to China after completing graduate degrees at Cornell. Author Pearl most famously received the Nobel Prize in literature and John was well known in his own field as a leading expert on the Chinese agricultural economy. The Bucks’ lesser-known time in Ithaca was the subject of a lecture at the Chapel by docent, Valerie Smith of Buck’s home in Green Hills Farm, Perkasie, PA, in November, 2008.

Left: program poster; center: Pearl Buck with child at Welcome House; right: Allison Buck

Download the following documents:

2008 Faith in Books Presentation

March 2, 2008 was a special day for two members of our congregation.

Left: Family Reading Partnership director Mary Milne (center), thanking Gladys White and Art Berkey for their support of the Bright Red Bookshelf Project; right: the certificate.


Faith in Books Weekend is sponsored by the Tompkins County Family Reading Partnership. Each year during this weekend, congregations are asked to bring in gently used children’s books for re-circulation into the community on Bright Red Bookshelves, for families to select and keep.

During the Sunday March 2, 2008 morning worship service at Forest Home Chapel, hymns and readings and Rev. Dr. Fred S. Kelsey’s Sermon “Bible = Biblia (Greek) = Book, Book of Books = More Books…” reflected the importance of words and books, and included a special presentation by Mary Milne of the Family Reading Partnership.

The Chapel has always been a strong supporter of Faith in Books but this support was made possible in large part by the contributions to Gladys White and Art Berkey. Not only did Gladys regularly restock the bright red book crate kept in the Chapel front hall, but also she and Art took these books to the Family Reading Partnership to be sorted, counted and ready for onward distribution in Bright Red Bookshelves throughout the county. Together Gladys and Art contributed over 900 books!

In 2010, Gladys moved to be closer to her family in Syracuse. The Chapel continues the Faith in Books / Family Reading Partnership / Bright Red Bookshelf mission through the efforts of Kaye and Roy Wollney, Debbie Novelli and Susan Spear.

2010 Blueberry Social

Left: Mary Ann Oyer gives FHC neighbor Pete Loucks and overview of blueberry offerings; right: an outdoor crafts table attracted children of all ages.

Our Blueberry Social held in August 2010 featured a delicious selection of desserts, kids activities, and an opportunity for friends from the Forest Home Improvement Association to socialize with members of Forest Home Chapel. Live music, beautiful flowers, and tables under white tents on the lawn lent ambiance to a delightful summer day.

Chapel Members in the News

Rowena Lohman, Cornell Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Cornell Chronicle Online, January 12, 2011: Lohman receives NASA grant

Grant to study subsiding deltas and sea level rise worldwide. Click here to access article., August 24, 2011:
Why quake rang like a bell

An interview about the science behind the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that hit Virginia August 23, 2011. Click here to access article.

John Foote, Cornell Professor of City and Regional Planning

Cornell Chronicle, April 25, 2008: Touchdown bears

In his book, Touchdown: The Story of the Cornell Bear, John Foote tells the story behind the real Cornell Big Red bears. Touchdown Bear IV (circa 1939) was a resident of Forest Home. Click here access article.

Matt Pritchard, Cornell Associate Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Cornell Chronicle Online, November 1, 2007: Matt Pritchard: Cornell earth scientist studies nature's fury
Using satellites hundreds of miles in space, Pritchard can calculate centimeter-scale movements of Earth's surface. Click here to access article.

The Rev. Fred S. Kelsey, Former Forest Home Chapel Pastor

The Elmira Star-Gazette, October 21, 2007: This Pastor donates to lives by the gallon
Rev. Kelsey turns 70 and donates 10 gallons (80 pints) of blood over his lifetime. Click here to download a .jpg of the article.