Established 1817


Pastor Jean Owens (, 607-273-5682)


Foremost among beliefs firmly held by American Baptists is the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and our Lord, and that through belief in Him we are assured of eternal fellowship with a loving God. For us, the foundation of Christian belief–and the greatest event in all history–is the drama of the first Easter week: the death of Christ, in which He took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and the Resurrection, which offers glorious proof of His teaching and His triumph over sin and death. Holy Scripture always has been for us the most authoritative guide to knowing and serving the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer). As the divinely-inspired word of God, the Bible for us reveals our faith and its mandated practice. Our affirmation of the priesthood of all believers arises from a conviction that all who truly seek God are competent to approach God directly. We cherish the freedom Christ has granted us as individual believers and distinctive congregations. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia and in other writings, emphasizes that freedom. Because of that, we have tended to avoid embracing prepared creeds or other statements that might compromise our obligation to interpret Scripture as individuals within the community of faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Cherishing our own God-given gift of freedom has motivated us to support religious freedom for all to seek God’s will. Although this has allowed for distinctive opinions within our congregations both on aspects of our faith and their application within society, most of us would admit that dialog is a healthy means of spiritual growth. As it encourages its members to seek continually the mind of Christ in all matters, American Baptist Churches USA respects the variety of theological understandings that its members, and other Christians, have embraced. American Baptists partake of two ordinances exemplifying obedience to our Lord’s commands: believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We insist that baptism be administered only to those who have the maturity to understand its profound significance: resurrection to new life in Christ. And we follow the biblical example set by Christ when we fully immerse in water, a beautiful symbolic statement of that new life. The Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, commemorates the sacrifice of our Lord. The bread and cup that symbolize the broken body and shed blood offered by Christ remind us today of God’s great love for us–just as they did for the disciples 2,000 years ago on the eve of the crucifixion We have taken to heart the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19–the call to evangelism: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (NRSV). Since 1814, American Baptist churches and the mission societies they created have been committed to mission: to see the glory of God revealed in all the earth; to see Jesus Christ proclaimed as Savior and Lord to all people and nations; to see churches started and growing; to see the renewal of God’s creation; and to see God’s justice and peace reign in all the world. We take seriously all that Christ did during His brief but momentous years of teaching and nurturing disciples and followers. We accept the ministries Christ modeled as our ministries. In sincere imitation of our Savior’s work, we have attempted to be holistic. Understanding God’s word as revealed in Scripture is of great importance to us, and our churches have emphasized learning and teaching as vital responsibilities. And because Christ ministered to the physical needs of persons and acted as an advocate for those who had been mistreated, we hold that seeking justice is an important component of ministry. We accept the wisdom of the New Testament writer James, who maintained that those who truly have faith in Christ necessarily live out that faith expressing compassion for others for whom He died. We celebrate the special gifts of all believers, testifying that God can use each of us in the overall outreach of ministry. Paul states that “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” all work for “building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12). The affirmation of lay leaders as integral to church vitality and the ordination of women, practiced in our denomination for more than a century, underscore the belief that many have been called by God to serve.

about us

The First Baptist Church of Enfield Center is in the process of undertaking a building project. In 1817, this church congregation formed. Until 1842 the church met in the homes of its members. The church building located at 174 Enfield Main Rd. well served as the house of worship until 2019.

We are once again meeting in member’s homes. As we begin the plans for construction of our new church building we recognize that the needs of the church have changed. The Food Distribution ministry has grown dramatically. In 1990, the pantry was serving around 60 families and distributing over 10,000 pounds of food per month. At that point, the pantry moved into the Enfield Community Building.

Presently, the Food Distribution is serving 45,000 pounds of food to nearly 600 families a week. That is over 1.75 million pounds of food annually.

It is time for both the Food Distribution and the church members to enter a new phase.

A new building is needed.

    The first stage of this process is to identify a new location. We are searching for 3-5 acres of land to accomplish this goal. We are appealing to the Enfield community for this location. The land needs to be able to accommodate a building approximately 40 feet by 140 feet as well as a large parking lot including handicapped parking.  Many of the pantry clients require easy access to the building. Food is taken to the client’s cars by means of a shopping cart that needs a flat surface free of stones and soft ground.

    There is truck traffic due to food deliveries that require a loading dock into the building.

    Once the land is acquired, we will begin the search for funding for the project. Donations from individuals will be very appreciated. All help is appreciated. Governmental and private organizations will be appealed to for the needed funds.

   With God’s blessing the work will be completed. Join us in this continuing adventure of the First Baptist Church of Enfield Center!



Our History

As Enfield was part of the town of Ulysses until March 16, 1821, for a few years the church was called the First Ulysses Church. On April 5, 1817, a meeting of Baptist brethren was held at the home of Judah Baker. Elder John Lewis was chosen moderator and Chester Colburn, clerk. Other meetings were held May 3, 1817 and May 17, 1817. A council met July 2, 1817, at the home of Elder John Lewis. It voted into membership the following people:

Elder John Lewis, Isaac Beach, Chester Colburn, Jonathan Rolfe, John Hanford, Obadiah Baker, Stephen Mead, Israel Mead, Foster Updike, William Boughton, Susannah Lovell, Jerusha Burgess, Poly Hanford, Eliza Colburn, Nancy Updike, Hila Cuykendall, Olly Burgess, Rachael Osburn, Sally Burgess,

Sally Putman, Mary Cuykendall, Ada Sage, Lucinda Lewis, Betsy Beach, Anna Boughton, Sarah Lyon. The church held its first covenant meeting July 5, 1817, and voted to adopt the 12th Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans as its church covenant. Chester Colburn was elected clerk and John Lewis was invited to become the first Pastor.

It was voted that if any member failed to attend the covenant he should be dealt with as a transgressor. A meeting was held August 6, 1817, at the home of Jonathan Rolfe, when Isaac Beach and Chester Colburn were elected Deacons.

The church united with the Cayuga Association in 1817. It united with the Seneca Association in 1824. The name of the church was changed May 5, 1830, to the First Baptist Church of Enfield.

In 1842 a comfortable house of worship was completed in Enfield Center at a cost of $1 , 300.00. The first church bell in the town of Enfield was hung in the belfry in April 1870. The parsonage was built in 1877 at an expense of about $1,500.00. In 1881, the church was moved across the road and rebuilt where it now stands.

At a covenant meeting held on April 9, 1887, the Reverend L.M. Gates was invited to become Pastor. The salary was to be $35.00 per month, the use of the parsonage, a sociable for his benefit, and all the butter he needed for his family use.

At the regular covenant meeting on January Il, 1902, there were just Il present. "The meeting was one of unusual interest and spirituality, and throughout there was a strong feeling of unity, although there were but eleven present." After the covenant meeting there was held the annual business meeting. Deacon Whipple was elected chairman and Edgar Brewer clerk. The treasurer reported taking in $ 13.55 from a special entertainment (moving pictures). Later in the meeting, "After due deliberation it was unanimously voted for the clerk to inform Brother Woodbury that it was the opinion and the vote of the church that the present Pastorate cease at the close of the year May 20, 1902, and that this action was taken not from any unfriendliness of the church toward him but for the good of the cause. And that the action was taken thus early so as to give him ample time to secure another field of labor."

During the monthly covenant meeting held August 8, 1914, the Ladies Missionary Society was organized. In 1917, the church entertained the Seneca Baptist Association to commemorate its one hundredth anniversary. At the first annual meeting, January 17, 1917, the following were elected to office:

Trustees - Leon Tucker, Dana Tubbs, Frank Stevenson

Treasurer - Frank Stevenson; Clerk - Charles F. Smith

Organist - Mrs. Fred D. Rumsey; Chorister - Merill Curry

Deacons - E.C. Curry, Leon Tucker, Harvey Stevenson

Deaconesses - Mrs. Charles F. Smith, Mrs. Fred D. Rumsey

A significant measure that was adopted at this meeting was that of an associate membership of the church. The church voted to accept a member from another denomination into associate membership. There were 59 members of the church in 1917.

In 1927, when Reverend Dutton S. Peterson was Pastor at Enfield, the Enfield Baptist and Methodist churches began holding joint services, meeting six months of the year in each church. These united services were held until 1960. Since then separate services have been held, each church having its own


In 1928, during July and August, we cooperated with some neighboring churches in putting on a series of vesper meetings at the Enfield Falls State Park(Robert H. Treman State Park). The attendance averaged over 100 per Sunday. The first Sunday, after the close of the services, the attendance both Methodist and Baptist was over 100.

In 1942, the sheds for protection of horses and carriages, which stood across the road and also north of the church, were removed. This was the church's 125 th anniversary. The officers were as follows: Clerk - Pearl Rolfe; Treasurer - Harvey Stevenson; Financial Secretary - Thomas Brown; Missionary Treasurer - Irene Brown; Trustees - Frank Stevenson, A.G. Boberg, Walter Griffen, John Hansen, S.H.

Stevenson; Deacons - Ward Spencer, Frank Stevenson; Deaconesses - Cora Rumsey, Susie Hansen Finance Committee - Mazzare Spencer, Harvey Stevenson, Gladys Carpenter, Roger Brown, Tom Brown, Warena Ramsey; The Reverend Crippen was Pastor.

The parsonage was sold in 1947 for $4,000.00 The total net profit from the sale after expenses were taken out was $3,762.94.

In 1954, some of the money from the sale of the parsonage was used to modernize the church. A new ceiling, hardwood floor, electricity and oil furnace improved the appearance and made the church more comfortable.

On October 2, 1960, the Enfield Methodist Church sent a letter to the Baptist Church announcing that they were once again becoming independent. The letter was signed by Frances Knapp, Harold Laue, and Jake Smithers, a committee elected by the Methodist congregation.

On October 16, 1960, the Baptists called their first meeting since the breakup. It was decided that Mrs. Michener would see to the purchase of 25 hymnals and that she and Mrs. Lovelace would launch the Sunday School. It was decided that, although the church worship and Sunday School were going on their own, the young people should feel free to attend a joint youth group with the Methodists and they should alternate churches. The youth counselors were Mr. and Mrs. Krayniak from the Baptist Church and Mr. and Mrs. Knapp from the Methodist Church. The meeting was closed with Pearl Rolfe reading a prayer and all joining in with the Lord's Prayer.

In 1967 the church celebrated its 150th anniversary, the sesqui-centennial. The church Service was led by the Reverend Eddie Husted. He served as Pastor from 1966-1971 and again in 1972-1973.

The celebration was well attended with a full church of members and friends. During the service, those with special memories of the church shared them. After the service a dish-to-share was enjoyed at the nearby Grange Hall. Everyone interested came dressed in 1817 costume.

At the quarterly business meeting of July 12, 1970, Gilbert Lee reported that the bulletin board in the church yard had once again had the glass knocked out of it. He said he'd heard that Corning Glass was now making a clear glass that unbreakable. Reverend Husted said he would check into it.

In 1972 the church pews were dipped and stripped at a business owned by John Jackson located next to the church. For several weeks afterward the congregation held worship services at Sarah Jane Michener's home while the pews were painted and varnished by church members at the church building.

A special congregational meeting held June 10, 1973, proposed that the James "Chip" Willis memorial funds be used to renovate the upstairs of the church, creating two rooms, as well as making the upstairs safer (the flooring was in danger of coming down under too much weight). The work was done and two Sunday School classes could use the upstairs at the same time.

At the July 31, 1977 meeting, it was decided to put up a sign on the church itself out of funds from the Irene Brown memorial fund instead of repairing the bulletin board way-sign yet again.

In 1985, the emergency food distribution held at the church had grown to the point of serving 80 families regularly. Pastor Cynthia Ikuta moved here from Ithaca home to one on Bostwick Road. Many church members furnished trucks and labor to help her move. We all shared in a dish-to-pass on their new front lawn after the move was complete.

The food distribution moved out of the church to the nearby Enfield Community Building (the former Firehouse) in 1990 when the number of families being served rose to the level that 10,000 lbs of food was distributed to nearly 60 people per month.

 In 2019, the church ceased to meet and worship in the church building located at 174 Enfield Main Rd. due to its deteriorating structure. At present, we have returned to the original practice in 1817 of meeting in our homes. A plan is developing to build a new church building.


The Enfield Food Pantry

September 11th, 2020



We are broadening our focus. We continue to be an emergency food source but we are moving from a charity model to one of empowerment and food security. Our vision includes nutrition education to build healthy bodies. Provision of a space, gardening skills and tools for community gardens. A kitchen to teach food preparation and provision of hot meals. Meeting people where they are at.

We strive to avoid the signs, symbols, and procedures that contribute to the stigma often experienced by people attending food programs in charitable organizations, and to positively communicate our respect for all participants through respectful procedures. We invite community involvement. We believe that people are healthiest and happiest when they are making their own choices, meeting their own needs, and contributing to their communities.  

We have established an Expansion Fund in order to plan and build a facility to achieve this mission.


STARTING JUNE 2 WE WILL NO LONGER PROVIDE HOME DELIVERY except for clients with a specific medical need. If this applies to you, please call Jean Owens at 607-273-5682 to make arrangements.


WHAT IF I HAVE NO TRANSPORTATION?  If you have no vehicle and are unable to get a ride to the pantry, contact Gadabout no later then Wednesday at 607-273-1878

 PANTRY HOURS: Sundays 11:00-1:00 and Mondays 11:00-1:00

LOCATION: Enfield Community Building, 182 Enfield Main Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

WHO WE SERVE: Primarily residents of the Town of Enfield. But at this time we are waiving any residency requirement and are serving anyone who needs food, to the best of our ability.


  • Drive up the Fire Department entrance and park in line.
  • When the parking attendant directs you forward, park your car.
  • When the attendant directs you to do so, leave your vehicle and walk to the pantry entrance.
  • When you arrive at the pantry you get a shopping cart, enter the building and be checked in.
  • You will move through one marked floor block at a time and will only move onto the next floor block when the client in front of you has vacated that block.
  • We are asking you to please move quickly through the pantry as you make your selections to ensure that all clients get an opportunity to pick up food. 

Recent Sermon Postings


American Baptist Churches of New York State
American Baptist Churches USA
Food Bank of the Southern Tier
International Ministries White Cross
Tompkins County Food Distribution Network