The Methodist Episcopal Society of Camillus was first organized on February 14, 1811. James Madison was the President of the United States at that time. Camillus Methodist was the third church in the village and the second to erect a building. The original membership reads like the present day street signs in the Town of Camillus – Sherwood, Elderkin, Whedon, Duklin, Clark, LeRoy, and Parsons – the names of the early settlers in what was once a very remote settlement. The Society, like most of the first Methodist Societies in America, met in private homes. The term “Episcopal” was included in the name, because American Methodism originated from a reform movement among the British Anglican (Episcopal) clergy. In 1968, the word United was added to reflect the unification of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren (the latter being Methodist in style and belief but who insisted on retaining the German language in the liturgy).

In the spring of 1831, David Munro, the earliest settler in the Village, and at one time a Judge of the Onondaga County Court, donated the present piece of church property. The present structure (minus the basement) was built in the same year. The ministers serving the Camillus church at that time were circuit riders. Several of them resided in the Camillus area, but served Manlius, Orville, Geddes, Jamesville, and the southern and western areas of the county as well. As a result, Camillus was called a “Methodist Station” because several ministers lived in the village, were supported in part by the Society in Camillus, and served as missionary-circuit riders to whole outposts in the western part of Onondaga County. As Methodist churches were finally established in the above mentioned hamlets, Camillus lost its status as a center of Methodism in the county.

Some eighty-four pastors have served the church since 1811, some of them leaving unique marks on the life of the church and the Camillus community.

In 1952, the wood frame church, still without a basement, was moved forty feet forward and set on steel girders over a basement and foundation already prepared for the building. The basement became the church social hall and Sunday school rooms.


In 2010, we began a new form of ministry, which we called Brown Bag Free Lunch Program. The original intention was to provide free, nutritious lunches during the Summer months to those children who receive free meals during the school year. We soon realized that there were many others who were hungry, and we expanded the program to include anyone who came. The program operates from the first week of school vacation until the week before Labor Day. Since that time, we have given away over 23,000 lunches, and continue to provide for those who struggle with issues of hunger.

We continue to reach outward to others and will continue to do so in the third one hundred years. There is pride in the heritage. A continued look forward rather than backward is how this church will remain a vital presence in the village of Camillus.