Our Story

New to First

In 1915, a group of people, who were excited about what God was doing in their lives and wanted to share it with others, started meeting in an old lodge located on the corner of East Seneca and Aurora Streets.

In 1923, that small group decided to organize and they started a church and named it Calvary Full Gospel. They rented a small building which eventually was torn down to make way for The Royal Court Restaurant.

On Sunday January 11, 1953, eleven members of Calvary Full Gospel church voted to purchase an old orphanage located at 520 West Seneca Street to renovate and use as their church facility. In order to come up with the down payment for the building, they borrowed more than six thousand dollars from members of the congregation just to be eligible for a bank loan. Hand written accounts give us a glimpse into the struggles they undertook to make the vision become a reality. It is that pioneering spirit and faith that has permeated the culture of who we are today.

In 1973, Calvary Full Gospel was officially incorporated and the name was changed to First Assembly of God.

On October 11, 1998, more than 85 years after holding their first Bible Study on the corner of East Seneca and Aurora Streets, and 45 years since taking the first step of faith and purchasing the orphanage, the membership of First Assembly once again heard the call from God to step out in faith and voted unanimously to build a new ministry facility on Bostwick Road.

On February 28, 1999, First Assembly sold the building on 520 West Seneca Street. The congregation moved into the new facility at 197 Bostwick Road in February of 2000, and the facility was dedicated to the Lord on April 2, 2000.

The following list represents to the best of our knowledge, those who have faithfully served as Pastor through the years:

1923 – 1928 Rev. A.C. Ayers

1932 – 1940 Rev. A.C. Ayers

1940 – 1944 Rev. J. Boyd Wolverton

1944 – 1944 Rev. Buckwalter

1944 – 1946 Rev. Rae Brothers

1946 – 1948 Rev. Grover Risner

1948 – 1951 Rev. Roy Nylin

1951 – 1952 Rev. Ivor Hugh

1952 – 1957 Rev. Peter Kozak

1957 – 1961 Rev. Lewis Riling

1961 – 1963 Rev. C. W. Marshall

1963 – 1969 Rev. Dean L. Harrison

1969 – 1969 Rev. Glenn Gabbard

1969 – 1973 Rev. Donald Minor

1973 – 1978 Rev. Richard Thomas

1978 – 1984 Rev. William Foster

1984 – 1986 Rev. William Poole

1987 – 1996 Rev. Barry Shepps

1996 – Today Rev. John Sotero

While this listing may provide the historical facts, it can in no way capture the heart and spirit of the many who have invested their time, efforts, prayers and finances into making this vision become a reality—for the strength of First Assembly has always been in its people. So the journey of faith continues until the Lord calls us home, and may all who come behind us find us faithful!

New to First

We're So Glad YOU'RE Here! We are excited to welcome you to Ithaca First! Below are the details that we hope will make your experience a great one!  Our heart is to make your visit to our church one that will be a special experience for you.  We can't wait to meet...

Our Mission

These core values set the foundation at Ithaca First Assembly: We value intimacy with God through worship. Worship is an expression of the believer’s love for God (Isaiah 43:10-11; Psalm 92:1, 4-5; 1 John 4:9-10). We value the authority of the Word of God. We believe...

Our Beliefs

Two years after the church’s founding, the pioneers of the Assemblies of God adopted 16 beliefs for the Fellowship, which remains virtually unchanged. Four of these beliefs are considered the core beliefs of the Fellowship. You may hear them referred to as our...

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