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Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday Morning and Sunday Afternoon:
Two Successful Events at Silver Lake Institute: ‘Christmas in July’ and Epworth Hall Open House

‘Christmas in July’ this morning (Sunday) was hosted by the SLI Spiritual Life Committee and was held lakeside at the SLI Blue Dock.

Christmas carols were sung and  those attending brought gifts which are destined to benefit local children by way of Angel Action. The number of gifts brought to Sunday's Christmas Table was said to be larger than anticipated which means even more children will benefit. 

Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Experience, Kathy Schaefer, was the guest speaker for the event and effectively and inspirationally blended two different teachings of Jesus in her exhortation. Her talk was well appreciated.  

* * *
Beginning at 2:00 this afternoon (Sunday), Epworth Hall flung open its doors to the public for an Open House which ran through 4:00 p.m.

Sharon Pratt, Chair of the SLI Epworth Committee hosted the event and was available the entire time to welcome visitors, introduce members of the WNY Historical Society, and answer visitors' questions. She was also responsible for planning light refreshments and cool drinks, assisted by other Epworth Committee members. She was present in period dress and was simply a marvelous host. Many Epworth photos were made available for viewing. 

Roger Covell was an invited guest and brought a computer-generated pictorial presentation, which he narrated by heart, of the story of the major overhaul of Epworth Hall after the Epworth property was returned to the Silver Lake Institute. 

(In a 1959 agreement, the Methodist Church agreed to take on the ownership responsibilities, along with its regular use of Epworth because of a shortage of buildings on the then-Asbury Camp grounds. Upon Epworth's return to SLI ownership, it was discovered that no maintenance, upkeep, or improvements had been done, but rather important supporting beams and the foundation had been badly damaged by near-constant water saturation. It was in amazingly rough shape.) 

A vital part of the story is the raising of $140,000 which was worth considerably more then than now and would windup accomplishing the many long, overdue and urgent repairs which basically saved the building for the Institute. The work accomplished, under the watchful eye of the Reverend Covell and his hand picked construction managers, enabled Epworth Hall to continue on to the present day. 

Roger set the standard--keep up the maintenance and repair through ongoing improvements, not letting it get behind. Roger was also the donor of the light wood piano used during the Open House and previously in a fund raising project for a new roof. A representative from the WNY Historical Society stood to speak of his being impressed with all that has been done for this fine historical specimen which continues to serve the Silver Lake Institute and all of Wyoming County all the way from 1892.

Musicians providing entertainment during the Open House included the F.Schuknecht-G.Franklin duet on the Covell piano and Epworth keyboard. They played for the first third of the Open House. The last third of the Open House was played and sung by SLI Trustee Tom Kraft. (Franklin and Kraft are retired United Methodist Ministers.) The second third of the Open House was the presentation by Covell. The attendance was said to be excellent and pleased all who attended and included Chairperson Pratt.

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