Our History

History of New Life Christian Church

New Life Christian Church has a long and colorful history spanning over 170 years. The original landmark building in Depauville, NY was built in 1834-35 on land donated to the town by land baron Francis Depau. Mr. Depau gave the land with the stated purpose of providing a place where Christians of every creed and denomination could gather—a Union church. The stone that made up the building’s exterior was harvested on nearby Grindstone Island in St. Lawrence River along with lime brought in from Chaumont, NY.

The first Christian group known to have met at “Old Stone Church” was the Free Baptist group that first convened there in 1846. The church was also used over the 1850’s by Close Baptists, Methodists, Universalists and Congregationalists. Church records indicate that the Free Baptists had the majority of use of the building until the church was closed in 1932.

The church remained vacant for the next seven or eight years. During this time, the church building was overseen and repaired by the Depauville Improvement Society.

The church dates its recent history to 1940 when Mrs. Jane Resich of Buffalo came to the area and was active in reopening the historic church for services. In 1940, the church began a close association with Elim Bible Institute of Lima, NY. The majority of the pastors up to and including Pastor Kirk Gilchrist have been either directly or indirectly affiliated with Elim Fellowship.

Pastor Kirk Gilchrist began his ministry in Depauville in January 1997. During his tenure, the church grow in congregational size as well as influence and outreach to both the village and the county. In 2003, the congregation voted to reestablish formal affiliation with Elim Fellowship after a twenty year hiatus.

In 2008, the church officially moved from the Old Stone Church to its present home in the renovated movie theatre in Watertown, NY. The move came amid a flourishing increase in the size of the congregation where even multiple services could no longer be supported in the limestone chapel. This growth continues to the present day, even in the larger facility, with multiple services, and the reopening of the Depauville location at the North Campus in 2014.

New Life Christian Church continues to broaden the scope of its outreach, reaching all of Jefferson County for Jesus Christ in local fulfillment of the Great Commission.