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East Syracuse church celebrates 125 years

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the first cornerstone was laid for Emmanuel Episcopal Church -- the oldest church building in the village of East Syracuse. On Nov. 9, Father Gerry Beritela, church vicar, Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams and members of the parish celebrated its longevity with a worship service and dedication.

"The vestry has taken a strong lead in putting this all together," Beritela said of the event. "We've had a committee working on all aspects of it."

The worship service, held Sunday morning, included a confirmation ceremony as well as a reception of new members to the Episcopal Church. Beritela, the church vicar since 2002, said he hoped families would walk away from the celebration with a sense of hope for the future and a renewed joy and faith.

"We're not just celebrating the building," Beritela said. "We're celebrating the faith and the ministry of all those who have come before us, and the faith and the ministry of all those who are being fed and nourished here [now]. We're kind of blending those notions of the church as not just the building, but it's the families, the people that have been called to worship, and called to put together this building as a sacrament of their life in Christ."

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