From the beginning Hamilton Bible Fellowship has sought to be a church that consistently and systematically teaches the Bible in a relevant way; that emphasizes reflective and personally engaging worship; and that engages the people of the larger community as well as its own members in ministry and outreach.
HBF began as the result of the efforts of several families from the Hamilton area and the leadership of Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius, NY (suburban Syracuse). James (Putter) Cox had accepted a pastoral internship position there following graduation from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1984. In the fall of that year he and wife Linda connected with those families who comprised a small group at EHBC. They soon began plans to start a church in their own community 30 miles away, the home of Colgate University. After much input from the EHBC staff, the inaugural service was held in a private home in May 1985. Putter was ordained and the new church commissioned at EHBC on May 19. The “mother church” helped to support HBF for the first several years; the Fellowship has been independent (and incorporated) since.
HBF has had quite an odyssey in meeting places. Small groups and non-Sunday activities have met in homes and borrowed spaces, including a truck garage, rooms of the local Oddfellows chapter, and a nursery school. From 2003-2006 our friends at Park United Methodist Church graciously allowed HBF to meet in their fellowship hall while we built our own building.
Photos of our building project can be seen here. This was a community project, involving our whole fellowship. In 2006, we moved in, to great rejoicing!
Despite these transitions, HBF has stayed rooted to its core vision, even as it as evolved. In a somewhat transient university community, individuals and families come and go, contributing to the church’s continual growth. HBF has supported the establishment of Young Life (a nationally-supported ministry to teenagers) in the community. It also supports campus ministries at Colgate, especially InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We also collaborate with local churches as a charter member of HVAC – Hamilton Village Association of Clergy.