In the late 1880's the city of Syracuse was expanding southwestward into what had been an agricultural area and a new city neighborhood called "Elmwood" came into being. The pastor of Syracuse's Fourth Presbyterian Church realized the needs and possibilities for a Presbyterian congregation in Elmwood and in 1892 the Elmwood Presbyterian Society was formed at 1640 South Avenue. In the early years the church started the Elmwood School – a public school and library one block from the church building living into their commitment for the education and nurture of children. Elmwood was known for its strong Sunday School, Vacation Bible Schools and Camps, participation in weekday “Released Time” programs for many, many years. Elmwood was also characterized by their strong commitment to hands-on mission work in their community. By 2016 the Elmwood had become much more culturally diverse and many residents spoke Spanish at the same time as the Presbyterian congregation had grown older, smaller and was challenged with maintaining a very large ageing building. After much prayerful deliberation, the Elmwood building was sold to a Hispanic Worshiping Community able to meet neighborhood needs. They agreed to maintain the Clothes Closet that Elmwood had offered for a long time. Now without a church home, Elmwood members were invited to "abide" at Robinson Memorial Presbyterian Church sharing fully in their worship, activities and pastoral care while they determined what God might be calling Elmwood as a church to do next.
In the late 1930's Syracuse continued is growth toward the west and the new community of Westvale began developing as a suburb. Formerly an agricultural community, the Westvale area had had an active Grange - but no longer a community need, the Grange building was no longer needed for its intended purpose. The Presbytery send an organizing pastor to start a new Presbyterian Church in Westvale and Robinson Memorial Presbyterian Church was incorporated in 1944. Worship began in the Grange building which is now the portion of our facility used for our church office, an independent pre-school, and our Fellowship Hall. Young families were building houses here and as many as 300 children were registered in the Sunday School. Outgrowing the Grange Hall, a new sanctuary building was built to the west of the Grange Hall and an extension built at ground level to connect the two buildings. Robinson Memorial has historically been involved in working with and supporting ministries in the community and across the world. In more recent years it became known for its hospitality, welcoming members of Faye Road Baptist and Howlett Hill Presbyterian when they closed as well as folks from other churches seeking to be part of a mission-minded, inclusive, welcoming congregation.
After several years of abiding together, members of Elmwood Presbyterian felt that they were one with Robinson Memorial and vice versa. Our hearts were one but it took many months of work to unite legally. On January 1, 2018 we officially became Robinson Elmwood United Church, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) - excited to see what new opportunities for ministry and Christian service Holy Spirit is preparing for us and preparing us for.