The Smallest Church in the World, Oneida, NY

We took a trek out to the geographic center of the state and had the opportunity to visit a few small places in the area. Our first stop was visiting the Smallest Church in the World!

Cross Island Sign

The church (under 29 square feet) was established in 1989 as a “witness to God.” It is non-denominational. I know that the community of Oneida, NY, is very religious– I have perused the town library and their selection of books is phenomenal. It is a great resource for any serious student of the Bible or religions. Central New York has traditionally been the epicenter for all sorts of religious movements (The Second Great Awakening, Joseph Smith Mormonism, Noyes’ Oneida Community, to mention a few).

Cross Island Chapel

This little chapel sits on a small man-made island, as you can see from the picture. It is so cute. A dilapidated boat was roped to the pier at the pond’s end– the only means of transportation to the chapel. You can read an interesting story of someone who attended a church service in the chapel at

The little chapel here sits in the middle of one of two small ponds. A paved road (leading to more residences throughout the village) divides the ponds. Both ponds were very obviously smaller in size in the past, because now a telephone pole and street sign were sitting completely in water. The pond’s edge lapped threateningly up against the low shoulder of the road. The pond was also infringing onto the properties of some of the residences– one property’s stone wall and cluster of juniper shrubs were sitting in water. The house was a mere fifteen feet from the pond’s edge. Yikes!

It is very evident that something about Upstate’s watershed is changing. The damaging floods of the summer of 2006 (was it really that long ago?) were proof, as vast sections of Upstate hamlets were engulfed by rising creeks, streams, and rivers. We’ve been noticing that our local streams and watersheds are diverting somewhat; new pools are forming, and existing ponds and lakes are expanding their reach. Hopefully these “minor” problems are a heads-up to communities that will have to find new ways to deal with the changing waterscape in the state.

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (6)

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  1. Very cute. Not much basis for the founding of a cult.

  2. LINDA QUISPE says:


  3. Recel says:

    wow! awesome!!! it feels like i have been in the smallest church, too! thanks for sharing this!

  4. Monica says:

    it helped me for my project so much

  5. […] in case you are really into quirky things like that, I’ve also visited the World’s Smallest Church. here in Oneida, NY!! Woo, don’t you feel so educated now! /* If you like this post, […]

  6. Mason says:

    My dad and grandpa built this church. Chandler Mason was my grandpa, he was the one who started bulding it.