The Rev. Charles Irving Cummings, 69, of Ticonderoga, N.Y.
PUTNAM STATION, N.Y. — The Rev. Charles Irving Cummings, a prophetic voice for justice, died Oct. 2, 2020 at Ticonderoga, N.Y., following a long illness. From 1990 until 2011 he served as Pastor of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass. In retirement, he returned to his family farm in Putnam Station, N.Y. Irv was 69 years old.
Irv Cummings was born on May 31, 1951 in Ticonderoga, New York. He was the son of the late Charles Robert and Elizabeth (Wathsock) Cummings.
During his childhood, he was an active member of the youth group at the Putnam United Presbyterian Church. Irv’s commitment to justice was deeply rooted in the Prophetic tradition of the Bible. He identified with Amos, the 5th-century BCE shepherd and tree farmer who left behind everything he knew to go and speak God’s Word in a world that, for a select few, had grown too comfortable.
Irv graduated in 1974 from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in Social Work and Counseling. He received his Master’s degree in Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1981 and became an Ordained Minister in the United Church of Christ the following year. During his time in Cambridge, he served as President of the United Ministry at Harvard University.
For respite from the demands placed on him as Pastor of a large and active congregation, Irv spent as much time as he could manage at his farm. Irv was a proud son of Putnam and was active in numerous local causes. Locally, his greatest achievement was the establishment of The Founder’s Fund to benefit students from the Putnam Central School upon their graduation from Ticonderoga High School. In loving tribute to his mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Cummings (Wathsock), Irv’s dream was to create a graduation prize that would benefit Putnam residents specifically. Irv recruited an advisory Board of local residents, and through his extensive network of friends in Cambridge and elsewhere, raised an astonishing $500,000 in just under two years. Since inception, the Putnam Founder’s Fund has awarded 230 scholarships worth more than $215,000.
In retirement, Irv was asked often to preach at area churches, including the Putnam United Presbyterian. He regularly travelled over an hour by car to lead Sunday worship at the United Church of Christ in Benson, Vt. His sermons were also well received by the members of the Federated Church in Westport, N.Y., where he was asked to fill in a few times each summer.
Irv will be greatly missed by his sister Judy Forgette (Allan); his niece Nina (Michael Corcoran); and nephews Nahum (Tasha Lopez-Pitts) and Keegan (Melissa). He is also survived by his great nephew, Ezekiel Forgette and great-nieces, Willow Corcoran and Kairenna Grace Forgette. Irv’s many friends will always remember him with great love and affection.
Relatives and friends may call Saturday, Oct. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Wilcox & Regan Funeral Home, 11 Algonkin St., Ticonderoga, N.Y. Masks and social distancing are required.
A Memorial Service will take place at a later date.
To offer online condolences, visit wilcoxandreganfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests those wishing to do so make a donation in Irv’s name to the Putnam Founders’ Fund, P.O Box 39, Putnam Station, NY, 12861; St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 3 Main St, Middlebury, VT 05753; or to a local animal rescue organization.◊
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