Our Faith Through the Ages
Twenty Haworth residents gathered in a private home on Schraalenburgh Road on June 18, 1893 to hear the Word of God and discuss the possibility of establishing a church here in Haworth. The Rev. William Walton came from Closter each Sunday afternoon for several years to help in the formation of this congregation.
During the remainder of 1893 and into early 1894, a number of meetings were held to establish a constitution and by-laws, elect trustees and sign the deed of incorporation. The vision and enthusiasm of those early members has not diminished over the history of this church.
For a number of years in those early days, services were held in private homes, often led by lay members or visiting clergy. The first sanctuary was built on the corner of Haworth Avenue and Owatonna Street in December 1908. The Rev. Charles Jones became the first full-time minister in March 1909, staying in Haworth until 1925.
In the ensuing years, 21 men and women have filled the pulpit, either as full-time or interim pastors. Each has helped the church fulfill its Christian mission as it has grown and reached out into the wider community.
Ground breaking for the present sanctuary took place in July 1961, just a month after the First Congregational Church was made a part of the United Church of Christ. Shortly after moving into the new church home, the original building, which had served for over 50 years, was torn down. The steeple bell, which had called people to worship over all those years, was sent to the town of Peki Blenko, Ghana, Africa, where it still rings out over that community, calling people home from the fields and to their own worship service!
The history of this congregation is a microcosm of the 20th Century, following the changes in the economy, several World Wars, a Depression, building boom after the Second World War, transitory population, and demographic changes in this part of New Jersey. Over the years, the church has undergone many changes in leadership, budgetary challenges, numbers of children in the Church School, attendance at worship, mission outreach, community projects, etc.
The members of this congregation, over the years, and regardless of the challenges placed before them, have never lost their vision for a home for all peoples to come together to worship their God in peace and harmony. Those who came before have given today’s generation a strength and a vitality and a faith that grows daily and portends an even more glorious story for the years ahead.