In the beginning.....1850 a hamlet began to be established.
In 1851, this hamlet was named Clinton Station. June 1sth, 1866 application for a charter for the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Clinton Station was applied for and on June 28th, Rev. Robert Van Amburgh presided at a meeting at the town hall for nominating officers for the new church which consisted of 4 officers and their wives.
Rev. Charles Wack of Lebanon was secured to preach on the Sabbath and was pastor for only a short time. He died in the winter of 1866. The Reverend Robert Van Amburgh supply preached in the interim period until a call was extended and accepted by the Rev. John Addion Van Doren in May, 1868
In January, 1867 a common seal was adopted and on April 20th of that year, 17 new members joined the congregation.
In May of 1868 the Rev. John Addison Van Doren accepted the call as minister. In this same month, a meeting was held on land purchased from Theodore H. Rider for the use of building a church edifice. The architectural plan of John Cole was approved. Deacon Frech was appointed treasurer and the cornerstone was laid on Thursday, August 6, 1868 at 11:00 A. M. by Rev. Van Doren. The Reverend Abraham Mepler, D.D. was the speaker for this occasion.
Prior to the completion of the new edifice, services were held in private homes, or in the Town Hall, a building since torn down, which once stood on Main Street as the property of Walter S. Doeman. The church was originally erected with a high steeple which was removed during the 1900’s since high winds tended to rack the building excessively.
Construction was completed within five months. This is the only permanent home our congregation has ever known.
The first Consistory meeting held in the new church took place on January 16, 1869, and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was celebrated for the first time on January 20, 1869 By August, 1869, a committee to see to the raising of funds for an organ was formed. The new church seemed to be in financial trouble from the beginning. At the same August meeting, a pressing debt of $4,000.00 was reported on the building. The church property was mortgaged to pay off the debt on the building. To cover operating expenses, a system of pew rentals ($.10) was put into effect by April 1870. The first sexton, Peter Sloan, was secured in June, 1870, and Miss Anna Boeman became the first organist. Regular Sunday morning service was supplemented by a Sunday afternoon service, and prayer meetings were held on Thursday evenings in the home.
In April 1873, Rev. Van Doren’s resignation due to ill health was received and Rev. Van Amburgh resumed stated supply until 1877, when Rev. George H. Cleveland was called to be pastor.
During Rev. Cleveland’s pastorate several “revivals” were held resulting in the reception of forty new members. By 1880, the church membership totaled 111.
In 1881, Rev. Cleveland resigned because of ill health, and Rev. Will H. Williamson became pastor, serving for eighteen months. The church remained without a pastor until June, 1884, when Rev. Garett Wyckoff was installed. Rev. Wyckoff also served for a period of eighteen months. In September, 1886, the Rev. William J. Henderson was installed. In 1887, the parsonage was built on land tendered by Jacob Cregar for that express purpose. In February of that same year, the legal name of the church was changed to the ‘Annandale Reformed Church.’ The financial committee of Consistory was, by this time, finding it increasingly difficult to meet its obligations. By 1889, the pastor’s salary was badly in arrears. Finally, one year later, in December, 1890, Rev. Henderson found it necessary to resign. The church pulpit was supplied by the Reverend Alexander McWilliams for a six-year period, during which time a Young People’s Society was formed.
In 1896, the Reverend A. L. Mershon, was called to the pastorate. That same year, a new bell was placed in the belfry. Two years later, the Reverend Henry Bacon Allen was called to the pastorate and served the church until 1901. The church was again served by supply until the Rev. J.F. Williamson was called in 1902. During Rev. Williamson’s pastorate, the Women’s Missionary Society was formed, as was the Junior Christian Endeavor Society. Rev. Williamson died on December 4, 1903, again leaving the church with no pastor.
In March, 1904, the Reverend Rockwood McQuesten was installed as pastor. During Reverend McQuesten’s pastorate, the Ladies’ Auxiliary was formed. The congregation voted to remove the high steeple and hazardous spire in 1906 “since high winds tended to rack the building excessively. In 1906, the church also received a communication from the Board of Domestic Missions indicating that the money borrowed from the Board to erect the church should be repaid. Again, the congregation seemed in financial straits. During the succeeding years, the Women’s Auxiliary, through their varied fund-raising events, succeeded in alleviating the financial strain.
The Rev. McQuesten served the church until 1909 when he resigned to accept another call. The church was supplied on week-ends by the Rev. Garrett Wyckoff, a former pastor, who travelled from Red Bank to aid the church. The supply was necessary for about a year, and in May, 1912, the Reverend Howard R. Furbeck was installed. During Rev. Furbeck’s pastorate, the old plain-glass windows were replaced in 1913 with stained-glass memorial windows. The congregation mourned the loss of Rev. Furbeck, when on October 16, 1917, he was struck down and killed by an automobile while riding a bicycle.
The church was without a pastor for eight months, after which the Reverend Martin Luther was installed on May 6, 1918. It is noted in the Consistory Minutes of October 7, 1918 that one Paul Luther, son of the pastor, be recommended to care of Classis as a candidate for the ministry. The former pastor, Rev. Furbeck, had also supplied a son, Howard, to the ministry. Rev. Luther served the church until July 1, 1921. For the following eleven months, the church pulpit was filled by supply preachers. On June 1, 1922, the Reverend G. I. Robertson was installed as pastor. During Rev. Robertson’s pastorate, a Men’s Chorus, consisting of fifteen voices was formed, the Junior Choir was formed, a Boys’ Group was formed, and a Men’s Brotherhood was begun. On October 21, 1923, a Fifty fifth Anniversary Celebration was held. A newspaper account of the historic event reported a large number of people in attendance. The Revered Henry Bacon Allen, former pastor of the church, addressed the congregation, and the Reverend George I. Robertson, present pastor at that time, preached the sermon, entitled “Looking Forward”.
On November 30, 1925, an Inaugural Organ Recital was given on the newly-installed Muller Pipe Organ. The organ was a gift to the church by the members and friends. The names of sixty-one subscribers to the Organ Fund are framed and in the history cabinet, and eight of the subscribers donated the sum of one hundred dollars or more.
The original three-manual M. P. Moller Pipe Organ, manufactured in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1925, was rebuilt in 1966 and upgraded in 1992. Our original polyglot illustrated Pulpit Bible was used until 1949. It was replaced by an acid-free paper King James Version, donated to the church by Mr. & Mrs. George Lawrence in memory of their son, James Wesley Lawrence. A second-hand Revised Standard Version was added in the mid 1970’s.
The Reverend George Robertson left on December 1, 1926 to accept a call to the Throggs’ Reformed Church. Again, the church sought a pastor. The Reverend Chester A. Moore was secured following his graduation from seminary. Rev. Moore was ordained and installed in June, 1927. For those who might care to recall, a play entitled “Ten Nights in a Bar-Room’ was presented at the church in August, 1928. Proceeds from the play were forwarded to a group known as the ‘Anti-Saloon League’. The Junior Choir was re-activated by Mrs. Moore, who first chose the name “Rainbow Choir’. Mr. Gordon McConnell kindly assumed the direction of the choir on his return from World War II.
During the early thirties the church, along with the greater part of the nation, was in financial trouble. Mention is made many times in Consistory minutes of the pastor’s salary going unpaid. On April 5, 1932, William H. Hackett, a member of the congregation, appeared before Consistory to be recommended to the Classis of Raritan for care as a candidate for the ministry. In May of 1933 the cash balance on hand was 7 cents.
The Senior Christian Endeavor Society was formed during Rev. Moore’s pastorate. The only records from this group to be found is the Roll Book, dating from January, 1936. Mention of an Intermediate Christian Endeavor Society was found during Rev. Robertson’s pastorate. The Christian Endeavor Societies are now disbanded.
1937 Boy Scout Troop 1, Annandale was formed, later renamed Troop 88 until 1960, and in October, 1972 Boy Scout Troop 288 was Chartered.
On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, 1936, the church observed it Seventieth Anniversary. More than two hundred and fifty people were present. At this time, the Women’s Auxiliary numbered nearly 100 members. Again, on Sunday, June 1, 1941, the church celebrated an Anniversary of its Seventy-fifth year. The church listed 225 communicant members at this time, 128 of these active.
On May 3, 1943, Rev. Moore resigned to become pastor of the Reformed Church of New Hyde Park, Long Island, New York. Sincere regret at Mr. Moore’s resignation was expressed in a letter from the Consistory. A seminary student, Richard Beving, was secured for that summer. His position as student supply pastor was extended by congregational vote until May, 1945. On June 3, 1945, following his graduation from seminary, Mr. Beving was ordained and installed as pastor. Reverend Beving served the church until his resignation on September 8, 1947, when he accepted a call to become pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Osceola, Iowa.
Following the resignation of Revered Beving, Rev. Garrett M. Conover, formed member of the church and at that time, Stated Clerk of the Classis of Raritan, presided at meetings of Consistory and was of great help to the church until a new pastor could be secured. Rev. Conover died in High Bridge at the age of ninety-eight.
The Reverend F. Alvin Langwith was secured as pastor and was installed on July 8, 1948. Revered Langwith came to the church from the Middlebush Reformed Church. Shortly after his coming, Reverend Langwith began instituting some visible changes in the church. Fresh flowers appeared to enhance the service of worship. During 1948, the chancel was enlarged, new carpeting was installed, and the flooring was repaired in the sanctuary. A new Bible was place on the pulpit. The basement received new electrical wiring work and the kitchen was renovated in the late 1950’s.. On June 24, 1956, the church again held an Anniversary Celebration, this one of its ninetieth year. At this service, a pair of candlesticks were presented by Mrs. Howard Philhower, great-granddaughter of charter members. On February 12, 1958 Rev. Langwith resigned (139 members).
On June 15, 1958, a call was extended to the Reverend Robert M Runge. The call was accepted, and Reverend Runge was installed as minister on Sunday, September 21, 1958. During Rev. Runge’s pastorate, extensive renovation work was done in the sanctuary and the old balcony had been transformed into three new modern classrooms. Both the interior and the exterior of the church had been painted, new lighting and carpeting had been installed in the sanctuary, the chancel platform had been replaced, enlarged and refurbished with a Pulpit Bible Stand, Communion Table, and screening. This extensive work had been accomplished through sincere desire and great effort on the part of the congregation.
In October, 1963, Consistory received the resignation of Reverend Runge. From November, 1963, until June, 1964, the church remained without a pastor. Upon completion of his degree requirements at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Mr. Ronald William La Rose accepted the pastorate of the Annandale Reformed Church. He was ordained and installed on July 12, 1964.
On Sept 28, 1966 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary. The organ was rebuilt at this time. Rev. LaRose left the church in 1966 and in 1967 Rev. Thomas A Marsden was called as pastor. During his ministry, a Youth Group was formed.
In 1972 Rev. Marsden left the church to follow God’s calling to be a military chaplain.
Rev. Harry Kacotas served between 1973 and 1979.
The old oil fired furnace was replaced in January 1979.
The building was given ‘historical landmark’ status by the New Jersey Heritage Commission in the 1980‘s—permanently placed on the state register of Historic Places. It has been the subject of photo shoots by noted photographers Frank Greenagel and David DeFreese, among others
In 1981 Rev. Ian Todd accepted the call to minister. During his ministry a Puppet Ministry was formed for the Jr. High age group as well as a clown ministry.
During Rev. Todd’s time Annandale Reformed Church formed a Yoke with the High Bridge Dutch Reformed Church since neither church was large enough to support a full time pastor. The parsonage on West Street was sold during this time.
In 1985 Rev. Todd left to answer the call of another church and in July 1986 Rev. Dr. John J. Arnone was installed as pastor of the yoked churches, and in 1992 the Yoke between the two churches was dissolved and Dr. Arnone was installed as pastor of Annandale Reformed Church.
During Dr. Arnone’s ministry the Sunday School embraced the Children and Worship program for children ages 3-8, a youth intern program was designed for ages 12-13. The building was painted inside and aluminum siding was installed outside, a new roof replacing the original slate one was replaced, new carpet was laid, and Fellowship Hall received a complete renovation. A new parsonage was purchased but later sold after Dr. Arnone’s marriage (130 members).
In 1991 the church celebrated its 125th anniversary by participating in the Township’s 150th anniversary parade (June 2nd). The church also had a Founder’s Day Sunday on June 23rd by inviting past pastors and members and holding an old-fashioned picnic luncheon afterwards.
In 1992 an extensive upgrade was done to the organ with a three manual console with midi-capabilities being added.
Fellowship Hall downstairs was refurbished in 1995.and in 2000 the church purchased a baby grand piano with money that donated for that purpose.
Our motto is “New Life in Christ.” The familiar yellow figure that accompanies the words was designed in 1994 by elder, Cheryl Mulligan.
Our mission statement was drawn up by elder Lynn Hughes. “We are a family in Christ, called together by the Holy Spirit to serve God in our community. We are placed here to worship, to nurture and serve, and to make the joyous life in Jesus Christ more accessible to our neighbors.”
In May 2002, Dr. Arnone left the church.
In September 2003, Rev. Samuel H. Pomper entered into a contract with the church as their pastor after serving almost a year as pulpit supply.
In 2005 using money received as a result of a matching dollar grant from the Delaware Raritan Classis, and a generous donation from one of the parishioners, we built a ramp to the front entrance of the building.
In 2006 the church hired J. Rick Brock as their Youth Pastor. Mr. Brock left in 2011 to pursue other employment out of state. Also in 2006 we purchased a ceiling mounted wireless projector and wall mounted screen.
In the fall of 2007, Rev. Pomper left to pursue other avenues of leadership.
In 2008 we painted the sanctuary with funds that were raised through pledges and donations from the congregation over a period of two years.
During the times between Rev. Pomper leaving and the hiring of Rev. Lobb, the church had pulpit supply minsters each worship Sunday and were under the supervision of the Delaware Raritan Classis.
On January 1, 2010 the church entered into a contract with the Rev. Kenneth Lobb.
In 2010 the church added an outdoor Memorial Garden to enhance the church grounds and to witness God's gifts in nature.
We added air conditioning to the main sanctuary in 2011. To supplement our sound, we purchased a Yamaha S90XS music synthesizer in 2011,
In 2012, we installed internet wireless capacity and Boy Scout Troop 288, who we have sponsored since 1971 donated 21 new chairs to be used by the choir and in the office.
In 2013, we used money from a generous bequest to purchase a new, more vibrant, outside sign.
Gifts and bequests allowed us to remove our underground oil tank in favor of a new double-walled Roth above-ground tank in 2010. In 2014 we installed new wood-grained flooring in Fellowship Hall and converted our hot water tank with an on-demand, propane-fired heater. In 2015 we replaced the carpeting in the sanctuary and office. In 2016 we repaired a leaking bell tower.
In 2016 the church received a bequest from the James West. and Evelyn Anderson estate in the amount of $1,621,649.00
On April 7, 2016 Rev. Lobb succumbed to his battle of cancer.
In 2016 we replaced the old oil fired boiler with an energy efficient gas fired one
From April 2016 to July 31, 2017 we were under the supervision of the Delaware-Raritan Classis and Rev. David Ruisard of the Rockaway Reformed Church served as the supervisor and our pulpit was supplied each week with supply pastors. During that time a search committee was formed and on August 1, 2017 J. Rick Brock was hired as Minister of Faith Family Life while he attends New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
In 2017 we cleaned out the attic of bat residue, installed a safe set of stairs to the attic and belfry, and installed insulation in the attic
In 2017 we are pursuing the architectural drawings to make the facility A.D.A. compatible.