On June 11, 2006, the Hasbrouck Heights First United Methodist Church rededicated its Sanctuary at 57 Burton Avenue, first dedicated on May 26, 1907. We present a continuing series of their rich history. [Photos of event]
Establishing A Ministry
Brooklyn was known as the "City of Churches." Here in 1873 lived Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Nicholas and family. Joining the exodus of Brooklynites to New Jersey they came to Corona, a part of Lodi Township, now known as Hasbrouck Heights.
In Corona they met Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Valentine. Mr. Valentine, a house painter, Charles W. Smith, a baker, a Mr. Travis, a dance master, and a Mr. Warren had been holding classes on the Sabbath Day for their own families and about 25 other children and adults. They had been meeting in their various homes to study lessons from the Holy Bible, and to praise God with word and song.
Progress had not been consistent and when the schools superintendent, Charles W. Smith, left to organize an English-speaking Sunday School among the German population in Carlstadt, the Corona school closed.
The Valentine and Nicholas Families revived interest in the school and held sessions in the railroad depot at the foot of Ravine Avenue. The building was subsequently moved to south of the Franklin Avenue Station and used as a freight depot.
A permanent Sunday School was organized on September 3, 1875 and arrangements were made to meet in the office of the Corona Land Association, a one room building on Terrace Avenue (Polifly Road) and Ravine Avenue.
It was in this room on the tenth of September 1875, that a meeting was held to decide what denomination the School should be connected with.
They decided on the Methodist denomination and arranged to apply to the Warren Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Hackensack for pastoral care and superintendence.
This was the first formal organized act to bring the Methodist Church into Hasbrouck Heights, then known as Corona.
The Reverend Joseph A. Adams, Pastor of the Warren Street M.E. Church in Hackensack visited the School on the first Sunday in November 1875; and agreed that he would preach for them every other Sabbath afternoon after the close of the school session, and hold a prayer meeting service every second Wednesday night.
Pastor Adams was brought to the bi-weekly services by David Ackerman, a Hackensack liveryman. They brought with them three or four Hackensack residents; and with six on the horse drawn carriage it must have been loaded to capacity.
Attendance varied somewhat, due mostly to inclement winter weather.
It is reported that a total of 52 attended one of these afternoon services, a fair showing for a town that four years prior to this had not more than a dozen houses.
At the monthly teachers meeting held in the Sunday School room the first Monday in December 1875, it was proposed that there should be a library; and Mrs. Valentine was appointed to solicit books and procure lesson papers.
A gift of 100 books for a childrens library was obtained. Hymnals were purchased; also lamps, eight yards of carpet, and an additional $25.00 worth of books. The librarian reported that the books were much sought after.
The School adopted for its guidance the rules and by-laws of the Hackensack M.E. Church at a meeting on January 10, 1876.
Sunday School met in the home of David Essex due to the fact that the building being used by the school had been rented temporarily to a tenant.
In the event of bad weather farmers Van Bussum and Ackerman would hitch up their teams and take the children to School.
By the following spring, the little one-room office building was reoccupied by the School.
Good progress was being made; but those attending services were of different denominations, with the result that when Pastor Adams suggested the School apply to the Presiding Elder of the Newark Conference to ascertain whether a Methodist Society could be organized in Corona, there was divergence of opinion.
A strong Dutch Reformed element was in the group, but a majority of the workers agreed that the best choice for them would be the formation of a Methodist Society.
However, no one would take the initiative; and no move was made; with the result that a small group split off and organized a Union Church Society on March 19, 1877.
It was presented as the natural outcome of the close association between members of many denominations, representing differences in doctrinal beliefs.
They had services for a time in the Henry Ackerman house on Polifly Road near Walter Avenue, which afterward became the Carlock home.
The Union Society extended a cordial invitation to the old school to join with it, rather than struggle alone.
Henry Kipp began the erection of a church building on the northwest corner of Kipp and Burton Avenues; but a terrific windstorm dismantled it. The members, discouraged by this calamity, abandoned the church, and interest in the Society died.
Rev. William H. Russell, a local preacher from Brooklyn who was favorably known by several members of the Methodist School of Corona, was invited to preach regularly during the month of March. He accepted and moved to Corona in April.
In the minutes of the July meeting it is recorded that they should be organized as a Methodist Episcopal Church.
Therefore, in July 1877, Presiding Elder, William Tunison, of the Newark Conference, aided the people to incorporate as "The Methodist Episcopal Church of Corona." So did the infant Corona Sunday School grow to be an adult, an officially recognized Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. George W. Halstead of Hackensack offered to give $850.00 towards the building of a church if a certain amount was raised.
Richard Terhune of Lodi supplied the plot of ground on the southwest corner of Washington Place and Burton Avenue.
The Transition Years
The aged Richard Terhune, of Lodi, was influenced to give a plot of ground at the southwest corner of Washington Place and Burton Avenue for the erection of a church building.
George W. Halstead of Hackensack offered to give $850 to begin construction if others would raise a certain sum. June 18, 1878, marks a milestone in the history of the Church, the minutes of a meeting held that day follows:
Corona, Tuesday, June 18, 1878 -- At a meeting called at the house of Sister Berdan, Brother Russell was elected chairman for the evening. Brother Russell suggested that we organize a Ladies Aid Society connected with the First M.E. Church of Corona, Bergen County, NJ.
After some discussion the suggestion was put in a movement and carried after which the following officers were regularly elected: Mrs. R. Berdan, President; Mrs. C.S. Valentine, Secretary; Mrs. H. Brink, Treasurer. It was then moved that the joining fee be 10 cents, monthly dues 10 cents for adults, 5 cents for young people, or as much more as one may be disposed to give.
Moved that this Society provide refreshments at the laying of the cornerstone as follows: Pork and Beans, Ham Sandwiches, Tea & Coffee. Moved that this Society furnish the following articles for refreshments: 2 hams, 16 quarts of beans, 2 bags of flour, 2-1/2 lbs. coffee, 14 lbs. sugar, pork enough to cook with the beans, and 1/4 lb. of tea.
Two days later, on June 20th, the cornerstone was laid before about 200 people with the assistance of the Rev. William Tunison, P.E. (Presiding Elder.)
Following this ceremony, an invitation was extended to all present to join in a rousing celebration and supper prepared by the Ladies Aid Society. Two hundred dollars was raised for the completion of the church.
At their organization meeting, June 18, 1878, eighteen men and twenty-seven women and girls joined the Ladies Aid Society.
Over the years the Society and its successor, the Womens Society for Christian Service, has done many things for the Church.
The Ladies Aid Society alone raised over $1,000 in 1905 towards the cost of our present edifice on the corner of Burton and Division Avenues.
In its 62 years of existence, the Society raised, and gave to the Church, more than $42,000. Every church owes much to its women members, but it is doubtful that any church has had more faithful service from its women than has ours.
One month and eight days after the laying of the cornerstone the building was completed. It consisted of a single room with a steeple in the front, facing Washington Place, where the building still stands.
It is now owned by the Reformed Church whose members added a wing at the rear of the building after they acquired it at a foreclosure sale; but more about that later.
The first wedding held in the Corona Methodist Church was that of Henry L. Kaiser to Rosetta Gnuchtel. It was performed in the little one-room office on June 23, 1878, just three days after the laying of the cornerstone of the new church. This presented the first opportunity for this church to perform one of the rituals of the Christian Church, that of Holy Matrimony.
Dedication services were held in the new church building on Sunday, July 28, 1878.
A neatly printed "PROGRAMME" was circulated listing three services: Morning service at 10:30 with singing from the Moody and Sankey Books, to be followed by a "LOVE FEAST."
At 2:30 in the afternoon, the formal Dedication Service with a sermon by the Rev. Wm. Tunison, P.E. and singing by the choir and congregation. Then, in the evening at 7:45, a service of song and prayer was held.
For several years the M.E. Church continued to grow in service and in membership. Then the membership began to diminish as some of the more enthusiastic people in the group moved away, among these being the Valentines and the Brinks.
In the records of the Ladies Aid Society for 1882 it is noted that the collection for eight meetings was only $24.99, a low mark. It soon became necessary to close the church, dismiss the pastor and go back to meeting in homes. Collections at services held June 9th and 16th, 1885 totaled $5.11.
Mrs. Valentine returned to town this year and she and Mrs. Richard Berdan planned a festival in an effort to improve the finances of the church and provide for the re-opening of the church for services whenever a preacher could be obtained for the $1.50 fee paid for his services.
These determined women walked from house to house, from the Wood-Ridge depot road to the Hackensack border, urging people to attend the festival. The affair was held at the house on the N.W. corner of Washington Place and Burton Avenue. They netted $87, a considerable success for those times. A revived spirit prevailed in the Methodist community.
In September Mrs. Valentine called on the pastor of the Hackensack M.E. Church to see what could be done in the way of holding regular services again in the Corona Church.
To her dismay she was told that he would require the collections taken up at services he conducted be turned over to his church. Mrs. Valentine would not consent to that and told the pastor she would see what she could do alone.
During 1886 and 1887, pulpit supply was obtained from the Lay Preachers Association of Brooklyn. The collections for ninety Sundays amounted to $200 and things were looking better once more; but clouds still appeared on the horizon.
The Reformed people quite naturally sought a church of their own. They started a Union Society; one of the Brooklyn lay preachers held services for them until Dr. Shepard was hired as their first pastor.
The family of William J. Alexander moved to Corona on April 20, 1886 and took an active interest in the church at a time of growing problems.
The mortgage on the church property was foreclosed on November 9, 1887, the Methodist group being unable to raise the money to pay off the mortgage.
The property was purchased by a group of Reformed Church people and others who added a double wing at the rear and used the edifice as a place of worship.
With the loss of their building, and with a reduced congregation, there was naturally a depression of spirit in the small group of the faithful; but not for long.
In May of 1888, they obtained another local preacher, George W. Egbert, to act as pastor. From friends in Brooklyn, Mrs. Alexander was able to obtain a deed for a piece of property on the south side of Jefferson Avenue between the Boulevard and Burton Avenue.
For the purpose of accepting the deed the First M.E. Church was incorporated on July 5, 1888.
A drive for funds raised $418 and plans were drawn for a simple structure 25 by 30 feet. A large part of the labor was volunteer help from the members and friendly neighbors working evenings and by moonlight. On Sunday, February 24, 1889 the first service was held in the new church.
About this time many local historical events took place that shaped the future of the church. Corona had its name changed to Hasbrouck Heights on January 1, 1890, after a long and bitter fight by adherents to the old name.
The new name was given in honor of Mr. J. D. Hasbrouck, Superintendent of the New Jersey and New York Railroad Company, who had effected many desirable changes in the train schedules, station facilities and other local improvements, including a gift to the Methodist Church of $25.
The dedication service was held Sunday evening, January 12, 1890, with the Rev. Daniel R. Lowrie, Presiding Elder, officiating. ###
The Transition Years
About this time many local historical events took place that shaped the future of the church. Corona had its name changed to Hasbrouck Heights on January 1, 1890, after a long and bitter fight by adherents to the old name. The new name was given in honor of Mr. J. D. Hasbrouck, Superintendent of the New Jersey and New York Railroad Company, who had effected many desirable changes in the train schedules, station facilities and other local improvements, including a $25 gift to the Methodist Church.
Mr. Daniel P. Morse, of Morse & Rogers, shoe manufacturers of New York, had been purchasing farms and vacant land in Corona. Early in 1890 a tract from Hamilton to Passaic Avenue and from Terrace to Oak Grove Avenue was laid out with streets, and building lots offered for sale. Advertisements were placed in New York papers and many lots were sold. In 1891, Mr. Henry Lemmerman, a real estate agent, developed a large tract west of the Boulevard along Central Avenue. Water pipes were laid in town followed by electricity. Our town became a borough on July 31, 1894.
James A. Dockman served as pastor from April 16, 1890 to April 3, 1892. During his term ten young people formed a local chapter of the Epworth League with Miss Mary Adele Burr as President, James Valentine, Treasurer, and Frank Flagg, Secretary. Miss Burr and Frank Flagg were joined in matrimony in September 1893.
The League held many social events, raising money for the Church. They reorganized on February 26, 1894 becoming Local Chapter 1107 of the national organization. On June 26th Charles Robins became its president; he and his wife joined the Church in 1891.
Levi C. Coe became pastor on April 10, 1892, serving for four fruitful years. He commuted from his home in Jersey City. During this period Mr. and Mrs. Edgar W. Biesecker, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. West moved to town. These people joined the Church and became active members, continuing their services for many years.
In 1893 a steeple and an addition to the rear of the Church was added; and the interior redecorated. James Chastney did the carpentry work and James Valentine the interior work. The Ladies Aid Society, led by Mrs. James Chastney, provided $75 for the purchase of carpeting. Again in 1894 they contributed the entire cost of the Church bell, $153.25.
In April 1894, Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Chesebro moved to town and promptly presented their letter from the Sands Street Memorial Church, Brooklyn, N.Y. Here was another hard working couple, devoted to their Church. He was active in the Epworth League and Sunday School, and she was President of the Ladies Aid Society for 22 years. In 1894, the Church had 25 members in full standing and seven on probation.
Revival services held in the winter of 1895-1896 increased the membership to 36 plus 14 probationers. On Easter Sunday, 1896, the Reverend William H. Russell was welcomed back to serve as first resident pastor. He served for two years and was succeeded by the Reverend Daniel W. Ryder who served for one year.
Orin H. Drew and his wife, Annette, joined the Church on November 22, 1896. One of their daughters, Ada, married Russell H. Getty and they continued in the service of the Lord to be followed by their daughter Annette, married to Theodore H. Mengel, Jr. They too carried on the work of the Church as did Mrs. Mengels parents and grandparents.
The Mengels had two daughters, Christine Mengel and Judith (Mrs. Thomas Dallas), both members of the Church. This family is distinguished for being the only family with an unbroken membership, starting before 1900 and continuing today.
Pastor Russell was followed in 1898, by Daniel W. Ryder, and then by Victor A. Wood in 1899. In that year nine new members joined, bringing the membership to 57. In 1897, property on Jefferson Ave. next to the Church was purchased for a parsonage, which, when completed, cost $5,405.
In 1901, W.W. Brunk came to us to serve for two years bringing the membership up to 107 plus 26 probationers and 145 scholars in the Sunday School.
Among the new families were the Beuchis. Sisters Adele and Hattie joined the Church. They were followed by another sister, Gertrude, who became a member at the same time as her husband, Albert Duetschler. Gertrude and Albert had one daughter, Mrs. Helen Andrews. Helen and her mother continued to be active members of the congregation. Mrs. Andrews, talented in theatrics, acted in and directed many of the churchs theatrical productions put on in past years. She very ably directed the 100th Anniversary Pageant, "A Church is Born," which was presented in May 1975.
On January 13, 1901, Mrs. Sarah H. Sperbeck joined theChurch, heading another family to be active workers in the Church for many generations. Her two daughters, Alice S. and Laura S., married Frank Coyle and William Padberg, respectively. The Coyles had two boys and two girls; Frederick R., who died in 1937, was married to Ruth Porter. They had two children. Ruth, very active in the Church, wrote the 100th Anniversary Pageant.
Mrs. Laura Padberg, Mrs. Sperbecks daughter, had four children: William, Alice, Laura and Eugene. William married Lillian Candy. They transferred to another Church. Alice Padberg married Theodore Ruckert and moved away.
Laura Padberg married Ernest N. MacDonald of Wood-Ridge, brought him into the Church and started another dedicated Christian couple to work for the glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Laura served as Church Secretary from 1954 to 1970. Their daughter, Betty, married and moved out of town. Eugene married Irene Palmer who died in 1972; Gene had two daughters, Jean and Janice.
A noteworthy person in the Churchs history, Emanuel E. Raff, a New York printer, joined on August 6, 1903. He at once entered into the work of the Church, serving as an active and dedicated Christian. Mr. Raff served the Church in many ways until his death in 1945. After the death of his first wife, Em Raff married Jane Young Mitchell. Jane, and her twin sister, Emily, had been active members of this Church since 1910.
Jane and Em Raff had two daughters, both brought up in the Church. Jane Mitchell Raff, the elder daughter, married the Rev. Roger L. Smith, who was First Assistant Minister. Patricia, the younger daughter, married the Rev. Lee L. Kester. Emily Ida Mitchell had one son, Robert, who with his wife and three grown children were members of the Church.
The Church Develops
In April 1903, the Reverend Albert Evans, an energetic young bachelor, transferred from Ridgefield Park, where he served with distinction. The Church was fortunate indeed to get this talented servant of God at a time of need. His five years of service were marked with many problems and a crisis. But first he needed a working partner, that indispensable one in every church family, the ministers wife. On July 12, 1903 he married Emma Frances Nelson of Brooklyn. She joined the church on September 20th along with Russell H. Getty, who married Ade Drew. Their wedding in 1909 was the first performed in the sanctuary of the present Church.
At the meeting of the Official Board of March 1904, Mr. Biesecker offered a gift of $1,000 towards the cost of a new larger house of worship -- provided another $4,000 could be raised. At the May 1905 meeting of the Board, action was authorized to seek a suitable site for a new church. A committee reported it had selected the N.W. corner of Burton and Division Avenues as the most desirable location. On June 30, 1905, this property was conveyed to Orin H. Drew for $2,141.40, for the account of the Church until it could be incorporated, which was done on July 26, 1905.
About seven in the evening on Friday, December 15, 1905, the old Church on Jefferson Avenue was destroyed by a fire that started from an overheated flue. A Revival service was about to be held, so the Pastor and others present were able to remove some of the seating, altar furnishings and carpet. This catastrophe shocked the congregation into a deep gloom. But not for long, for the work on the plans for the erection of the present building were rushed to completion. A contract was let to John C. Hoth of Hackensack for the building for $13,200 without heating, lighting or glass. Ground was broken on June 25, 1906 before about 92 interested people. The cornerstone was laid on Aug. 11, 1906 at three in the afternoon.
During the time when no Church building was available, meetings were held in the old Free Public Library across Burton Avenue from the site of the new Church. This building was then the property of the Borough League.
The matter of raising funds was of primary importance and everyone joined in this task. It was estimated that the total cost would be about $20,000. First mortgage bonds in the amount of $10,000, with no interest payable for the first five years were offered the members in $100 denominations. Contracts were let for lighting fixtures, heating, and leaded glass windows. An Esty organ was purchased for $1,600, half of which was contributed by Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire steel manufacturer.
Services in the new Church began the morning of May 26, 1907 with a dedication service at ten-thirty, followed by an evening service. Pledges and cash donations in the amount of $9,037.71 were received during the two services. Rev. Alfred Evans was transferred elsewhere in 1908, and Rev. H. Eugene Curts was assigned for the next two years. In 1910 Rev. Audley J. Bliss stayed until 1913, followed by Rev. Oscar L. Joseph until 1917.
Pastor Bliss was well liked by the young people of the Church. He organized a troop of the Boy Scouts of America, the first in Hasbrouck Heights, and was the first Scoutmaster. A graduate of Middlebury College, where he was prominent in athletics, he instituted athletic contests at the Sunday School picnics.
Emily Ida Mitchell wrote her "Personal Recollections" from which is quoted:
"In 1905 an Alpha Society was formed to raise money for our new Church. The Church was the center of social activity of the Borough in those days. Always something going on -- Harvest Home Suppers, June Rose Luncheons, Strawberry Festivals, Fairs, plays, Ladies Aid Society, Missionary Society meetings and Epworth League, among others.
Mrs. Blanche Chapman joined the Church in 1906; a sister of John Nicoll, she was a talented woman who taught piano, gave elocution lessons and played the harp. She entertained at Christmas events.
There was good attendance and many children took part. Each child was given a large orange, a bag of American mixed candy and a gift. The gift was usually a game or book. Primary Department girls were given dolls dressed by their teachers. Girls taking part were dressed in white. Some could not afford white shoes so they slipped white stockings over their shoes.
We had Church morning and evening on Sunday, Sunday School in the afternoon and Prayer Meeting on Wednesday night. I remember that when the minister prayed, either Mr. Biesecker or Mr. Chesebro would call outAmen or Bless the Lord. Sunday School picnics were an annual affair. Sometimes they went on an open trolley car to their destination, a treat for all. We would sing and everyone had a good time.
The families worked very hard to raise money to build our Church. I know Sunday School pupils had cards for 10 cent pieces and went from house to house to raise funds for the erection of the new Church. The Committee consisted of Bros. Biesecker, Gokey, Styles, Pace, Adamson, Hoffman, Whipple and Allen. One can easily understand how hard the families must have worked to raise money from so few members."
Total membership of the Church in those early days is not found in the old records. However, at some of the Official Board meetings the Head Usher would report on the average attendance at services for the month. For September 1907, it was 85 for the morning service and 99 for the evening service. Many attended both services. In April 1908 it was 108 and 100 but no doubt this included Easter Sunday. In November 1908 it was 86 and 104 with 26 attending mid-week services. In April 1909 it was 111, 115 and 29, in April 1913 it was 88, 89 and 25. The high point for those years was in 1909-10 when attendance averaged 78, 143 and 24. The total membership of the church then was in the neighborhood of 200.
Music has always been an important part of Church services. For many years a foot-pumped reed organ was used, it was sold in 1908 for twenty dollars when the Esty pipe organ was obtained. In 1948. It was replaced with a Baldwin electronic organ, which was moved to the Chapel in 1954 when the rebuilt Moller manual organ was purchased for $12,000.
The Drew and Getty Families served in the choir for many years. Before 1910 various music directors and organists were hired, mostly from outside the Church. On October 1, 1910, Church member Mrs. Ruth N. Barnes was hired as organist at $2.50 per Sunday.
An active and energertic woman, she built up the choir, organized three childrens choirs, and held cantatas and other religious productions that added much to the devotional spirit in the Church. In October 1973, Youth Minister Robert Lowenthal organized a group of young people to form a Folk Choir which he accompanied, in the regular church services, on his guitar.
Of special note are the cantatas given on many Good Fridays over the years by the combined choirs of the Episcopal, Methodist and Reformed Churches. These serious religious music performances were well attended The solos by Russell Getty and Edward Hansen, together with talent from the other choirs, gave a profound religious experience.
On Wednesday evening, January 25, 1967, the combined Protestant Church Choirs and the Corpus Christi Boys Choir sang at an Ecumenical Church service in Corpus Christi R.C. Church before an overflow crowd of 1,700 people, in the first such service in town. There has not been another special Ecumenical music service.
Frederick Nicholas was the first Sunday School Superintendent.
The beginnings of the Church were rooted in the desire of parents to have their children and their childrens children learn the lessons in the Holy Bible. For that purpose a community Sunday School was started, affiliated with the Hackensack Methodist Episcopal Church, on September 10, 1875, (it was then known as the Corona Methodist Sunday School); now it is the First United Methodist Church of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
The School has always been an importmant part of the Church. There have been times when the enrollment and attendance records rivaled those of the Church services. Before 1877, about 25 children and adults met every Sunday.
1930 had 355 Church members and 352 in Sunday School enrollment; in 1940 there were 576 and 328 respectively; in 1970, 793 and 215. Henry Murphy, who entered our Sunday School in 1913, was Secretary of the School from 1923 to 1951 and Superintendent in 1955.
There was a record of Church attendance at all services since May 21, 1933. Regular services were held every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and on Wednesday evenings a prayer meeting, until at least the summer of 1920. The attendance on May 21, 1933 was 131 for the morning service, and 103 for the evening. 1940 averaged 190 on Sunday mornings and 150 in evenings out of membership of 576. By 1950 the average was 124 for the 9:15 morning service and 191 for the 11 oclock service, the evening service having been discontinued on a regular basis in 1941, and two morning services started on February 2, 1947. In 1955 the average church attendance for the early morning service was 191 with 174 for the 11 oclock. The first service had gained over the second due perhaps, to the three junior choirs that sang only at the first service.
On Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, a beautiful sunny day, the attendance total for both services was 727, an all-time record! The Church membership in 1955 was 746, by 1970 it was 795, with an average Sunday attendance of 86 for the first service and 107 for the second service. There were no longer childrens choirs to help attendance figures. For the first six months of 1975 the average Church attendance was 128 for the single morning service, the two morning services having been consolidated into one 10 a.m. service on June 3, 1973. By 1975 the church membership had dropped to 642.
Despite poor Church attendance, financial receipts have held up. Mortgage money to finance captial improvements has been paid off on time, and no such obligations are now outstanding.
When the Rev. Oscar L. Joseph completed his pastorate here in 1917, he was succeeded by the Rev. D.B.F. Randolph who remained until 1922. His stay covered the days of World War I which saw 27 members join the armed forces to fight for their country. Four gave their lives, they were Robert H. Elias. Jr., Arthur Ira Kelly, Alexander W. Leighton, and Robert D. Mitchell. The Church was closed during January and February 1918 as a patriotic gesture due to a shortage of coal. They met with the Reformed Church folks these two months. ###