First Presbyterian Church of the Berkshire Valley
635 Berkshire Valley Road, Wharton, NJ 07885
Pastor : Rev. Dr. Christopher Doyle
Worship on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. All are welcome always!
In 1803, a group of local residents felt the need to establish a Presbyterian Church in their local community. The closest Presbyterian Church at the time was in Rockaway, which today is only a 10 to 15 minute drive down Route 15 and 80, but over 200 years ago, especially during the winter months, that was a trek that most didn't feel able to make. Even in good weather it would have been a hours long trip.
They got together and incorporated the church on November 16, 1803. The Presbytery of New York began supplying the pulpit with circuit riders that would preach throughout the area. Finally, in 1821, a pastor was appointed to both the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church and the Berkshire Valley Church which are about ten miles apart. That was the beginning of a very lively ministry, with the church building being completely rebuilt after a fire a number of years before.
There are not many records that tell us of the life of the church in the years that followed, but one thing is for sure, the presence of this church has served as a true beacon to so many seeking a friendly community of support for their faith in Jesus Christ and in everyday life.
The Stated Purpose of First Presbyterian Church of the Berkshire Valley, was and remains :
We are Christians called by the Holy Spirit and saved by God's grace to follow Jesus Christ and to proclaim His Gospel for the salvation of humankind. We seek to serve all people as we grow in faith through worship, witness, nurture and education. We are a diverse people with diverse gifts who unite for the building up of the one Body of Christ. We warmly welcome others to join us in the common journey of life and faith as we strive to discern God's will for us in our rapidly changing world. Trusting in His Spirit, we seek to be responsible stewards of his treasures and gifts entrusted to us, as we live to dream and seek the will of God in this time and place.
Before the Covid 19 pandemic, we held numerous get togethers of worship and fellowship. Once the pandemic began, we immediately switched to worshiping together each Sunday morning virtually using Zoom. For all of us, this was an incredible blessing as it allowed us to continue to meet face to face, share with each what was happening in our lives, and worship and pray together as a connected community.
We have now returned to in-person worship - with safety precautions in place - and invite our community to join us in mourning the difficult time that our nation and world has been and continues to go through due to the virus, but then also to celebrate the blessings that our God continually provides; there are many. Together we can do and be anything, because we know that the Holy Spirit is with us, and that in Christ, we are truly one.