as taken from
The Wayne Independent News
January 21, 1999
BETHANY UNITED METHODIST (491 Alps Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-3880)
CALVARY GOSPEL CHURCH (1559 Hamburg Tpke., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-5385)
The history of this church group goes back to the late part of 1952, when services took place in a local firehouse on Ratzer Road. Rebuilding of the structure on 1559 Hamburg Turnpike began in 1953, the year that Rev. Fred MITCHELL became the first pastor. Rev. Mitchell served for ten years, and was succeeded by Rev. KOLK, the interim pastors, until Rev. Larry ROOS took over in 1979. Major renovations took place in 1979, including the addition of a junior high school-size Sunday School and classrooms.
CALVARY TEMPLE (111 Preakness Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-2938)
In November of 1966, a six-family prayer group met at the home of Tony and Janet MOSCHELLA in Totowa to plan the formation of a Pentecostal church. While searching for a location upon which a new house of worship could be constructed, services were held at St. Michael’s Episcopal church on 1219 Ratzer Road, Rev. Ernest BERQUIST with his wife Virginia, became the first pastor of the Calvary Temple, which was incorporated on February 15, 1967, and as membership grew to over 100 people, youth groups were started.
A two-and-a-half acre tract of land on Alps Road was purchased in April 18, 1967 and the construction of a two hundred seat building began in June and was completed by December, in time for the first Christmas service. Worshippers met at St. Michael’s for the joyous event, and were escorted by the Wayne Police to their new temple. After only a year, the dream of the six families who had met at the Moschella house had become a reality.
Rev. Berquist and his wife retired in March of 1977, and Rev. Richard FOGEL, along with his wife Waltraud, took over as pastor in April. In March, 1979 the Calvary Temple became formally affiliated with the State and National Assembly of God organization, and membership continued to grow. By 1980, the 200-seat facility was inadequate to hold the 500-member congregation, and in December it was decided to break ground for an addition which was completed in June 1981, and dedicated in October.
Attendance grew to 1,000 people in 1985, resulting in a search for a larger piece of property. An eleven and a half acre tract of land on Preakness Ave owned by Louis VAN STYNE on Preakness Avenue became available, and through the “Exalt the Rock” program, money was raised to be put toward a mortgage. Construction of the present temple began in December 1988, and the first Sunday service was held on June 3, 1990. Once again, a police escort preceded the service, as members met at the old Alps Road site and drove in a two-mile long convoy to the new facility on 1111 Preakness Avenue. The final dedication took place on September 16, 1990.
CHABAD CENTER – LUBAVICH (Office) 19 Bristol Place, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-6274
CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (45 Urban Club Road, Wayne, NJ 0747 (973) 694-0787 or (973) 694-5700)
In 1998, the parish of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated its 35th anniversary. The history of the church goes back to October 16, 1962, when the Most reverend James J. NAVAGH was named Bishop of Paterson by Pope John XXIII, succeeding Bishop MC NULTY, who went on to serve in Buffalo, New York. Bishop Navagh arrived on May 8, 1963, with initial plans to investigate communities he believed could become future parishes, including those in Wayne Township.
The Wayne Parish can trace its heritage back to Father Thomas GIBLIN, O.F.M., pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, who contacted Bishop Navagh requesting permission to construct a second parish elementary school in Wayne. The result was the combining of territory from St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s in Prospect Park, which founded the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. Father Joseph T. Ducas was named the first pastor, and a house he obtained on 37 Mountain Ridge Drive was used as a daily Mass chapel. Sunday Mass was celebrated at De Paul High School.
In July of 1964, the MC BRIDE family of Paterson, through their Urban Farms Corporation, made a gift to the diocese of ten acres of land in the new residential community being developed off Hamburg Turnpike. Five additional acres were purchased by the diocese, and the site for the Annunciation parish was established on 45 Urban Road. The first Baptism of John Carl RASO, took place in 1964, as did the first marriage between William and Marianne SPANG. Two years later, current pastor Father Stanley SCHINSKI was appointed. The new Parish Center was dedicated by Bishop CASEY in 1968, and the First Mass was celebrated in the church. In 1971, Father Dan MURPHY and Sister Jean REDMOND, O.P., joined as associate pastor and DRE, and in 1981 Father Tom TRAPASSO arrived to serve as co-pastor with Father Schinski. Sister Mary (Lisa) FEIGEN, O.P., began are DRE in 1983, and one year later Fathers Schinski and Trapasso were invested as Prelates of Honor to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.
Father John Andrew CONNELL joined the church in 1985, and renovation of the structure began in 1987, when the stained glass window was installed. Charles V. TENGA was ordained as Premanent Deconate in 1993, the same year that marked the arrival of Father Charles PARR. In 1995, Andrew KOSTIC was ordained to the Present Deconate, Father Absalom COUTINHO arrived as Parochial Vicar, and Sister Eleanor MCFADDEN became DRE. Patricia CHAPPELL became CRE in 1997.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS (17 Van Duyne Ave., Wayne, NJ (973) 696-1065)
As the first Roman Catholic Church in Wayne, the origin of Holy Cross can be traced back to 1925, when the Franciscan Friars of St. Bonaventure’s Monastery in Paterson established the Holy Cross Mission. Meetings were held in a brick building formerly belonging to the DE HART family on Fayette Avenue, and Father Marcellus COLEMER, Order Friar minor, said the first Mass on November 8, 1925. The first Confirmations also took place in November, and January of 1926 saw the first Baptisms in the mission, when James W. ROE (the brother of Congressman Robert Roe), Edith Mary KEMP, and Loretto T. FLYNN, were baptized. The first marriage, between Thomas COSTELLO and Anna GILLESPIE, took place during September of that same year.
Rev. Luke PANFOERDER, O.F.M., became pastor in 1929, and the parish became incorporated. Rev. Gerald MC GLYNN, O.F.M., took over in 1932, and in 1934, the cornerstone was laid for the present church on Van Duyne Avenue and Route 23. At that time, Holy Cross consisted of 468 parishioners (93 families).
Rev. Panfoerder returned for another stint as pastor from 1938-1940, and was succeeded by Rev. Harold BLAKE, O.F.M. Msgr. Edward J. SCULLY became the first Diocesan priest of the parish in 1944, and served as pastor until 1959. During his tenure, an extension was added to the church and the Hold Cross School, the first Catholic school in Wayne, was founded in 1950. The first graduating class was in 1953.
Msgr. Scully was followed by Rev. James DOHERTY (1959-1966), Rev. Francis P. MC GOWAN (1966-1967), Rev. James J. DONNELLY (1967-1969), Rev. Eugene R. SCHWEITZER (1969-1975), in the succession of pastors. In 1972, John TIMMERMAN and William ABBOTT, S.J., became the first to be ordained to the Priesthood from Holy Cross.
The present pastor of Holy Cross is Rev. John M. HEEKIN, was appointed in December of 1975 and assumed the responsibilities of leadership on January 25, 1976.
CROSSROADS BIBLE CHURCH (270 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-3157)
GRACE UNITED PREDBYTERIAN CHURCH (981 Preakness Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 942-3095)
The Grace United Presbyterian Church traces it ancestry back to the United Presbyterian Church of Paterson which was founded in 1851 by Scottish immigrants. Located on Smith Street, the former church was demolished in the early 1970’s by the Paterson Redevelopment Authority to make way for a parking lot. The present church on 981 Preakness Avenue was designed like its predecessor.
Built in 1974 on five acres of land that used to be a goat farm owned by the DE GROOT family, the church accommodates children as well as adults in its two-story structure. The top floor housed the sanctuary and fireplace room which is used for socializing after worship. On the bottom floor are facilities designed especially for children, including a nursery and toddler room. Sunday School rooms, an office, a kitchen, and space for church events can also be found on the lower level.
The Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2001. The present pastor is Rev. Dr. Gary Alan RICART.
GREEN PASTURES PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (12 Lake Trail, East, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 305-8827)
One of the newest organizations in Wayne Township, Green Pastures has held services for the past five years (since 1994) in the home of Pastor Soon Zeung LEE on 12 Lake Trail East.
IMMUCULATE HEART OF MARY (580 Ratzer Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-3400)
LAKELAND UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP (231 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-7642)
In early 1962, Wayne residents Wilma and Joseph WOLF and Marie SPINHOVEN placed an advertisement in a local newspaper seeking the repose of those interested in forming a liberal religious group. After receiving 34 responses, the Lakeland Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was incorporated on October 21, 1962. Meetings took place in rented and borrowed facilities until 1966 when the PARISH House on 231 Parish Drive was purchased from Dr. & Mrs. Frederick A CRACCO.
The Parish House, one of the oldest in Wayne Township was built by Jacob K. MEAD in 1780 and later owned by Cornelius R. JACOBUS. In 1923, the house was purchased by Le Grand PARISH and extensive additions took place. Described as a 28-room mansion, guests included such notables as President and Mrs. Herbert HOOVER.
The first minister of the Fellowship was Rev. Raymond J. POINTER, who served for ten years.
ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE HOLY RESURRECTION (285 French Hill Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 696-6572)
On May 21, 1989, the 25th anniversary of the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in was celebrated by a parish that has come a long way in a quarter century. From a beginning where meetings were held in various public buildings throughout Wayne, the church now consists of a rectory, a children’s school (grades K-7) and a pre-school class, a choir, and many group activities that are designed to bring people together.
The history of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection goes back to February 7, 1964, when a group of Orthodox Christians met at the Little Falls home of Mr. and Mrs. John KOSACHOOK to discuss the possibility of establishing a parish in Wayne Township. The group met with Rev. John NEHREBECKI for guidance, and petitioned the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Ireney, for his blessing. At a third meeting two weeks later, it was decided to dedicate the parish in honor of the Feast of the Holy Resurrection, and those in attendance, John and Mrs. KOSACHOOK, William KOSACHOOK, Stephen SHARK, Barbara SHARK, Nicholas and Mrs. SHARK, John and Mrs. VASSILOWITCH, William and Mrs. MARSHALL, and Marion FARNESE became the founders, or steering committee, of the new parish.
On April 12, 194, an open meeting conducted by Father Nehrebecki took place at Neil’s Restaurant in Riverdale attended by local Orthodox Christian families. On October 18, 1964, Rev. Alvian SMIRENSKY was assigned as pastor, and a church school was organized. By May of 1965, the parish had grown to 19 families with 30 children, and the first parish council was elected and installed on June 14. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Wayne Community Fire House on August 23, 1965. In August of 1966, the Myrrh-bearing Women Sisterhood was formed, with Dorothy GEEZA as first president.
Services were moved to the American Legion Hall in Mountain View, then to the PAL building on Valley Road, where parishioners continued to meet until the present church was build on 285 French Hill Road. A contract for property had been signed on May 11, 1965, and a rectory and temporary chapel were built by August 24, 1966. However, financial problems beset the new parish, and Father Smirensky sought secular employment in an effort to reduce financial responsibilities related to his ministry. Father Paul KUCYNDA, a senior year student at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, became the interim pastor, and Mrs. Nicholas Shark replaced the original choir director, Michael PILAT, who was moving out of town.
Father Kucynda, who was ordained on January 7, 1968 at Holy Virgin Cathedral in New York City, was appointed as rector in May of 1968, and serves as pastor of the church at the present time, with the support of Matushka BARBARA and their son, Timothy. On November 17, 1968, ground was broken for the church building, and construction was completed on May 18, 1969. The final dedication of the church took place on September 13, 1969, with Metropolitan Ireney, Father Kucynd, and Father Nehrebecki in attendance. Additional property was purchase in July of 1988.
OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION (1799 Hamburg Tpke., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 839-3444)
OUR LADY OF THE VALLEY (620 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-4585)
To see the modern complex that today houses Our Lady of the Valley Church and School on 620 Valley Road, it is difficult to imagine a two-lane dirt road bordered by farmland that served as major thoroughfare. However, that was the way Valley Road was in the early 1950’s, and where the church and school stands were once cornfields. By the 1960’s, Wayne Township began to grow in leaps and bounds, and farms were being replaced by housing developments and shopping centers. Since the church of the Holy Cross on Route 23 and Van Duyne Avenue was the only Roman Catholic church in the town, parishioners in the Preakness area saw the need for an additional house of worship that would be closer to home, which was the beginning of Our Lady of the Valley.
Prior to 1962, parishioners met for Mass at Wayne High School (now Wayne Valley High School) which was the only public high school in Wayne Township at the time, before Wayne Hills was built. Father RUGEL, along with the early parishioners, pursued the means by which a permanent building could be constructed to house the ever-growing number of faithful, and the cornfield on Valley Road turned out to be the site. To raise money to build the new facility, Christmas trees were sold on the lot and carnivals were held there in the spring.
On September 30, 1962, Bishop MC NULTY dedicated the new church and held the first Mass. The new building seated 800 people, and five baptisms took place that afternoon. The first wedding in Our Lady of the Valley was on October 14, 1962, and the first choir was led by Dan COLEMAN. The school which had already been in session, had an enrollment of 215 students who were taught by four Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. The present rectory building used to be the convent for the Sisters. Msgr. James O’Rorke is the present pastor.
PACKANACK COMMUNITY CHURCH OF WAYNE (120 Lake Drive, East, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-0608)
In 1946, the Rev. Jacob CUNNINGHAM began a survey of residents in the Packanack Lake area of Wayne to determine interest in forming a new congregation. As a result of Rev. Cunningham’s work, the Packanack Community Church was founded on the faith that people of varying religious backgrounds can worship and have fellowship together in one Christian community. The first worship service was held in the Packanack Lake Clubhouse in March of 1947, with Rev. Stuart SIMMONS called as the first pastor. The sanctuary was dedicated in 1951, followed by the Christian Education Building in 1958.
Nine pastors and several interim pastors have served the church throughout its existence, assisted by associate pastors, educators, church musicians, and office personnel. The present staff includes the Rev. John WORTHINGTON, Interim Senior Minister, Rev. Richard BATCHELDER, Pastor of Caring Ministries. Rev. Karyn RATCLIFFE, Director of Youth Ministries, Lee HOYER, Director of Music, and Lillian GIGLIO, and Claire BROWN, Office Staff.
The congregation-sponsored Packanack Cooperative Nursery School was organized in 1951, and serves 118 children in a variety of pre-kindergarten programs, directed by Bettyann ACKER. The church became a congregation of the United Church of Christ in 1972, and membership is open to any person who is able to affirm the “Covenant of Packanack Community Church.”
PEQUANNOCK REFORMED CHURCH IN WAYNE (530 Newark Pompton Tpke., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-3424)
The history of the Pequannock Reformed Church in Wayne can be traced back to 1853 and a Reformed Church mission Sunday School which held meetings in a schoolhouse on the corner of Newark Pompton Turnpike and Black Oak Ridge Road. After the current property on 530 Newark Pompton Turnpike was purchased in 1898 and the present sanctuary built in 1900, the church became known as the Pequannock Chapel. In 1927, the name was changed to The First Reformed Church of Pequannock, having been officially organized as an independent congregation of the Reformed Church in America. The church was later named the Pequannock Reformed Church in Wayne.
Rev. Dr. A. MAC CRACKEN was called to be the first pastor in 1928, and he was following in 1931 by Rev. William VANDER BORGH. The succession of Pastors includes Rev. George BERENS (1951), Rev. Warren MARTENS (1960), Rev. Gordon ROBINSON (1964), and Rev. Nolan and Phyllis PALSMA (1981). The present pastor, Rev. Ronald M. FRANKLYN, took over in 1991.
Over the years, there have been several building and remodeling projects associated with the church, one of the most significant taking place in 1962, when the office building, nursery school, and Fellowship Hall were built. The first parsonage was located on Black Oak Ridge Road, the second on Newark Pompton Turnpike, and the third on Sandra Lane.
Opportunities for involvement and service at the Pequannock Reformed Church in Wayne include the Children’s Worship Center program, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group, Couples Club, Women’s Organization, and choir. Activities such as community soup luncheons and a Children’s Christmas Far take place during the year.
PREAKNESS BAPTIST CHURCH (1441 Ratzer Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 956-0086)
The growth of the Preakness Baptist Church in Wayne coincides with the growth of the township itself, which began changing from a farming community to a suburb in the 1950’s. Among those who moved to Wayne during this period were six families from the Calvary Baptist Church in Clifton, who settled in the Preakness area. seeing the opportunity for a new Mission outreach, members of the Clifton church pledged to provide funds for a house of worship in Preakness during a service in March of 1953.
The new Preakness Baptist Church held its first Sunday service on January 15, 1955, at a temporary location on Hamburg Turnpike known as “The Maples.” Robert A. FISHER, a student at Eastern Baptist Seminary, had been called to serve the congregation of 11 adults and nine children, while the search for a permanent house of worship resulted in the purchase of property on Hamburg Turnpike that contained living quarters and a large barn. The house, known as the ROAT homestead, was converted for use as a Sunday School and pastor’s home, and the barn was remodeled for use as a church. The first anniversary Charter Sunday was celebrated on January 15, 1956, when 50 members signed the Preakness Baptist Church charter. The church building was dedicated on October 2, 1956.
The congregation continued to grow during the remainder of the decade, and late in 1960, Rev. Paul D. EPPINGER was called to replace Pastor Fisher, who resigned to answer the call of Home Missions in El Salvador. By Easter Sunday of 1963, attendance numbered 444 in a structure capable of seating only 300 people, so four acres of land were purchased on Ratzer Road and plans made to construct a larger facility. Groundbreaking for the present church on 1441 Ratzer Road took place on April 16, 1972, during the ministry of Rev. Lloyd H. KENYON, who had taken over the pastorage on November 24, 1968.
Pastor Kenyon announced his retirement on October 3, 1993, and Herbert W. DORFMAN was called to serve as “Interim Minister” before being called as One Pastor in October, 1995. At the present time, he is the leader of a pastoral team consisting of Jane HARLAN, Jan SIVERTSEN, and Nancy MC DONNELL.
PREAKNESS BIBLE CHURCH (1108 Preakness Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 942-8833)
The Preakness Bible Church had its beginnings with The Preakness Community Church and a fellowship group that banded together in 1930, using the Lower Preakness School as a meeting place. The first Sunday service was held in June, 1930, with 95 people attending in the morning and 116 in the evening. Incorporation proceedings, under the direction of Pastor Alex PAXTON, also began in 1930. Pastor Cornelius STAM took over in 1932, and served for 13 years.
Relocation problems began in 1936, when the old school house was condemned by the township. Aaron LAAUWE, a charter member of the fellowship, donated a parcel of land on the corner of Preakness and Laauwe Avenues (which was a short distance from the school house), and a 30×60-foot frame building with a full basement was constructed. The cornerstone for this building was laid on Thanksgiving morning, 1937.
Leroy DERITY became pastor in November of 1944, and served until February of 1946, at which time William HEINZE assumed the duties until July, 1948. A second parcel of land was added to the church, and Frederick MITCHELL was called in February, 1949, to take over as pastor. In his three year term, a parsonage was built and a third parcel added. A garage and rear entrance were added to the building during the ministry of Pastor Vernon SCHULTZ, who served from 1952 to 1959.
The church went for some time without a pastor, until Ryan ANDERSON arrived from Indiana in October, 160, and his ministry continued until July of 1969. Over that time, further expansion and remodeling of the building took place, as Wayne Township continued its transformation from a rural community to a suburban population of approximately 40,000. James BOECK was pastor from August 1969 to December 1976, followed by Pastor Calvin BODEUTSCH in early 1977, when adjoining property was purchased for a parsonage.
The next pastor for the Preakness Bible Church was Dennis KIZONES (1983-1986), and he was succeeded by Wayne BICKEL (1986 to December, 1992), Terry ALLISON (February 1993-February 1995), and Jason CHILDS (June to November 1996). Local ministers filled the pulpit for a time, and at the present Interim Pastor Ronald ROMBOUGH is serving a church that prides itself on developing friendships, various programs for children, and numerous social activities.
PREAKNESS CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH (480 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 628-1313)
PREAKNESS REFORMED CHURCH (131 Church Lane, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-5481)
The Preakness Reformed Church, 131 Church Lane, was founded in 1798 on land deed by Edo MERSELIS. The church is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year (1999) by holding worship services led by former pastors, brunches are scheduled, as is a jazz concert, and outreach programs are underway such as the garage sale to benefit Paterson’s Dawn Treador School Library Fund. The celebration will culminate with a Homecoming worship service and a brunch at The Brownstone in Paterson.
The cemetery on the church grounds goes back many years, with the oldest headstone being that of Mrs. MERSELIS, who died in 1799. Familiar historic names can also be found, such as ACKERMAN, BERDAN, DEMAREST, DOREMUS, GARSIDE, HINCHMAN, HOPPER, POST, RYERSON, and VAN RIPER. Also buried in this cemetery are five DOTTERWEICH children, who drowned on December 13, 1874, within sight of their parents, on an ice pond located off the old Paterson Hamburg Turnpike between what was known as the ALLEN place and Green Brook Farm. The unfortunate occurrence was one of the worst tragedies in the history of the township.
A two-volume book entitled “Preakness and the Preakness Reformed Church, A History,” describes the growth of the church along with the changes taking place in Wayne throughout the years. Volume I, which covers from 1695 until 1902, was authored by Dominie George Warne LABAW, who spent the longest time as pastor of the church, serving from 1889 until his death in 1927. Rev. Albert A. SMITH, who was pastor from 1967 to 1986 wrote Volume II, which covers 1900-1990.
Over 200 families now make up the congregation for the Preakness Reformed Church. Rev. Dennis TE BEEST is the current pastor, with Rev. Mary MARCUS as associate pastor.
ST. MICHAEL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH (1219 Ratzer Rd., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-1026)
Prior to the construction of the present church on 1219 Ratzer Road, services were held in the Wayne Valley High School cafeteria for the St. Michael’s congregation. The first regular service took place on March 17, 1957, and was conducted by Rev. Robert CASTLE and Rev. Chester E. FALBY, with 44 people in attendance. St. Michael’s was organized as a mission in May, 1957, and Rev. William H. STRAIN became the first resident clergyman on June 14 of that year. The new church building was completed in October of 1959. Rev. Frederick GUTEKUNST became the next senior pastor of St. Michael’s in 1968, and served for 22 years. During this time, many healing services, conferences, and Prayer Ministries were initiated, and have been carried on by the present pastors, Rev. John DONNELLY and Rev. Ellen DONNELLY, who were called in 1991.
ST. TIMOTHY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH (395 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-8316)
The history of the church dates back to October 23, 1956, when a small group of dedicated Lutherans met to discuss the formation of a new congregation in Wayne. On May 12, 1957, the first worship service was held at the Preakness School, and by the end of that year there were 99 charter members enrolled. Rev. Carl BRINK was called as the first pastor on December 8, 1957. Purchases during the year included a new parsonage and property on 395 Valley Road for the building of a church.
With rapid growth of the assembly, services were moved to Anthony Wayne Junior High School on Valley Road. After the resignation of Rev. Brink, Robert O. COLLICK took over as pastor on March 8, 1959, and ground was broken for the church on March 13, 1960. This first church, now known as Fellowship Hall, was dedicated on November 6, 1960, but soon became inadequate to hold the growing membership. Ground was broken for the present sanctuary on September 7, 1965, and the new St. Timothy Lutheran Church was dedicated on November 6, 1966, exactly six years after the first structure was dedicated.
Pastor Collick resigned in 1978, and was replaced by Gordon N. Odmark, who was installed on October 7, 1979. During Pastor Odmark’s 16-year tenure, the original parsonage was sold, and the church became known for its musical excellence, under the direction of Anita BONTIKOE. Rev. Robert M. MOUNTENAY became pastor in March, 1996, and with his family took up residence in a new parsonage that was purchased on February14, 1997.
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH (218 Ratzer Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 696-5645)
The earliest recorded meetings for the church that is now located on 218 Ratzer Road took place from 1917 to 1934 in the German Seventh Day Adventist Church on North 8th and Temple Street in Paterson. A larger church was purchased on North 2nd Street and Haledon Avenue, and worship continued at this facility until 1973, when the decision was made to move to a more suburban area.
After several years of searching, the 7/8-arce piece of property on Ratzer Road was purchased, and ground was broken for the new church on March 21, 1976. Wayne Mayor Newton MILLER was present at the ceremony. Membership for the Seventh Day Adventist Church now totals 175, and Tony RIVERA is the present pastor.
SHOMREI TORAH – THE WAYNE CONSERVATIVE CONGREGATION (30 Hinchman Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 696-2500)
The Wayne conservative Congregation began in 1973 with a small group of local residents, all members of Temple Emanuel in Paterson, who wanted to have a synagogue and Hebrew school that was closer to home. At first, meetings were held in homes of the founding members while a search for a suitable building took place, until members of the Camp Veritans organization made their facility available to the fledgling group. The Abrash Cottage at Camp Veritans had a stage that could be used for High Holiday services, and the secretarial and nursing offices proved to be adequate shelter for a Hebrew School.
As the congregation grew in membership, meetings were held in the public library, junior high schools, and the Union Camp facility. The next temporary home turned out be a restaurant on the corner of Church Lane and Hamburg Turnpike that had gone out of business and the property bought by a bank; however, the bank could not take immediate occupancy, and the congregation was allowed to use the building for a year, which also protected the otherwise-unoccupied structure from vandalism.
In 1975, land on 30 Hinchman Avenue was purchased, and the shed that was on the property was used for a sanctuary and for meetings, while school was held at Schuyler Colfax Junior High School. Carl ASTOR became the congregation’s first part-time Rabbi when the property on Hinchman Avenue was obtained, and he later served in full-time capacity. Rabbi Astor was followed by Rabbi Jeffrey SEGELMAN, Rabbi Richard EISENBERG, and the present Rabbi, Randall MARK. During Rabbi Segelman’s term, the name was changed to Shomrei Torah – The Wayne Conservative Congregation, which in Hebrew means “Guardians of the Torah.”
A campaign to raise funds for a new building on the Hinchman Avenue property was initiated and the new synagogue was opened in the fall of 1978, with an extension added for the school. The organization celebrated its 25th anniversary on June 7, 1998.
TEMPLE BETH TIKVAH (950 Preakness Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 595-6566)
The history of Temple Beth Tikvah on 950 Preakness Avenue tell a story of continued growth and expansion. In 1956, 15 families saw the need for a Jewish house of worship and religious instruction in Wayne, and formed the Wayne Jewish Community Center. Services were originally held in the homes of members of the congregation, but as membership grew, it became apparent that a larger facility was needed. The American Legion Hall on Route 23 became the meeting place later in the year, and the school was initiated an enrollment of 40 children. The first “formal” Erev Shabbat service was held on November 18.
In 1957, the congregation associated itself with Reform Judaism and formed an affiliation with the Union of American Hebrew Congregation (Sisterhood). The load of a torah was offered in September, and a new, larger building became available when the Christian Reformed Church on Valley Road and Preakness Avenue gave their facility to the new congregation. Membership numbered 150 families in 1959, when the name Temple Beth Tikvah-House of Hope was chosen.
1960 was a breakthrough year for the temple, as Shai SHACKNAI was welcomed as the first full-time Rabbi. He became the guiding light in shaping the future of the temple, and through his leadership land on Preakness Avenue was purchased and a fund-raising campaign initiated to construct a new building, which was completed three years later. A torah was received from the Daughters of Israel Home in West Orange in 1962, donated in honor of the temple’s first president, Martin RAKITT.
The final dedication of the new building was held in May, 1963, which was also the year the Temple Men’s Club (Brotherhood) and Tikvah Temple Youth groups were formed. Another torah was acquired in 1966, which was later dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Shacknai. In 1967, the temple employed the services of its first and only full-time cantor, Charles ROMALIS.
Expansion of the social hall, kitchen, and school wing took place in 1969, as the temple celebrated its 13th (Bar Mitzvah) year. For his devotion to the temple, Rabbi Shacknai was awarded a life contract; however, his death in November of 1969 added a sad note to a very successful history. Rabbi Israel S. DRESNER took over the pulpit in 1970, and by 1971 the religious school enrollment reached 600 students. Philip Schimmel was retained as the first full-time principal. Further expansion of the temple took place from 1986 to 1990, and in 1992, the temple came full circle when the 36th anniversary year was celebrated. Rabbi Stephen M. WYLEN took over from Rabbi Dresner in 1995. Over the years, Temple Beth Tikvah has come from a humble beginning of a 15-family membership to one of the largest congregations of the state.
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN WAYNE (99 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-3260)
The United Methodist Church had its beginnings in Wayne Township as a Sunday School in 1853, sponsored by the Reformed Church. Meetings were held in a one-room schoolhouse in what is now the American Legion Hall on Mountain View Boulevard, and in 1882 affiliation was made with the Methodist Church. The first church was built one year later, also along the present Mountain View Boulevard, with 27 charger members, and a parsonage was added in 1904.
By 1916, membership had grown to 100 people with over 150 enrolled in Sunday School In order to accommodate the growing congregation, the old building was demolished and a larger facility was constructed on the same site, which later housed Mark Pharmacy (now Rite-Aid).
In 1954, eight acres of land were purchased along Parish Drive, aided by a fund drive conducted by Dr. Robert BRUBAKER. More property was acquired at a later date, giving the church just over 11 acres. The first phase of construction on the present building on 99 Parish Drive was completed in 1957, and in the early 1960’s, when membership grew to 600, a second fund drive, led by Jim LAUGHLIN, resulted in ground being broken for the sanctuary in 194. The church was dedicated on January 31, 1965.
Rev. Edgar ROHRBACH had the longest stint as pastor throughout the history of the church, serving for 27 years (1933-1960). The present pastor is Dr. David E. WILEY, III.
WAYNE CHRISTIAN ASSMEBLY (60 Smith Lane, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 696-7109)
WAYNE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (1200 Alps Road, Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 694-7109)
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