A Brief History of CPC
In February of 1954, a group met to see if there was interest in having a Protestant church in town. By April 1, the group had canvassed the town, with the result that a need for such a church was determined, with Presbyterian representing the favored denomination.
The first worship service, conducted by Rev. Delwyn Rayson of the Presbyterian Synod of New Jersey, was held in Deerfield School at the end of April, with 120 adults and 30 children in attendance.
During the summer of 1954, a residence on Garrett Road was purchased for use as a manse.
The formal organization of the Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside occurred on October 10, 1954, with 205 charter members from 105 families. Later that month, Rev. Rayson was installed as the first pastor.
An anonymous donor gave four and a half acres for the building of the church at its current location, and in December 1955 the congregation gathered for the ground breaking for the sanctuary. Just one year later, in December 1956, the congregation gathered again to dedicate the new sanctuary.
The following year, the current manse on the adjoining property on Deer Path was purchased.
Organizations began immediately, with a Chancel Choir, Junior Choir, Carol Choir, Sunday School classes, Junior and Senior High Fellowships, Bible study and adult discussion groups, Women’s Association, Men’s Club, Doubles Club, and Scout Troops all in full swing within the first few years.
With Sunday School classes meeting in members’ homes, on Saturdays, and in double sessions at the church, it became clear that more space was needed, and in September 1959 a new building program began. The new addition added over 4,000 square feet for the Christian Education program and was completed in November of 1960.
In October of 1960, the congregation voted to extend a call to Rev. Elmer Talcott who began his pastorate in January 1961, replacing Rev. Rayson who had accepted a call to a church in Honolulu, HI.
Pianos and a second-hand Wurlitzer organ provided music for services until the magnificent Aeolian Skinner pipe organ was installed and dedicated in May 1968. The second phase of the organ development program was completed in the early 1970’s, resulting in the beautiful and inspirational organ we have today.
The initial Memorial Garden was dedicated in the spring of 1971, and throughout the years additional walls have been added, with careful attention to grading and landscaping, to create a beautiful resting place for the remains of church members and beloved friends. The addition of stone benches and memorial teak benches make the Garden today a peaceful place for prayer and meditation.
Discussion of starting a Day Nursery School to serve the community began as early as 1960. Throughout the years, the fully accredited Nursery School has become a vital resource in the community and a generous partner to the church.
After many dedicated years of service, Rev. Talcott asked for early retirement, planning to use his time to work for peace. Rev. Robert Taylor served as Interim Pastor until September 1, 1986 when Rev. Christopher Belden became the third pastor of Community Presbyterian Church.
In all its 65-year history, the church, vitally aware of its Christian mission, has reached out to serve and witness in the larger community, and, at the same time, has ministered to its members’ spiritual, emotional, and social needs.
In June 2018, Dr. Belden retired after 32 years of dedicated service to the church and the community. In September 2018, Rev. Leigh Gillis came to serve as Interim Pastor, ministering to the congregation and leading the church through the process of calling the next minister of Community Presbyterian Church.
On September 12, 2022, we welcomed our new pastor! Rev. Marcus Lambright joins us as the Designated Pastor from the Presbytery of the Coastlands. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2013, with a Masters in Divinity (Mdiv) and is originally from Ohio. Read more about Rev. Lambright by clicking on this document.
Our facilities are in regular use by local community organizations in the Westfield area. In addition to our Nursery School, the church sponsors the local Boy Scout Troops. We are also pleased to provide space for the local Alcoholics Anonymous group. And, after a hiatus due to the pandemic, we again will welcome the NJ Potters' Guild show and sale once a year - scheduled for November 2023.
Community Presbyterian Church
1459 Deer Path
Mountainside, NJ 07092
Being a community church, CPC offers its facilities and grounds to members and non-members alike for ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, memorial services, etc. The church's beautiful facilities and grounds are serenely suited for such ceremonies. Our wedding policy is below:
A WEDDING is one of the most important events in a person's life! Because of its religious nature, a wedding in the church should be carefully planned and a spirit of reverence should mark the entire service. For a downloadable resource on weddings at CPC, click here.
APPROVAL of the Minister is required before a wedding may be held in the Church, and arrangements should be made with the Administrative Assistant in the Church Office. The couple is expected to meet with the pastor for premarital counseling.
LICENSE- Application should be made for a license at least two weeks before the desired wedding date. The license should be presented to the minister at the rehearsal, the time of which should be arranged with the minister.
Use of Facilities
The Trustees make the use of the church's facilities available to church members as well as community groups and private citizens. Use of the facilities is at the discretion of the Trustees. Please CLICK HERE for the Use of Facilities form (updated November 2022).
Our Church works to meet the needs of its members and to minister to the needs of the community around us. New members are always welcome. We worship together as a community of believers. We support one another’s values and beliefs. We nurture the faith of all our members in a variety of ways including adult Bible education programs, choirs for both adults and children, youth programs, a nursery school and much more!
We are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and are a community church, located Mountainside (near Westfield), NJ, about 25 miles west of New York City.
We are a fellowship of believers who come together to:
- study and learn about God and ourselves
- serve God through serving each other, serving our community
and joining with other Christians to serve the world
Our worship includes Scripture readings, prayers, a children's chat, a sermon and plenty of music.
Christian education at CPC includes Sunday School for all ages, a confirmation class, Youth Fellowship programs, adult Bible Study, our Women's Association, and our Men's Group.
Ministry in our church includes numerous opportunities for mission work both locally, nationally, and worldwide. Ministry to our own members includes taking flowers and Communion to those who are hospitalized, Christmas caroling at the homes of shut in members, food drives, service opportunities, and providing opportunities for fellowship and recreation.
On April 17, 2018, the Session adopted the following Mission Statement:
The mission of the Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside, NJ is to share the joy of God's love and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are inclusive, friendly, encouraging and responsive within our church and the larger community. We amplify God's spirit through vibrant music and fellowship, as well as serving as a meeting house for multiple and diverse organizations. We strive to treat all who join us as family, forming friendships that span generations, promoting a congenial atmosphere. Our ritual of passing the peace also means sharing our love, caring, and blessings to all.
Copyright 2016, Mountainside Community Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved.
Sara Meissner, Clerk
The Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside is in the process of updating this website.
Kindly check back with us periodically for any updates.
Roxann Haggerty, President
Alison Saksena, Vice President
Greg Meissner, President
Laurie Thomas, Vice President
Pastor: Rev. Marcus C. Lambright
Office Administrator: Diann Gropp-Roth
Louise Sgarro, Treaurer
Julie Fristensky, Assistant Treasurer & Financial Secretary
CPC has several working committees which handle a variety of tasks. Each committee is comprised of church and community members who serve on a voluntary basis for terms of one to three years.
Current committee include: Finance, Personnel, Technology, Fellowship, Worship, Outreach, Christian Education, Nominating, and the Memorial Garden. At times, ad-hoc committees are formed to consider and take action on other relevant topics.
If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about a committee, please contact Pastor Marcus by emailing (CPCOfficeAdmin@comcast.net) or calling (908.232.9490) the office.
2022-23: A Church Year in Retrospect
A transcript of the Report presented to the congregation at the June 11th Information Session can be found here. Included in this report are the following: explanation of the Designated Pastor process; positive signs in CPC church life during the past year, with a list of specific events and activities; and acknowledgement of Rev. Lambright’s successful completion of his first year as Designated Pastor.