History of the Readington Reformed Church
As the Dutch spread westward through New Jersey, they brought their church with them. The Readington Reformed Church was one of the churches established, approximately three miles east of its current location, along the banks of the North Branch River, and began serving the community in 1719. .
This historic Dutch congregation moved to Readington Village in 1738. The founding pastor was the Reverend Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, progenitor of one of New Jersey’s most famous families. The Reverend Dr. Jacob Hardenbergh served this congregation all through the Revolutionary War when his inflammatory Patriotic sermons caused the British to put a fine of 100 pounds on his head. Hardenbergh went on to become the first President of Queen’s College – Rutgers University today.
As the congregation outgrew its first church in Readington, a larger church was erected. Unfortunately fire consumed this structure, and a third church (this present building) was built in its place in 1864.
The church, with its newly restored tower, is at the heart of the historic village of Readington. Readington Reformed (Dutch) Church is the oldest continuous congregation in Readington Township, and the second oldest congregation in Hunterdon County. The congregation is also one of the oldest in the United States.
This congregation is part of the Reformed Church in America, the oldest Protestant denomination with a continuous ministry in the United States. Growing out of the Reformation in Europe, this denomination, with its roots in the New Testament, was brought to this country by the Dutch. The first Reformed church in the US was established in 1628 in New Amsterdam, which is now called New York City.