BOROUGH OF RINGWOOD
CHURCHES

as taken from
"Ringwood Golden Jubilee
1918-1968"

CHRIST THE KING LUTHERAN CHURCH

This history of Christ the King congregation began in April, 1962, when the Rev. Robert C. ELSNER received an assignment from the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, to make a detailed religious survey of the Ringwood area of Passaic County.

The first service of the church was held on Sunday, November 4, 1962, at the E.G. Hewitt School on Sloatsburg Road. The following year, 85 members signed the formal Charter, and Christ the King was then officially organized.

In June 1963, the parsonage at 222 Skylands Road was acquired for the future church building. After much preliminary work by the Building Committee, an architect was selected and plans began forming for the new building.

In July 1967, the groundbreaking ceremony was held. On June 30, this year (1968), Dedication Services were held at the newly built church on Erskine Road. Without question, the church and educational facilities was a huge undertaking for a congregation just five years old. Now, with 189 members, the project is a reality.

CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

The Church of the Good Shepherd has been located at the same site for some 30 years and has been administering to the people living and working in the mine area. The church has made space available since 1965 for Operation Head Start, a federally financed education program for under privileged children.

In addition, the church hall also is made available for many other community functions such as meeting of senior citizens and teen-agers, and tutoring programs for persons seeking to further their education.

The Rev. Alva DECKER, pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd, offers ministry and seeks other ways to meet the need of the people he serves.

(THE) COMMUNITY CHURCH OF RINGWOOD

The Community Church of Ringwood began as the Spirit moved the minds and hearts of a few individuals who thought the Borough should have a Protestant church. Organizational meetings began in private homes during 1952, and in October of that year, the first service of worship was held in the E.G. Hewitt School. The organizing pastor of the congregation was the Rev. Theodore A. RATH who at the time also was serving the Presbyterian congregations of West Milford and Oak Ridge.

The Community Church was formally organized by the Presbytery of Jersey City of the Presbyterian church in February, 1954. The congregation had 112 charger members, and the following persons were elected as ruling elders: Victor KLANG, William OLIVER, David ORDWAY, Douglas PRIDEAUX, Mrs. Lester ROWE, and Mrs. Kingdon SOULE. Three years later, the present church building on Carletondale Road was built, ready for church school classes in the fall of 1957.

The congregation has been served by the following pastors: Theodore A. RATH, Benjamin ARMSTRONG, George PATTERSON, and Douglas PARROTT. The Rev. Dr. Williard D. BROWN of Ringwood also has served the congregation. Currently, the pastor is the Rev. Robert B. STUART, who has been with the congregation since May, 1966. The church now has a membership of just over 300 and is engaged in preliminary plans for the construction of a sanctuary and additional classrooms. In this Jubilee year of Ringwood, the ruling elders of the church are: Jacob BACHMANN, Alton BONNEY, Jr., James CREMONA, Edward COENEN, Mrs. Florence GOLANKIEWICZ, Mrs. Richard HANNA, Robert GIBSON, Henry MEISNER, Binaldo MONTENEGRO, Paul NAGEL, Mrs. David ORDWAY, and Arnold WERLAU.

(THE) RINGWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH

The Ringwood Baptist Church is a conservative, evangelical, and autonomous Baptist testimony. Its first service was held before 60 persons in the Robert Erskine School on August 9, 1964. On September 6, 1964, the Church held its first service in its present location, 30 Carletondale Road. The Rev. Larry MCGUILL was its first pastor. Charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. Alex DE BLOCK, Mr. and Mrs. John KIDD, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond NIGHTINGALE, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley SORENSON, and the Rev. and Mrs. Larry MCGUILL.

Under Pastor McGuill’s leadership, the church grew rapidly, necessitating the building of the adjoining chapel. Work began in late October, 1964, and the first service was held in this chapel Thanksgiving night, November 26, 1964. Pastor McGuill resigned in May 1965, and the Rev. Melvin DAHL of Ringwood became its interim pastor. In October, 1965, the Rev. Richard R. KRUEGER accepted the call of the church and began his ministry on January 16, 1966.

The membership of the church has more than doubled in the last 2-1/2 years. The Chapel has been enlarged to accommodate approximately 200 people.

The church has a choir of 15 members under the direction of Mrs. Charles HAYS; a Sunday School with Mr. Allan BLEECKER as superintendent; a Deacon Board of six men; Alex DE BLOCK, Charles HAYS, Ronald MILLER, Raymond NIGHTINGALE, Leslie STRICKLAND, and John SCHIMMER, chairman; a Youth Group with David WHITEFORD as sponsor, a Women’s missionaides Group with Mrs. Ethel STRICKLAND as president; a Bible Club directed by Fred MOLLENKOTT, and a nursery and Childrens Church.

ST. CATHERINE’S CHURCH

The first priest to enter the Ramapo Valley to administer to the Catholic families came from Philadelphia on horseback in 1870. He was Father Peter DERMIS, and Mary and Harrison DEGRAW made him welcome in their home at all times. He was followed by Friar Bonaventure JAHN in 1876 who made the trip six times a year to attend to the spiritual welfare of Ringwood Catholics.

In 1880, Ringwood was committed to the regular charge of the Franciscan Fathers who had established a chapel in Butler. Coming from this chapel, Farther ALBERT, OSF, founded a mission in Ringwood. services were held in a Protestant church which had been build by Abram HEWITT for the people of Ringwood. The premises had been offered and people of all faiths took a keen interest in the Catholic services by assisting in the preparation of the building; some stayed to attend the services.

A census taken by Father FABIAN in 1916, revealed that there were 350 Catholics in Ringwood and permission was requested and subsequently granted to establish a church. With contributions and material donations, and 100 square feet of land donated by Charles E. HEWITT & Co., the building of the Church began on March 31, 1917, on a tract located on Margaret King Avenue.

About 400 people attended the ceremony of the cornerstone on June 10. A Polish band from Passaic furnished the music and hymns were sung in English and Polish. The formal opening day was September 2, 1917, and the Church was named St. Catherine of Bologna upon request of one of the lady donors. Throughout the ensuing years, many improvements were made.

Under Father KIERAN’s pastorship, the status of Ringwood was raised from a mission to a parish in 1945. The parish boundaries extended for 49 square miles--to Sloatsburg, Wanaque, Wyckoff, and Greenwood Lake. Father John BERCHMANS arrived in September 1947. He was to carry on his duties with such zeal and love that many senior citizens still speak of him with great reverence.

Under his guidance, the Holy Name Society, Rosary Society, and the CYO were established. He saw the need for a Catholic school for the children of the parish and after a three-week deadline, he opened a temporary schoolhouse on September 13, 1948. This he did with the help of The Very Reverend Mother Veronica, Superior General of the Capuchin Sisters at Mt. St. Francis, who offered the facilities of the Convent and the teaching abilities of her nuns. There were 34 students in the class. By the end of the year, a four-room building was built adjoining the church at a cost of $10,000. Sixty-nine pupils entered the new school in February 1949.

The number of the parishioners kept increasing and the small church building and school were far from adequate. It was Father John’s dream to build a permanent school and church for his flock.

This day Father John had worked towards so unceasingly was Sunday, September 6, 1953. Archbishop BOLAND of Newark came to Ringwood to bless the newly built red brick building which now stands on a knoll at the corner of Skyline Drive and Erskine Road. The 210-foot long building was the new St. Catherine’s School and temporary church for the 225 Catholic families in Ringwood.

Four rooms were extensively completed for use as classes; in the remaining unpartitioned space (future classrooms), Mass and services would be conducted. The building was valued at $325,000.

In 1955, Father Donatus WALSH was appointed pastor and served for 12 years until the summer of 1967. The present spiritual leader is Father Angelus DEMARCO who already had the school renovated to include a library. On Easter Sunday, 1968, ground was broken for a new friary adjacent to the church and school.

St. Catherine’s school has approximately 450 students and there are now 950 families registered as parishioners.

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