When visitors come to First Reformed Church for the first time, they often remark what a warm and heartfelt welcome they receive. Our congregation represents every age group and many different denominational backgrounds, and is involved with serving the community of Hawthorne. Despite being a local church, we have church members from all over Passaic and Bergen counties, and online worshippers from all over the country!
Our church began when eight women organized the “Hawthorne Mite Society” in 1873. The purpose of the “Hawthorne Mite Society” was to collect funds for local Christian work and to meet for spiritual help and comfort. Through donations from many different denominations, this society was able to build a Union Chapel at the current location of the First Reformed Church. Finally, society thought that the building and the people should belong to a denomination in order to continue their ministry.
In 1893, the Union Church of Hawthorne decided to transfer its property and funds over to the Reformed Church in America. Then in 1895, a group of twenty-four people became officially recognized as the First Reformed Church of Hawthorne. The church began to grow as the community of Hawthorne grew under the guidance of Rev. John S. Moore (Pastor from 1929-1962). The church was able to build and add Sunday School rooms and a large Fellowship Hall during this time. At this present time, the First Reformed Church is a very exciting place to be. Recently, we have seen wonderful growth and enthusiasm through our children and the Sunday School program. Talented musicians and vocalists also bring excitement by sharing their gifts in worship leadership.
Above all, we are keenly aware of and thankful for God’s grace and provision. For in 1873, a group of eight women sought to raise funds for Christian work and service and gathered together for spiritual help and comfort. More than a hundred years later, the people of First Reformed Church still gather to raise funds for Christian work and service and gather for spiritual help and comfort.
A community of Faith, Grace, and Love. A Place where ALL are welcome. We aim to be a church that follows in the way, words and works of Jesus by reaching upward, growing inward and looking outward to the needs of others.
Many people often ask what Reformed means. When we talk about the Reformed Church or the Reformed tradition we refer more broadly to “The Church of Jesus Christ Reformed according to the Word of God.” The First Reformed Church of Hawthorne recognizes that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and that the Bible is our ultimate authority for our lives.
The word Reformed also recognizes a part of the Church’s history. During the 1500s, the Church was struggling and had many problems. The Church was holding worship services in a language that the people could not understand, doctrines were declared in which there was no Scriptural authority for, and some of the leaders of the church were abusing the authority they had been given. Then some individuals such as Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli began a Reformation. They sought to reform the Church from their misguided practices. A second-generation reformer was John Calvin who contributed to most of the Reformed beliefs and practices.
John Calvin placed a large amount of emphasis on the Holy Spirit. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that men and women can come to believe in Christ and follow him. The Holy Spirit begins to work in our lives immediately, which is why infants are baptized in the Reformed tradition. The Holy Spirit is also at work in Communion allowing us to commune with our Lord and all the saints. Last, of all, the Holy Spirit is the one who inspires God’s Word. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that we are able to hear and listen to God’s Word.
The Reformed tradition also places a unique emphasis on the wholeness of people. In the Reformed understanding, people are not just souls to be saved. Rather, our bodies, minds, and hearts also need to be restored with God’s love and God’s power. The Reformed tradition believes that God is at work bringing God’s kingdom to fruition here on earth as it is in heaven. We believe that we are called to actively participate in that work.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function - Romans 12:4
Pastor Wes has been officially the pastor of this church since March of 2022. He began his ministry partnership with First Reformed Church Hawthorne as an intern while still a student at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 2019. He is passionate about teaching the fundamentals of our Christian faith and serving the needs of the congregation and community through faithful and purposeful ministry. He has been married to his beautiful wife Sasha since 2015. He lives by the scripture, Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Tristian has been blessed to be the Music Director at First Reformed since 2009 and most recently became the new Deacon of Missions and Outreach. Outside of her duties at FRC, she is a voice teacher in Manhattan for artists of all ages. She couldn’t imagine a more loving and accepting church family to be part of with her husband, Markus, and two young daughters Eva and Ana. Her favorite scripture to meditate on is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Sue Kolk has been the church organist since 1988. She would readily admit that so much has changed musically. Transitioning from traditional music and mainly hymns to contemporary was a challenge. But, it is a challenge she will always embrace. FRCH is her church family; a family that has always been there for her. She too, derives strength from Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
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