In the Spring right on through the Fall, one might periodically spy a ship called the Half-Moon traveling the waterways of the Hudson River near the shores of the City of Albany. Sometimes it will even dock for people to tour this replica of the ship Henry Hudson and his crew traveled in from the Netherlands. Henry’s mission? To establish ports for trade in the New World for the Dutch East India company. (You can find further information about the Half-Moon Replica at Building & Sailing the “Half Moon” Part 1 – Hudson River Maritime Museum (hrmm.org)) As a result of Mr. Hudson’s explorations, the Dutch set up permanent colonies along shores of the Hudson River, the first being in Fort Orange in 1614 which is now Albany.
As the Dutch settled into this area, they brought with them their church – The Dutch Reformed Church. It is from these deep historical roots where our church’s history begins along with numerous other Reformed churches in this area.
Our congregation is the oldest in East Greenbush, New York. In 1786, the first building to house this newly forming congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church was built. It was a wooden yellow building built on the land of Stephen Van Rensselaer in almost the exact same location where the church stands today. At the time, the small building was surrounded by an iron picket fence with horse blocks nearby so that people could tie their horses and carriages as they gathered for worship.
At first, the services were in Dutch but as time passed and English became more prevalent, the services slowly incorporated more and more English.
Originally, the church was connected with a sister church in Schodack but in 1784 that connection was dissolved, and a Pastor was shared with the Dutch Reformed Church in Wynantskill.
The theological roots of our congregation and denomination date back to the Reformation and a Reformer named John Calvin. John Calvin did much of his work in Geneva where he played a pivotal role in rebuilding the church. He was a contemporary of Martin Luther’s. There are many denominations that share our Reformed heritage including the Presbyterian Church and the Christian Reformed Church.
With our historical roots deeply grounded in East Greenbush and our theological roots in the reformed theology of John Calvin, our church is solidly planted in the rich and wonderful soil the past. Today, we strive to build upon that gift provided to us by the faithfulness of our ancestors as we seek to serve God and God’s people with integrity, passion, faithfulness, and compassion.