Monday, July 19, 2010

291 Years of Ministry Come to an End

The First Presbyterian Church of Orange, a congregation that was organized in 1719, held its final service yesterday. The congregation has been a force in Orange for 250 years. The names on the walls of the church are the same as those on the streets of the city. The tombstones dating back to the colonial era remind us the settlement of the area by Europeans who first arrived in the 1600's. The Presbytery of Newark has put the building on the market. Yesterday's ceremonies closed with an organ concert performed by Anthony Mark Lamort on the church's magnificent organ, with its hundreds of pipes. He closed with an improvisation on the song "Jerusalem." William Blake's plaintive question, "Was Jerusalem builded here, among these dark satantic mills?" might will have been about the church, a glowing sanctuary a edge of an industrial district that produced 4.2 million hats in its heyday.

The Church is an anchor of Orange's Main Street, and keeping the building a strong site is a now a key goal for city leaders.

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