History of the
First Reformed Church of Amsterdam
Material Generously Donated by
Deacon, First Reformed Church, Amsterdam, NY
This is a history of the First Reformed Church of Amsterdam that was prepared
for the 150th Anniversary celebration last Fall. This church was
originally called the First Reformed (Dutch) Church of Port Jackson.
Port Jackson is now part of the 5th ward of Amsterdam.
Old photo of the church before the addition was put on.
(click on picture for a larger version)
One hundred fifty plus years ago in the early months of the year
1850 several families met to discuss the lack of a nearby place of worship.
After much consideration it was decided to hold services in the schoolhouse
and make plans for erecting a church building. The founders obtained
a parcel of land from Cornelius Van Buren and started construction of a
house of worship. For that small group of founders a long awaited dream
was fulfilled and no longer would these Dutch and Scottish families have
to make the long and often cold Sunday journeys to such distances as Fort
Hunter, Minaville, or across the Mohawk River by boat to Amsterdam. The
faith of a small but determined group of men and women were given substance
as a building rose on a small parcel of land in Port Jackson, New York.
Before itís completion, the congregation was received into the Classis
of Montgomery of the Reformed Dutch Protestant Church on September 17,
1850. The consistory was ordained and installed by the Rev. Van OíLinda
of the Fonda Church. The year was climaxed with the dedication on December
19, of the new sanctuary, built at a cost of $2,915 and the ordination
and installation of the first pastor, the Rev. Garret L. Roof. On February
8, 1851, the first communion service was held when in addition to the three
elders and two deacons of the consistory, twenty members were received
The Sanctuary Decorated for Christmas
(click on picture for a larger view)
The First Reformed (Dutch) Church of Port Jackson is today the First
Reformed Church of Amsterdam. The original structure was enlarged
and repaired at a cost of about $9,000 in 1884-1885. The pipe organ
at a cost of $1,700 was installed in 1893. In 1900, the parsonage
was rebuilt and stands as it was then. In 1927 the Sunday School Chapel
was added to the church to accommodate a growing Sunday school membership
and the clapboard church was stuccoed at the same time. The Dean Memorial
Chimes were added in 1945.
In its 150 years, 28 pastors have served the church as the ordained
minister or stated supply. The pastorate of the Rev. Joshua R. Kyle,
from January 1, 1881, until June 27, 1926, far outdistances all others
in length. But the names of his successors would surely evoke memories
of equally dedicated men who have stood in the pulpit or by the bedside
witnessing to the love and power of God.
The Stained Glass Windows Behind the Alter in the Sanctuary
(click on pictures for a larger view)
Not only has Port Jackson become what is now known as the Fifth Ward,
Amsterdam, but the Fifth Ward has recorded many changes over the years.
The fortune of the First Reformed Church has registered the changes with
declining membership over the past two decades. The present congregation,
small in number, remains dedicated to continuing a ministry in the Fifth
Ward, hopeful that anticipated new growth on the south side of the river
will reverse current trends. In the meantime, the membership remains
loyal in worship and support and eager to serve wherever possible.
The church has served as the meeting place of the Missionary Society organized
in 1883; the Ladies Aid Society formed in 1898; and the Motherís Club formed
in 1916; these three organizations were combined to form the Womenís Guild
for Christian Service; and until just recently the Fifth Ward Senior Citizens
Club. It has actively participated in the cooperative programming
of the Amsterdam Area Reformed Churches and looks forward to further use
of its resources for the benefit of its sister churches and the community.
Ministers serving our church since 1850:
Rev. G. L. Roof
Rev. Cornelius Gates
Rev. Isaac G. Duryee
Ref. Henry M. Voorhees
Rev. Abram Switts
Rev. Isaac Duryee
Rev. A. Messler Quick
Rev H. Pettengill
Rev. John Minor
Rev. Joshua R. Kyle
Rev. A. Van Oeveren
Rev. Charles W. Smith
Rev. William K. Haysom Rev.
Barclay B. Fishburn
Rev. Chester A. Moore
Rev. Bert Pennings
Rev. Jack D. Cooper
Rev. Stanley Vandersall
Rev. Jack Elliot
Rev. William Henkel (shared with Florida Reformed)
Rev. James McDonald (shared with Florida Reformed)
Rev. Scott Crane (shared with Florida Reformed)
Rev. Derek DeJager (shared with Florida Reformed)
Between installed ministers we were privileged to have been served by:
Rev. William Boehne, Evert Kruizenga, Rev. Otto Jaeckel, Rev. Egy, and
Rev. Gazel. If anyone has been missed, we deeply apologize for the