Friday, September 7, 2012

Scotch Plains Baptist Church

In 1747, there were fifteen members of the Piscataway Baptist Church living in the area now known as Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The conditions of the land made it very hard for these members to travel from Scotch Plains to Piscataway. The area was still under the dominion of the King of Great Britain.  (The people may have owned the land, but Great Britain still reserved the rights of all property for anything that could be used for the good of Great Britain.) The area of Scotch Plains had just begun to be settled.  There were still no railroads, no post offices, no telegraphs and no stagecoaches as means of communication and travel. For these reasons, the above mentioned sent a request to their church requesting to be dismissed from Piscataway to form a church in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The following is a resolution adopted by Piscataway Baptist Church.
“Whereas in the course of Divine Providence there is necessity of a church to be constituted at the Scotch Plains, in the county of Essex, in the East New Jersey, and some of the members of the Baptist Church at Piscataway in the county of Middlesex and the Providence aforesaid, having their dwelling at and near the said Scotch Plains, and having made application to us, and obtained a grant for permission from us, in order to incorporate themselves into a church; this may certify that William Darby,  Recompense Stanberry, John Lambert, John Dennis, John Stanberry, Henry Crosby, John Sutton Jr., Isaac Manning, Mary Brodwell, Mary Green, Mary Dennis, Tabitha Sutton, Catherine Manning, Sarah DeCamp, and Sarah Perce, when they are regularly constituted into a church according to the gospel order are given themselves up, in a church fellowship are fully and freely dismissed from our church.”
With the permission of the mother church, these early pioneers on August 5, 1747, met for the purpose of incorporating themselves into a church. All of the above mentioned members from Piscataway are believed to have joined themselves with this church, but there seems to be no evidence of Mary Dennis and Sarah Perce becoming members.
The organizational meeting also addressed the need of a church clerk and elders, Samuel Drake became the first clerk, William Darby and Recompense Stanberry were the first ruling elders and also served as deacons.
Shortly after the organization, the church extended a call to Benjamin Miller, a member of Piscataway, to become their first pastor. Bro. Miller accepted the call and was ordained by the Piscataway Baptist Church.  By July 31, 1765, the church had grown to the point that the deacons could no loner properly fulfill their duties. The church added two more deacons, Cabriel Ogdin and Samuel Brooks to aid the other deacons.  Bro. Miller led the church from 1747 until his death in 1781. 
Bro. Miller and his family are buried in the church graveyard on the same grounds as the church house today. Including Bro. Miller, there have been thirty-three pastors along with several men who supplied the pulpit between pastors.

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