Footnotes to Long Island History

CENTEREACH'S HISTORIC CHURCH

OCT 27 1949

by

Thomas R. Bayles


       The congregational church in Centereach which is located on the Middle Country road a few miles east of Smithtown was formed on March 27, 1815, at the home of Jeremiah Wheeler. Ten members made up this first organization, and Azariah Hawkins and Jeremiah Wheeler were elected deacons and Isaac Gould, church clerk.

       On July 12, 1817, Deacon Wheeler and Nathaniel Smith were appointed a committee to draw up plans for a meeting house. This was erected in 1818 on land donated by Deacon Wheeler. The original church building, which is one of the oldest in Brookhaven town is still in use. The burying ground surrounding the church was started about the same time the church was built.

       The building at first was used not only by the Congregational society, but also the Presbyterian and Baptists. After a few years however, the Presbyterian group transferred to the Setauket church and the Baptist dwindled away.

       The first pastor was the Rev. Jacob Corwin, and he was followed in 1826, by the Rev. Nathaniel Hawkins who served until 1843. Since that time 22 pastor had served this church up until 1930,  when the present pastor, the Rev. Charles e Furman commenced his duties.

       The first Sunday school was organized in 1831, and the church recorded states "There were no question books or lesson helps in those days but chapter after chapter of the Bible was committed to memory."

       On March 5, 1845, the church was incorporated under the name of the "First Congregational Church of New Village." In 1858, several members withdrew to form a church of their own in Farmingville.

        In 1881, a parsonage was built on a lot donated by Rev. Otis Holmes.

       In 1927 a bell was donated by Mr. George Gould and a befry was erected by the people to the church. A dedication service was held on August 21, 1927, by the Rev. Edward Wagner, who was then pastor. During his ministry, a parish hall was erected on the property across the road from the church where the old horse sheds formerly stood.

       The church has been very active through the years and at the present time is under the leadership of Mr. Furman.

       Services are  held every Sunday, with Bible school at 10 a.m., morning worship at 11 a.m. Christian Endeavor at 7:30 p.m. and evening services at 8 p.m. a home prayer meeting is also held each Wednesday at 8 p.m.


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