Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Answers to Church Tour questions

The elaborate terra cotta decorations and roof of the Seventh Day Baptist
Church were fabricated by member George Babcock's terra cotta works.
Plainfield saw a number of successful events yesterday.

The TOUR OF PLAINFIELD HOUSES OF WORSHIP sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce drew a good crowd who took the self-guided tour and ended up at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church for a reception. If you were following the questions I posed (see here), here are the answers --

  1. Which congregation got its start on Church Street, though it is no longer there?
    Grace Episcopal Church began in a wooden frame building on Church Street before moving to its present location in 1892.

  2. Which building's site was part of an economic development plan for the city of Plainfield?
    The site for Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church was laid out by Plainfield booster and developer Job Male, who also founded the Plainfield Public Library and was the city's first mayor. Though himself a Unitarian, he was shrewd marketer and envisioned the Presbyterian congregation anchoring his new Crescent Avenue neighborhood.

  3. Which congregation is the 'mother church' of its denomination in Plainfield?
    Mt. Olive Baptist Church is considered the 'mother' of Black Baptist churches in Plainfield.

  4. Which congregation is a merger of two congregations and now located at a third site?
    First Baptist (at Central Avenue and Grove Street) merged with Park Avenue Baptist Church (Prospect and Park Avenues) merged with Stone Baptist and relocated to the present site at Central and West 7th as First-Park Baptist Church.

  5. Which congregation was formerly known as All Souls' Church?
    When its building was completed in 1892, the congregation was organized as All Souls Church; it is the oldest Unitarian-Universalist congregation in New Jersey.

  6. Which congregation houses one of Plainfield's most successful charter schools?
    Shiloh Baptist Church houses the Union County TEAMS Charter School, one of the city's most successful. TEAMS stands for Technology, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Sciene, which are the school's areas of focus.

  7. Which congregation hosts the national headquarters of a church renewal group?
    RENEW International is a ministry devoted to the renewal of parish life in Roman Catholic churches and has its national headquarters in the former convent of St. Bernard and St. Stanlislaus Kostka Church.

  8. Which congregation's cemetery is burying place of some of the area's original settler families?
    Many members of the Vail family, one of the settler families of the Plainfield area, are found in the Burial Ground of the Friends Meeting House on Watchung Avenue, inluding -- surprisingly -- one Friend who fought in the Union Army in the Civil War.

  9. Which building is inspired by a medieval Italian baptistry?
    Plainfield entrepreneur George Babcock was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church who traveled Europe seeking inspiration for their new church home. It is said the twelve-sided building was inspired by an Italian baptistry. Babcock's other contribution still prominent in Plainfield is his home, now the Higgins Home for Funerals (see more here).

  10. Which congregation was involved in creating a service organization for refugees?
    United Presbyterian Church was built in 1954 as First Presbyterian, which was joined in 1972 by the members of Grant Avenue Presbyterian to form United. The church opened its doors and hearts to refugees from the political turmoil of Central America in the 1970s and is the home of both El Centro Hispanoamericano and Iglesia Presbiterian Nuevas Fronteras.
The DOWN HOME BREAKFAST offered by residents of Cedar Brook Apartments nearly ran out of food, and everyone had a grand old time.

The Plainfield Garden Club's SATURDAYS AT THE SHAKESPEARE GARDEN kicked off with enthusiasm (see coverage by Bernice here).

The YMCA's free HEALTHY KIDS DAY drew a crowd of enthusiastic and energetic youngsters and their families for fun and fitness.

The PLAINFIELD SYMPHONY'S 93rd SEASON FINALE CONCERT -- an evening with Verdi -- played to a standing-room-only crowd at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: I think the CofC deserves credit for the tour, and probably, even more, the church people who pulled it off. The tour was wonderful - people very welcoming, special efforts at each: First Park Baptist docents had matching scarves and distributed goodie bags, even as they were preparing their monthly supper for those in need; Crescent Avenue's musical director played the organ; Rector Carolyn Eklund at Grace had her dog Sophie on hand; Shiloh showed videos of liturgical dance as we toured their light-filled sanctuary. Go Plainfield. Food was good, too.

olddoc said...

Dan, if the first Baptist Church was at Central Ave and Grove Street was blocking Front St.??

Dan said...

Caught me, Olddoc! It was at West Front and Grove Streets and later became the Sears building and is now a pharmacy. Thanks for noticing!