The needler in the haystack.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Houses of Worship Tour Saturday


Terra cotta angels summon all to the Final Judgment.

Plainfield's Chamber of Commerce is hosting a tour exploring several of the community's historic congregations and the buildings in which they worship on Saturday afternoon.

The tour runs from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM and is self-guided. Tickets may be purchased the day of the event at St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church at George Street and Sumner Avenue. Wristbands will be given out which will allow entry to all the buildings on the tours as well as the reception at the end at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. Participants may take their own route and spend time as they wish at each location, where the host congregation will have materials concerning the building as well as the congregation and its history.

Courtesy of Julia Porterfield of Amaker & Porterfield Bus Company, a free bus will be provided for any needing transportation. The bus will pick up passengers at three of the city's Senior Citizen residences between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM and will shuttle them to each location where they will spend approximately twenty minutes per building. The pickup locations are: Cedar Brook Towers, 1272 Park Avenue; Tower West, 601 West 7th Street; and Richmond Towers, 510-520 East Front Street. Bus seating is limited and must be reserved by calling Pat Fields (908) 369-1152.

A tenth congregation, the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Central Avenue and West 5th Street observes Saturday as the Sabbath and will instead be open for visitors on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

This is a great opportunity to visit some of Plainfield's cherished and architecturally significant buildings as well as to learn more about the congregations whose homes they are. The nine congregations open on Saturday are, in alphabetical order --

  • Crescent Avenue Presbyterian
  • First-Park Baptist
  • First Unitarian Society of Plainfield
  • Grace Episcopal
  • Mt. Olive Baptist
  • Plainfield Friends Meeting
  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux/St. Stanislaus Kostka
  • Shiloh Baptist
  • United Presbyterian
  • Seventh Day Baptist (open Sunday)
Though you will be learning a lot about the congregations and their buildings, I have thought of a number of questions you may find interesting. See if you get the answers on the tour -- and check back at Plainfield Today on Sunday for the answers.
  1. Which congregation got its start on Church Street, though it is no longer there?
  2. Which building's site was part of an economic development plan for the city of Plainfield?
  3. Which congregation is the 'mother church' of its denomination in Plainfield?
  4. Which congregation is a merger of two congregations and now located at a third site?
  5. Which congregation was formerly known as All Souls' Church?
  6. Which congregation houses one of Plainfield's most successful charter schools?
  7. Which congregation hosts the national headquarters of a church renewal group?
  8. Which congregation's cemetery is burying place of some of the area's original settler families?
  9. Which building is inspired by a medieval Italian baptistry?
  10. Which congregation was involved in creating a service organization for refugees?
Thanks to the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce and to events coordinator extraordaire Pat Fields for putting this tour together. I'll be looking for you there!




-- Dan Damon [follow]

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