First Presbyterian Church Cranbury NJ

08512-3112

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Who we are

We are a family of faith that shares the spirit of God in Christ.
We are called to worship the Lord joyfully, to serve with gladness,
To comfort one another and provide fellowship as caring neighbors and friends
Who celebrate the grace of God.

The First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury dates back to 1734. Our Sanctuary, which is on the roster of Presbyterian historic buildings, was built in 1834. The old cemetery behind our church gives history buffs an interesting glimpse of times gone by. We are an active member of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.), the Presbytery of the Coastlands, the Synod of the Northeast, and the General Assembly.

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Location of worship

First Presbyterian Church
22 S Main St
Cranbury, NJ 08512-3112
United States
Phone: 609-395-0897
Fax: 609-860-6352
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Church Pastor

Rev. Hannah Lovaglio
Rev. Hannah Lovaglio
Pastor
22 S Main St
Cranbury, NJ 08512-3112
United States
Phone: 609-395-0897
Fax: 609-860-6352
Download Pastor Rev. Hannah Lovaglio vCard with bio
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Music of the Day

My hope is built on nothing less


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. ...

Denomination

Presbyterian Church



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Affiliations

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)   Edit

Church Website


First Presbyterian Church on Social Media


Christmas Eve worship service 24 December 2020



Facebook Video: Worship April 14 2024




Leadership

Leader Name:
Rev. Hannah Lovaglio   Edit
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Pastor   Edit
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609-860-6352   Edit
Leader Email:
Click here to contact Rev. Hannah Lovaglio   Edit
Leader Bio:
The Rev. Hannah Lovaglio has the fondest memories of growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As a child, Hannah learned to trust in God and God's love at work in the world, made known in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and unfolding still today by the power of the Holy Spirit. At church, Hannah always knew that she belonged, that she was free to make mistakes, to try again, to voice her faith and her doubts, to love and be loved, and to challenge others to do the same.

After graduating from Davidson College in Davidson, NC with a degree in Religious Studies, Hannah moved to South Africa to attend Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, SA where she earned her first Masters of Divinity. Hannah would then work for Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA before earning her second Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She and her husband Michael and their puppy Tiberius moved to Cranbury in 2015, where she served as our Associate Pastor from January 2016 to March 2021. At that time, in God's funny way with things, she was joyfully called, received, and installed as our Senior Pastor.

Michael, who holds her hand and her heart, is called to ministry in his own right working for Catholic Charities in Trenton and as our part time Director of Youth Ministry. Since moving to Cranbury, their family has grown to include two sons, a cat, a bunny, and a much older though not better Tiberius, all of whom love calling Cranbury home.

On her sense of call, Hannah reflects, “Home is a huge part of my sense of call. Clergy wear different marks of the office: a collar, a robe, a stole. The one I identify most with is the stole, because it comes from the tradition of an apron. It is what you wipe your hands off on when they get dirty from doing the work of loving and serving both God and neighbor. I am a pastor, and a homemaker. I want to be a part of creating a church home where everyone knows themselves welcomed and belonging. A place with open doors and open arms, free of pretense and full of joy. When I imagine the kingdom of God, I imagine the best of what a home has to offer: love, promise, foundation, relationship, freedom, and so much more.”   Edit
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Administration

Admin Name:
Sharon Ramkishun   Edit
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Office Manager   Edit
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609-860-6352   Edit
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22 S Main St, Cranbury, NJ
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First Presbyterian Church Service Times

Sunday worship 10:30 a.m. (livestreamed on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FPCCranbury/)

First Presbyterian Church service times last updated on the 17th of April, 2024
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First Presbyterian Church Cranbury Photos




First Presbyterian Church History

The First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury is a "mother church" to many of the churches in our area. Throughout its history, it has been in the vanguard of social progress and mission. It is our hope that our past heritage will inspire and challenge those of this generation who continue to do God's work.

Early Beginnings (late 1600's - 1759) The new building was erected in 1740, south of the brook, on the west side of the road, on the highest point of land in the old cemetery. The location was auspiciously chosen. The village had become a central point in the settlements because of the busy public highway, called King George's Road, which was a post road between New York and Philadelphia . Who knows what well-known heroes of colonial times may have worshipped here? The eighty revolutionary war soldiers buried in Brainerd cemetery behind the Church were certainly among those heroes. That meetinghouse stood for forty-eight years.

It was in 1746 that David Brainerd first worked among the Lenape Tribe in the area. A giant elm stood at the north end of the village, under which some of the Cranbury people heard the devoted missionary speak to converts in the Lenape Tribe. Friendly relations existed between Charles McKnight, the first installed pastor of the Cranbury church, and Brainerd, leading them often to preach for each other.

In 1750, King George II granted a Royal Charter to the congregation. A copy of this charter is on display in the narthex. In 1759 "a parsonage plantation" of 150 acres was secured by a deed for four hundred twenty-five pounds, a considerable sum at the time. The manse that was eventually constructed still stands.

Growth Years (1780's - late 1800's) With the successful completion of the Revolution, the Charter, granted by George II became invalid. Under the new American government, the States were given almost full powers. The State of New Jersey required new charters to be issued and the church complied, obtaining its charter in 1785.

In 1788 a new house of worship was built on the site of the present church sanctuary. Though this particular edifice was rebuilt in 1839, and has since had an addition, there is a good possibility that at least some of the original 1788 foundation exists under the present structure.

With continued growth of the congregation, the church was enlarged again in 1859. The new dimensions were nearly those of today, eighty-four feet in length and fifty-six in width. It also included a new steeple, 137 feet high.

In 1898 a storm blew most of this steeple down, heavily damaging the roof and ceiling of the sanctuary. By the first years of the new century, the present, shorter, steeple was in place and repairs to the interior completed through generous donations from the congregation.

It was in 1838 that a disagreement occurred within the membership of the congregation and part of the membership left First Church to establish another congregation. This became Second Presbyterian Church, and their building was erected on Westminster Place. In 1935, almost 100 years later, the congregations merged again. The Second Presbyterian Church sanctuary was razed and a monument erected on the site. The sexton's house remains as a residence.

Through the years, First Church has "given birth" to several other congregations in the area: Dutch Neck in 1816, Perrineville in 1826, Jamesburg in 1854, Manalapan in 1856, Hightstown in 1857, and Dayton in 1869. Today

On November 8, 1953 a renovated church sanctuary was dedicated. The renovation program was inspired by the historical significance of the Cranbury church. The objective of the restoration of the interior of the church was to embody the architecture and tradition of our Colonial heritage. One of the most significant changes was the replacement of the stained glass windows of nineteenth century fashion with the clear glass that was used in Colonial times. The interior of the church, as you see it today, was largely the result of that effort.

No one dreamed, almost 300 years ago that Cranbury would some day be in the geographical center of what is now the greatest megalopolis in the world: equidistant to New York and Philadelphia, to Boston and Washington. Yet the spirit inherited from the early settlers has not been quenched. According to the provision of the charter granted in 1750, the trustees adopted a seal after their own devise. On the center of this seal is the outline of a tree, representing the burning bush, the symbol of the seal of the Scottish Church , from which many of the people had come. Around it are the words: "Religious Liberty". It is the oldest documented seal of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. The spirit and sentiment of these pioneers lives on, as people continue to worship Christ in this place.

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First Presbyterian Church Historical Photos

The power of Christian prayer "Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian."
Andrew Murray
First Presbyterian Church listing was last updated on the 17th of April, 2024
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