Enlisting Disciples for Christ since 1745!
"Indeed, the body does not consist of one member
The First Presbyterian Church of Springfield has been enlisting disciples for Christ for nearly 275 years. In 1745, the 3 families who made up the population of the crossroads settlement at Springfield joined with neighbors from nearby farms to form a Presbyterian congregation. Trusting in God’s providence, this small but devout congregation first built a log church about ½ mile north of the present building. But, as the church grew, they needed more space. So, a second meeting house was completed. That building would be torched by the British before they retreated after their defeat in the June 1780 Battle of Springfield.
During the Revolutionary War, the church sanctuary was used as a warehouse for armaments. And some history suggests that the church’s parsonage was used as General George Washington’s local headquarters. During the Battle of Springfield, it is said that Presbyterian pastor James Caldwell (Chaplain to the Continental Army), realizing that his comrades where running out of ammunition, ran into the church and grabbing the Isaac Watts psalters, tore out pages and gave them to the soldiers to use as wadding for their muskets. While the wording is uncertain, it is said that as Caldwell distributed the psalters, he encouraged the fighters, shouting “Give ‘em Watts Boys” (or, some say, “Put Watts into ‘em, boys!”) You no doubt know Isaac Watts’ most famous hymn, “Joy to the World.”
As a result of a dedicated congregation, a new church building went up in 1791. Using donated materials and volunteer efforts, the building we worship in today was completed. The clear notes of the beautiful church bell could be heard across the farm fields calling the faithful to worship.
In 1905, the State of New Jersey erected a statue of the Continental Soldier on the front lawn of the church on land deeded to the state for the grand sum of $1.00. This statue sits on the grounds of the smallest State Park in NJ, a mere 5’ by 5’.
In an article written in February 2001 by Joan M. Devlin, a staff writer for the Echo Leader, the author spoke of an inescapable feeling when entering our sanctuary. It is the “eerie sense of past mingled into present.”
We don’t necessarily think of the church as eerie. But we do take pride in our heritage and in our commitment to the community over the past 3 centuries. We are intentional about sharing our time, talent and treasure in service to Jesus Christ as a thanksgiving for all the many blessings we receive by the hand of our Creator God.
If you value sustenance and well-being, fellowship in community, an inclusive welcome, engaging worship, motivated learning and nurtured discipleship, we invite you to join us.