By Ellis L. Derry
Long before America’s battle for independence was waged, immigrants from Europe and elsewhere came to “Nova Caesaria” seeking religious freedom. Here, in what would become the province and eventually the state of New Jersey, people of all faiths and denominations found a haven, a place where they could practice their religious beliefs peacefully. Tolerance grew as an enduring principle here, and, through the example set by New Jersey, the idea of separation of church and state would become a fundamental concept of the emerging nation.
In early times, a church typically served not only as a house of worship but as the central meeting place for its community. Many critical decisions were made in the church; powerful passions were often unleashed, traitors were revealed, and the swift justice of the frontier was frequently invoked. In this book—the first of a two-volume series—author Ellis L. Derry brings the stories of nearly fifty of New Jersey’s oldest and most historic churches to life.
The author spent more than six years researching and writing Old and Historic Churches of New Jersey, Volume 1, originally published in 1979 and out of print for many years. Plexus Publishing, Inc. is delighted to restore this volume to print, and to offer both books to the growing numbers of readers interested in the vibrant history of New Jersey and its churches.
While some of the churches featured and pictured here are no longer active houses of worship, all are still standing today. Whether or not you decide to visit these old and historic churches in person, we invite you to discover them in the pages of this inspiring two-part series.
2002 | 498 pp/hardbound | ISBN: 978-0-937548-50-9
2002 | 498 pp/softbound | ISBN: 978-0-937548-52-3