The big, white church on Route 518 in the historic village of Blawenburg, built in 1832, is one of the oldest continuously operated churches in Central New Jersey.
The historic church, a member of the Reformed Church in America, is entering a new chapter this fall as it begins a partnership with Marble Collegiate Church, a historic landmark on 5th Avenue in Manhattan that is home to author Norman Vincent Peale.
Marble Collegiate, the oldest Protestant church in the United States, is one of the anchor churches in the Reformed Church in America denomination. The church has been seeking partnering ministries with like-minded churches, and Blawenburg — adjacent to Princeton, an easy travel distance to Manhattan, and on the same page theologically — will be its first partner.
A three-year partnership between the two churches will begin this month. The Rev. Travis Winckler, an associate minister at Marble Collegiate, will lead the Blawenburg congregation starting next month. Winckler, a minister for congregational care at Marble Collegiate Church, is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Winckler will work with Marble Collegiate on the partnering ministry. Access to Marble Collegiate’s professional staff will allow Blawenburg to expand its ministry to the local area, church leaders said.
“Look for changes in how we present ourselves to the community,” said David Cochran, vice president of Blawenburg’s governing board. “We will work with Marble to reach out to our community with a strong message of hope and love. The two churches follow very similar worship patterns.”
Since the partnership is a new venture for both churches, one of the first steps will be assessing the needs of the local community and determining the best ways to work together to serve residents.
“We’re excited about this partnership,” said the Rev. Dr. Michael Brown, senior minister at Marble Collegiate. “Partnering with a church like Blawenburg has been a goal of ours for a while now. And as much as we hope Blawenburg benefits from this arrangement, we feel certain that the membership of Marble Collegiate, and those we serve, will benefit as well.”
Marble Collegiate’s executive minister, Rev. Dr. R. Mark King, will lead the worship service at Blawenburg tomorrow, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m.
For more information about the Blawenburg Church click here.