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Old Congregational Church

Footnotes to Long Island History

OLD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

AUGUST 4, 1949

by

Thomas R. Bayles


church 
Mt. Sinai Congregational Church. 

       Situated in a beautiful setting overlooking Mount Sinai harbor and Long Island sound, the Mount Sinai Congregational church is another land mark in Brookhaven town going back over 150 years. It was organized a 1789, although there was a church there at a much earlier date. A subscription paper dated April 4, 1740, the amounts each one would give towards a meeting house, and another subscription paper carried the following heading "We, the inhabitants of Old Man's, together with the Wading River and the Middle of the island people, do invite Mr. Potter to preach amongst us, one third if the time at the Old Man's, one third at the Wading River and one third at the middle of the Island, and for so doing we do promise to pay the several sums annert to our names."

       This was the Rev. Elam Potter, who afterward became a missionary to the Indians. Who followed him at Old Man's is not known, but according to Primes history of Long Island a Presbyterian church was regularly organized there on Sept. 3, 1760. This was short lived and after 1763 nothing is known of it, so apparently the community was without church services until the First Congregational church of Brookhaven was organized at a meeting held on December 23, 1789, with nine members who were" Jeffrey Woodhull, Joseph Brown, Josiah Hallock, Bethiah Davis, Sarah Kinner, Jacob Eaton, Jeremiah Kinner, Phillip Hallock and Elizabeth Baley. This was recorded on the first page of the old record book kept by Nathaniel Miller, the first clerk of the Church.

       At a meeting on February 6, 1790, the Rev. Noah Hallock was chosen pastor and was later installed. He also organized the Patchogue Congregational church in 1793. Apparently  the old church building was used until 1807, when a meeting was held on April 6, to consider building a new church and a subscription paper was circulated for that purpose. At another meeting only nine days later on April 15, 1807, it was reported that more than $1,400 had been subscribed, and it was voted to "proceed to build a new meeting house a little to the eastward of the old meeting house which will be on the land of Joseph Davis."

       The building committee included: Noah Hallock, Isaac Miller, Deacon Samuel Hopkins, David Robbins, and James Davis. The building was started on April 30, 1807, and finished the same year. The Rev. Noah Hallock preached the first sermon in the new building on December 3, 1807.

       At this time, the parish of Old Man's was called the United Parish of Old Man's, Miller Place, and Rocky Point. Later the name Old Man's was changed to Mount Sinai.

      Port Jefferson was formerly included in the Parish of Old Man's, and in 1848 it was resolved to grant the members living in that village the privilege of being organized into a branch society, and in 1856 they, at their own request, became an independent church. The building later became the Baptist church in Port Jefferson.

       The lecture room at Rocky Point was built in 1850 by public subscription to be used for the most part as a chapel in connection with the church at Mount Sinai. The academy at Miller Place, built in 1834, served as a chapel in that village for many years.

       A Sunday school was founded at an early date and a Christian endeavor society has been in operation for over 50 years.

       Singing is mentioned in the old record book in 1799, regarding a difference of opinion about the old and new way of singing. They compromised by singing the new way before the sermon and the old way after the sermon. Possibly this meant singing with an instrument and without, as the churches in the early days were slow to allow any form of music to be used in connection with congregational singing.

       The little meeting house of 1807 has undergone many changes since it was originally built, and in 1851 a 10 foot addition for a vestibule and the steeple were added through the efforts of James H. Hopkins and others. Important alterations were made in 1889 and an alcove for the choir was built, and new pews, carpet, lamps and a new heater were installed. Before that time, two wood stoves were used for heating, one in the front and the other in the back, on the west side. Kerosene lamps were used until electricity came into general ues.

       The parish house was built at a cost of over $3,000 and dedicated on September 2, 1926, and a new pipe organ was added in 1936.

       In order to repair the damage done by the 1938 hurricane the grounds in front of the church were landscaped and memorial trees planted in memory of faithful members of years gone by.

       The church has had in all over 800 members, and 17 ministers have served since the time of the Rev. Noah Hallock who was there from 1789 until 1818. The Rev. Frank Voorhees, who came in 1916 and retired in 1947, served as pastor for the longest time of any.

       The church has at the present time over two hundred members and is under the leadership of the Rev. Malcolm Mooers.

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