Our Roots

Article Index

It was not as if elders had nothing better to do with their time.   The Presbyterian Church required them to “inquire into the Christian conduct of members of the church…to admonish, to rebuke, to suspend, or to exclude from the sacraments those who deserve censure.”  Only 3 in number, Whippany elders were busy men of God who were appointed for life to oversee the welfare of the congregation.  Until 1930, the Presbyterian church mandated that only men could serve as elders and deacons. The Whippany congregation did not elect its first female elder until 1951.

On July 31, 1837, the Whippany church withdrew from the Newark Presbytery and joined the Congregational Association of New York. The reasons for doing so are recorded in detail in church records.   After stating those reasons, the records close with the following: “Resolved that in withdrawing from the Presbytery of Newark, we are activated only by pure motives, do it with kind and Christian feelings toward that body….”   Seven years later, in  1844, the Whippany  people returned to the Presbyterian Church., and by choice joined with the Rockaway  Presbytery. Explaining the reason for this reversal, Pastor Andrew Sherman in his sermon celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Whippany church explained: “ the grievance compelling their withdrawal from the Newark Presbytery was removed.”