About Our Church
Our worship service is traditional in nature, though often you will hear modern hymns from our Presbyterian hymnal Glory to God. We follow a standard Presbyterian style worship format, and music is of great importance to us. We strive to be a warm and welcoming place for visitors and encourage you to come to worship and stay for coffee hour after the service in Fellowship Hall.
The First Presbyterian Church in Goshen (NY) has a long and colorful history. The church was founded in 1720 and the first pastor, Reverend John Bradner, was installed the following year. The first Meeting House was not completed until 1724. Little is known of this first building, save that it was a plain wooden structure with a small gallery or balcony. When the roof collapsed in 1808, it prompted the building of a second edifice in 1810 and was completed in August 1813.
During the Revolutionary War, the Reverend Nathan Ker, this church’s fourth pastor, was probably one of the best-known men in Goshen's entire history. He was a friend and confidante of George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Rochambeau. At one point during the American Revolution, Reverend Ker dismissed his congregation to prepare food and supplies for American troops headed to Philadelphia. He was the first Moderator of the Hudson Presbytery, and later organized the Franklin and Deer Park Presbyterian churches.
Henry Wisner, whose memorial obelisk stands between this church and St. James Church, represents this region of New York in the Continental Congress and later as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. One of the foremost powder makers of the Revolution, he was truly a man of peace as well as a man of war, not to mention more than twenty-five years of dedicated service to this congregation as an Elder and Trustee.
Our current sanctuary and stone structure was completed and dedicated on November 22, 1871 after the congregation had outgrown its second edifice and lightning had destroyed the spire. It was just the symbol that Reverend Dr. William D. Snodgrass needed to cajole the congregation into breaking ground in 1868, laying the cornerstone in 1869, and constructing a magnificent building with a 186-foot spire. The church bell, which hangs in the main tower, was cast in Troy, NY, weighs 4,000 pounds, and is inscribed with the words “Holiness Unto the Lord.”
The blue limestone on the church came from what was then Florida Road, now Route 17A, where there is still a quarry. The delicate stonework around the doors and windows came from Syracuse, NY. The church rests on bedrock and still remains as the tallest standing structure in Orange County. In 1878, nearly seven years after completion, the spire was condemned and removed for repair due to a noticeable leaning. Each one of the stones from the spire was numbered so it could be pieced back together. The repair was completed in 1881 for a cost of $11,000. Altogether, from breaking ground to the final repairs and furnishings inside, the costs were between $160,000 and $200,000 (approximately $3 million in today’s dollars).
Inside, the church sanctuary contains two signed Louis Comfort Tiffany windows, the first of which is a triptych window donated in 1925 by banker Gates W. McGarrah. The scene depicts Jesus Christ’s Resurrection where the Archangel Gabriel tells the three women at the tomb “He is not here. He is Risen.” The three women are Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Salome the mother of James and John (Source: Matthew 27:55-56; Luke 24:10; John 19:25).
The second Tiffany window was donated and installed in 1930 by Edgar Redfield, in memory of his parents, David Redfield and Eliza Anderson Bradner, a direct descendant of the church’s first pastor, John Bradner. The scene depicts “Jesus and the Pilgrims,” where the pilgrims are on the Road to Emmaus who, at first, do not recognize the resurrected Jesus (Source: Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12-13).
List of Pastors from the beginning…
Rev. John Bradner 1721-1732
Rev. Silas Leonard 1734-1758
Rev. Abner Brush 1758-1766
Rev. Nathan Ker, A. M 1766-1804
Rev. Isaac Lewis 1805-1812
Rev. Ezra Fisk, D. D 1813-1833
Rev. James P. Johnson 1835-1839
Rev. Robert McCartee, D. D 1840-1849
Rev. William D. Snodgrass, D. D 1849-1885
Rev. Robert Bruce Clark, D. D 1885-1902
Rev. Francis Stoddard Haines 1903-1922
Rev. George Hamilton Schofield, D.D. 1922-1930
Rev. Luther Moore Bicknell 1931-1939
Rev. Gerald John Huenink 1940-1948
Rev. Patrick Arthur Brindisi 1949-1955
Rev. Eugene William Ebert, Th.M. 1955-1961
Rev. John Ashely Fitch 1962-1964
Rev. Dwight Edgar Faust 1965 -1970
Rev. John Smith McKenzie, Jr., Th. M. 1968
Rev. Richard Thompson 1972-1996
Rev. David Calvin Kingsley 1999-
Contact us at:
The First Presbyterian Church in Goshen
33 Park Place
Goshen, NY 10924
Office hours 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (M-F)