A Recent History of Queens Reformed Church
Celebrating 150 Years
Queens Reformed Church, the oldest church in Queens Village, also known as the “Old White Church” was organized on April 18, 1858 as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Queens. The emblem of the Coat of Arms, beautifully displayed in the sanctuary, depicts two phrases the congregation has lived by over the past 150 years. The Latin motto, Nisi Dominus Frusta, ‘Without the Lord all is in vain” reminds us of our dependence on God. The Dutch motto, Eendracht, Maakt, Macht, “Union Makes Strength” reminds us of our need for each other.
On numerous occasions, the church has paused to celebrate its anniversaries. However, in 1908 QRC marked its 50th anniversary with the installation of a new $3200 motor driven pipe organ purchased with funds raised thru a semi-centennial fund drive. In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the church property was completely renovated inside and out. A new pipe organ and lighting were installed, new carpeting was laid and new pew cushions were purchased. The 100th anniversary was marked with new enthusiasm and a new vision of its place in the community.
These were not the only moments when major renovation work took place. In 1927 the church sold its property on the southeast corner of Jamaica Avenue and built the Parish Hall and erected the gymnasium. The organ was electrified and a new entrance, colonial portico, new stained glass memorial windows and gas heating were installed in 1947.
From its inception, the church has continually sought ways to reach out to the community in service and with the good news. This has not occurred without its share of trials but by the grace of God the church continues to press on. Although the congregation experienced numerical growth under the leadership of Rev. Lyons in the 1920s and 30s and Rev. Vander Hill in the 1940s, by the late 1950s, Rev. Vander Hill had reported struggling with the constant changes in membership as young couples were marrying and moving away from the community. Rev. Slingerland reported a temporary discontinuation of the Youth Group due to a lack of young people in mid 1960s. However, under Rev. Zavacky, two other Youth Groups from the Baptist and Methodist churches were combined with our own through a cooperative ministry in the 1970s. Under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Tanis the 1980’s was marked with an ecumenical emphasis, social fellowship, increase in lay participation and growing ethnic diversity among the children in the educational programs. In 1982, the Senior Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) began providing hot lunch and fellowship to 100 elderly persons in our Parish Hall. In the 1990s, QRC experienced renewed vision under the pastoral leadership of Rev. (Kramer) Perkins. Sunday School and Bible Study were reinstated with an emphasis on children’s ministry and the church began the Daybreak After-School and Summer Camp programs. Under Rev. Rosenblum, the church hired a mediator to help the congregation work through internal struggles. The year 2000 brought us our beloved Rev. Anna Melissa Jackson. Pastor Anna embraces the diversity of our community, fosters our sense of love and family, welcomes all and prays that each and everyone will find a home for their heart here at Queens Reformed.
Looking back over past consistorial reports we find these words stated by Rev. Vander Hill in 1947, “There are many people who have no church affiliation in this area and we are out to contact them all.” We could not agree more. This IS a Time for Change!
Submitted by: Sherida Krieger, Deacon