The work of organizing themselves in a meaningful way and building a church so that there was an acceptable place to worship God were enormous tasks for a relatively small group of women and men. They completed them in just 13 months. Yet, there were countless challenges ahead of the Whippany people and no certainty that they would be up to them. Still, they had made a good start and had no reason to doubt themselves. During Pastor Newell’s brief stay, the congregation more than tripled, from 40 to 129.
Church records make plain that members of the congregation expected a great deal of each other. Regular attendance at worship was a given. Moreover, all who joined were expected to agree “that we will not drink ardent spirit nor offer it to our friends or others, or buy or sell it, except for medicinal or mechanical purposes.” (This agreement not to drink was carried into the 20th century.) Members did not hesitate to report to church elders any behavior they considered inappropriate. At any time, an elder might visit to inquire if a member of the household had, as reported, been drinking or involved in fraudulent dealings or using profane language or backsliding or engaged in some other “sinful” act.