Our Roots

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Despite the generosity of its congregation and the fact that trustees sometimes dug into their own pocket, the Whippany Presbyterian Church often needed financial help.  From time to time, the session found it necessary to apply for aid from the Board of Home Missions or  National Missions.  It was not unusual for pastors to be asked to wait for the compensation due them.  For pastors the burden may have been eased by having the opportunity to live in the manse, which the church paid for. The first manse, at the corner of Troy Hills Road and Route 10 was purchased in 1883; the second was purchased  in  1953 at 1 Karla Drive. The current manse, located at 23 Manchester Drive was  purchased in 1971.  The Pastor usually earned 800 dollars a year; was given use of the manse; and 4 weeks vacation.

From its beginning, the Whippany Presbyterian Church was a busy place.  The sanctuary, the only space available, was put to good use. The session often met in the sanctuary.  On Sunday mornings, church- school classes spread out in various parts of the sanctuary.  Teachers sometime scrambled to remove all traces of church-school activity so that the sanctuary was in order for the 11:00 service of worship.  Once each year the sanctuary was used for the Week of Prayer evening services. Hanover High School held commencement exercises in the sanctuary.  In 1922 the men’s group was given permission to show movies in the sanctuary, provided that they appropriate for display in the church and not shown on the Sabbath. Spokesmen for various organizations presented their causes to the congregation. These included the Antislavery Society, the Whippany YMCA (founded by Pastor W. H. Belden), the Anti-Saloon League and various missionaries and missionary groups.  One of the most memorable meetings was held in the sanctuary on September 18, 1918.  On that day the Presbytery met in the Whippany church to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the original Whippany Church that once stood on the grounds of the Whippany Burying ground.  As mentioned earlier, that church was the first church in the area we know as Morris County. Owing to the importance of the occasion, refreshments were served in Polhemus Hall, which stood at the corner of Troy Hills Road and Route 10.