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Historic Blooming Grove Church Prepares to Celebrate its 260th Birthday

Historic Blooming Grove Church Prepares to Celebrate its 260th Birthday

Organ Recital by Famed Local Musician Jonathan B. Hall on November 18, 2018 Will Lead Celebration

The Blooming Grove United Church of Christ will launch its 260th Anniversary festivities with a beautiful organ recital on Sunday, November 18, 2018 by Jonathan B. Hall, minister of music at the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen and professor of music at New York University. Mr. Hall, accompanied by renowned saxophonist Bill Powers, will perform a selection of classical and modern works. The program begins at 4 pm sharp and all are invited. A goodwill offering will be taken.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 marks the actual 260th anniversary of the conveyance of the land on which the historic Blooming Grove Church was raised. Originally a Congregational Church allied with the Presbyterians, since 1957 it has been affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Reigning on a small rise above the old King’s Highway, today’s Route 94 just west of Washingtonville, the white-shingled church resembles an old-style classic New England meeting house, replete with fifteen arched Palladian windows shaded by centuries-old maple trees. Services are held every Sunday morning at 10:30, and it is not uncommon to hear the ethereal tones of the magnificent 1902 Hook-Hastings pipe organ resonating around those hallowed walls,a gift from native son David H. Moffat who also funded the construction of the Moffat Library in Washingtonville.

To walk inside the church is to stroll back in time. The original pine pews almost two hundred years old, painted white with dark cherry molding, descend the sloping floor towards the raised walnut-brown pulpit on which sits the majestic pipe organ, tall gray tubes pointing like gothic arrows to the heavens. In the middle of the south wall is a stunning stained glass window glowing in the morning sunlight, radiating hues of gold, green, blue and purple. Purple, the color of honor, the memory of sacrifice. Athwart the arch of the window is the single word: Patriotism.

At the bottom of the window in black lettering are the names of a dozen young men. No bridges are named after them. No cities, or highways or schools. They did not write magazine articles or books or make speeches. But they gave, each of them prepared to render that last full measure of devotion. As did countless more, in quiet anonymity. “It is our acts, not our words, that count”, we can read above their names. One of those young heroes, Chadwick Gerow, only three months after the day the Patriotism Window was dedicated on June 29, 1918, was to give up his life on the fields of France just six weeks before the Armistice. Saturday, September 29, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Chadwick’s death during the desperate but successful assault on the Hindenburg Line . On that day some 40 men from Orange County died in the fight to liberate France and to make the world safe for democracy, in the words of President Wilson.
The Patriotism Window has a sibling gracing the east gable wall, another stained glass window dedicated in 2013 to all our nation’s veterans serving in each of our armed forces.

Look for further announcements and articles on the fascinating history of the Blooming Grove Church in the weeks to come.

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