History

A History of
Calvary Episcopal Church,
Flemington, New Jersey

Calvary’s history began on October 13, 1836 when Bishop George Washington Doane preached in Flemington Presbyterian Church and confirmed one person. He appointed the Rev. William Crane, Missionary, who gathered a small congregation. The congregation was incorporated July 12, 1841. In that year a wooden church building was built. It was later sold. Calvary Church held in it sporadic worship services from 1841-1881.

In 1880-1881 a new stone building was erected at it’s present location, and consecrated by Bishop John Scarborough on July 21, 1881. The congregation continued with ups and downs through 1911. The Rev. Alexander Hensley served as Vicar 1911-29. The congregation held its own in size. The Calvary was also served by the following clergy: The Rev. Rupert Noel, 1932. The Rev. Walter F. Tuhey, 1942-1946. The Rev. Frank. H. Frisbie, 1946-1949.

The church came alive under the leadership of the Rev. Henry C. Beck, Jr., an historian of New Jersey towns, author of several books, author of the extant published history of Calvary Church. Fr. Beck served until February 1956. This was his only parish assignment, his other church being a publicity officer for the New Jersey Diocese. As Rector of Calvary Church, Fr. Beck: increased attendance and membership; brought the mission into independent parish status; had beautiful, new stained-glass windows and new, matched church furniture installed; held a vision (later realized) of a parish in northern Hunterdon County; activated St. Thomas’ Church, Alexandria, as a summer chapel; purchased a rectory (residence) for the priest.

The Rev. John A. Holmes became rector in 1956. Three Sunday services were held to serve a growing congregation. Under his leadership a Parish Hall extension was built. Holmes designed and built the present porch. (Fr. Holmes had been an architect before entering the priesthood.)

In 1961, the Rev. George E. Hall became Rector. In addition to maintaining summer services at St. Thomas’ Church, Alexandria, Fr. Hall and the Vestry established a parochial chapel, Church of the Holy Spirit, on Haytown Road above Lebanon, NJ thus realizing Fr. Beck’s dream of a north-Hunterdon parish. A paid organist and choir-director commenced under Fr. Hall, enhancing the music program.

The Rev. Edwin R. Sumner became Rector, on Thanksgiving Day, 1969. Fr. Sumner guided the parish into the revised 1979 Prayer Book and the 1982 Hymnal. Calvary acquired “the Annex”, a house and land adjacent on New York Avenue, in December 1972. A paved parking and increased church school facilities enhance the church’s program. Fr. Sumner also continued the healing ministry and introduced the International Order of St. Luke the Physician. In 1984 a new organ was installed in the chancel, behind a freestanding altar. Fr. Sumner retired July 1996, after over 26 years as Rector of Calvary, Flemington.

The Rev. Harry Mazujian began as Rector in March 1998. In the fall of 1999 a third service was again added with the Christian Formation classes between the two later services. In recent years, Calvary has had a number of part-time assistants serve: The Rev. Ed Murphy from September 2000 – July 2001, The Rev. Linda Carlson-Scholer from July 2001 – January 2005, and The Rev. Deborah Piggins from August 2005 – November 2007. Currently, the Rev. Ann Holt began as a Priest Associate in December 2007 and the Rev. Jack Hain began as our Deacon in October 2006.

Meanwhile, the porch was restored in 2005 and the stained glass windows were restored in 2008.

Calvary looks forward to determining plans for meeting spiritual and facility needs for the near future and beyond. May God bless us as we continue to serve God’s people in the Flemington area.