Old Clove Church celebrates 189 years

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  • The 189 -year -old church stands as remembrance of early Sussex County.

  • PHOTOS BY JANET REDYKEThe Old Clove Church has been a national and state landmark since 1982.

  • Marilyn Slate practices hymns for the annual service at the church.

As you drive up to the picturesque, white building on Route 23 North in Wantage to the Old Clove Church, one can just imagine quaint buggies with sleepy horses waiting for worshippers on a grand Sunday morn.

History buffs love the little country church with its Gothic and Victorian influence architecture, original pews, floor plan, choir loft, two pot belly shoves and vintage pump organ. Quite unusual for today but not back then, the Old Clove Church actually had two separate entryways, one for men and another for women, as the sexes were totally segregated, even in church. A special sitting area was also designated for slaves as well.

The church held its annual service on Sunday, Sept. 16. Recalling its history, the Dutch Reformed Church granted the small community the right to form a congregation in 1787. The Route 23 building was erected in 1829 by Andrew McNish for the total amount of $3,300 and dedicated on Sept. 27, 1830.

The church was eventually put out of commission, due to the dwindling congregation. In 1982, the Old Clove Church received placement on both the national and state of New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. The church is currently owned and maintained by the Friends of the Old Clove Church and remains open for the annual service as well as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Sunday’s service was presided over by Rev. David Rude with Marilyn Slate as organist.

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