FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF WOODBURY HEIGHTS
Our history
"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

-- Romans 15:4
Our church continues to thrive 118 years later
     How does a small-town church come into being and, not only survive, but thrive, for more than 118 years? The answer is revealed mightily when one reads our church historical accounts. 
     Several businessmen had the vision to establish a community and deemed it necessary to organize a local church. The women of the time made the church an extension of their homes. The children and young people contributed their joy and exuberance. This church kept alive the Christian values during the early days of the community.
     Generations later, our church continues to preach the Bible, promote missions and encourage Christian fellowship. Hard work, dedication, inspired leadership and the blessings of God always ensure a vital church.
     IN THE BEGINNING and TO BE CONTINUED, with GOD’S GRACE are the titles of the two large Narthex cabinet displays. Each contains pieces of our history. The center section contains a plain white church and a glass cross, given to us by the estate of Bob Peterson. The framed poem reminds us all that God has a plan for our lives and our service.
     Our small church has had many ordinary disciples throughout its 118-year history. The current display features evidence of the extraordinary work done by John and Henrietta Mayhew as well as our other founders and those loving members who worked industriously and gave freely of their resources and assets to build and expand the church properties and its mission.
     Below the cabinets is a framed collage of our 100th Anniversary celebration and another with pictures of our past choir leaders and organists.
     Few remember our organist from years ago, Mrs. Helen Stewart or Reverend Enslin or Mrs. Mayhew. Others are pictured, members past and present who added to the vitality of our church. 
     Looking through our historical artifacts, we can read the names and the accomplishments of our members. Each is awe-inspiring! Because God lives, more names and contributions are added constantly. This is our history; these are our stories; You are our future!


Narthex display shows the people and the principles that have helped our church survive for more than a century.
Photos by Janet Koehler
Reflections on 34 Years of Ministry

      As John and I were chatting the other day, we talked about the upcoming baptisms over which he will officiate prior to his retirement. Several of the candidates for baptism are children of those he baptized years before; and they, in turn, are the children of long term members of our church.
     Three generations of members is certainly something to reflect on with pride. These generations have considered The First Presbyterian Church of Woodbury Heights to be their church and John Shedwick to be their pastor as have many new members who have joined with us. 
      As John looks forward to retirement, we are grateful for the 34 years that he has dedicated to our congregation; conducting Sunday services and bringing the word of God to us, performing weddings, visiting the sick, comforting those who have lost a loved one, guiding the officers and work of the Boards and with Dottie, participating in so many groups and activities.
      In 2011 when I was honored for 50 years of membership in our church,
I spoke about how John, and Dottie as well, have been the fabric that held
our church together. This fabric has been vital to our congregation for 
these 34 years. This fabric was woven as they worked with and for us and 
taught us.
      He and Dottie have indeed made this fabric stronger over the years,
and in doing so, they have both prepared us all including long term 
members, their children and grandchildren and newer members as we 
move toward the future.
      Thank you John and Dottie for being such an important part of our
church history. We wish you well as you enter the next wonderful stage
of your life. We will use the strength of the fabric that you worked so hard 
with us to create, to lead us as we enter the next stage of our church life. 
Carol Martino
Church Historian