Our History

Founded in the heart of Morristown

For over 275 years, The Presbyterian Church in Morristown has been woven into the fabric of Morristown, NJ.

Way back in 1733

In 1733, some members of the Presbyterian Church in Whippany decided to gather for worship as a congregation in West Hanover (now Morristown). The church received a charter in 1756, issued by King George II of England, under the name The First Presbyterian Church in Morristown. The congregation called Rev. Timothy Johnes as its first pastor in 1742. During his pastorate, the first church building, the “Meeting House,” was enlarged and later given over for use as a hospital during a smallpox epidemic when the Continental Army stayed in Morristown during the American Revolution.

Colonial America

During the army’s stay in Morristown, General George Washington received the Sacrament of Holy Communion during an outdoor service (as depicted in a window of the church sanctuary). 

In 1794, during the closing years of Mr. Johnes’ long ministry, a second, larger colonial structure was built. In 1816, the church Trustees deeded land for purposes of a common space, which is now The Morristown Green.

congregational changes

the 19th century

By 1840, social, theological, and leadership controversies split the congregation. One faction left and founded the South Street Presbyterian Church in 1841. The congregation that remained on the Green became known as The First Church and built the Chapel in 1869 as a Session House and the existing Church on the Green in 1893-94.

the 20th century

During the early 1900’s, cooperation between the two congregations began to grow. In 1925, upon the retirement of Dr. Bennett, pastor of The First Church, the two congregations joined together and formed The Presbyterian Church in Morristown. Dr. James Howard, pastor of the South Street Church, led the reunited congregation.

Gathering thereafter as one congregation at the Church on the Green, the members established offices and educational facilities in the South Street building and, in 1948, renamed it the Parish House. In 1960, an Austin Organ was installed in the sanctuary of the Church on the Green and, in 1995, the organ was substantially enhanced to house 3,370 pipes and 76 ranks. 

The 21st Century

In 2015-16, major renovations opened up some of the original elements of the building while creating a contemporary space for current and future use.

Throughout history, the PCM congregation has demonstrated concern for the community, both here and abroad, by founding and funding organizations that provide care for people. We have a rich history of worship, study, and service to which God still calls us all. May that call come to you.