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The Old Dutch Reformed Church

Now - THE FIRST FEDERATED CHURCH of Bayonne, New Jersey. Its history goes back to 1638, when the ship, "Arms of Norway", landed on the shores of Manhattan. In 1654, nine Dutch passangers from this ship moved to what was then called New Amsterdam. They were the first white settlers and consequently, the founders of Bayonne, New Jersey. The congregation started in the homes of these people. From there a small log church was built in the area of what is now Jersey City.
As the congregation grew, a stone church was erected in 1680 on Bergen Avenue. 1723 finds the religious services moving closer to the Bayonne area with a new church called the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Bergen. As the congregation grew once more, two new churches were built, both still standing today. One is in Jersey City, dated 1841 and is now called the old Bergen Church. The other was established earlier in 1828 and dedicated on January 11, 1829. It was named the Refrmed Dutch Church of Bergen Neck. Among the prominent families in the movement were those of Cadmus, Van Buskirk, Cubberly, VanHorn, Zabriskie and Vreeland.

The old Dutch church was located on 29th Street in Bayonne. The second site was across the street from where the building now stands. One hundred years ago when Avenue C was widened, the church was moved to its existing location on the corner of 33rd street and Avenue C.

On March 30, 1874, the name was changed to the First Reformed Church of Bayonne. In the 1950's, this church combined with the Christ Presbyterian Church of Bayonne and the Third Reformed Church and is now known as the First Federated Church.

In the early part of 1978, I (Joan Vreeland Studer) was approached by the then, Pastor Dodd, to research the background of the church and its history for the purpose of getting it declared a historical site. A combination of Vreeland family history and documentatuion of church records proved this could be accomplished. The publicity included a "Rededication of Marriage Vows" on Saturday, April 25, 1981 of the ninth generation granddaughter of Michael Jansen Vreeand. Laurie Lee Studer (Vreeland granddaughter) and Mark Kuchenbrod, rededicated their marriage vows. 172 years earlier, the marriage of Lourens Van Buskirk and Fytje Cornelissen Van Vreeland, on September 18, 1709 was performed. Rev. Dodd noted that Laurie's ancestors, on her mother's side, have been members of the church since the early 17th century.

To the right is Rev. Dodd with Laurie & Mark Kuchenbrod, holding the "Great Seal of the United States" presented to the church. Picture to the left was taken after the rededication, left to right, US Rep. Frank Guarini, Mark Kuchenbrod, Laurie Kuchenbrod, Charles Studer, Joan Vreeland Studer, Helen Patey Vreeland and Mayor Dennis Collins.

After many trips from Oakland NJ to Bayonne, NJ, and much correspondence, the First Federated Church had its Historic Recognition Day on Sunday, November 1st, 1981

Seen in front of the church are, J. Owen Grundy, left, the late Jersey City historian, JV Studer, Rev Joseph Murray and the Rev. Gilbert Dodd. Below, left to right, then Assemblyman Joseph Doria (currently Mayor), Rev. Gilbert Dodd, Joan Vreeland Studer, Church Historian & Genealogy Researcher, Mayor Dennis Collins, US Rep. Frank Guarini and Edward Clark, Hudson County Executive.