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Landmark of Faith Meets Today's Needs

Footnotes to Long Island History

Landmark of Faith Meets Today’s Needs

by

Thomas R. Bayles

 


 

            Manorville—A landmark in Brookhaven Town that goes back 150 years is the Brookfield Presbyterian Church in Manorville, which was organized in April, 1796 by the Long Island Presbytery through the efforts of Jonathan Robinson, who had conducted services for several years before that time in his home.

            His work was recognized with approval by the Presbytery, and in October 1788, according to Prime’s history, “they expressed their approbation to Mr. Robinson as a leader of the devotions of that retired and isolated community.”

            On the 26th of November 1807, the Presbytery met at the “Brookfield Meeting House,” which was the home of Mr. Robinson and ordained him to work as pastor of the Brookfield Church, which he continued until his death in 1824.

            The present church building was erected in 1838 during the ministry of the Rev. Thomas Owen, and the first Sunday school was organized in 1840 with Capt. Seth Raynor as its first superintendent.  A belfry and bell were added to the church about 1875.

            Various ministers have served this church through the years, and for many years, services have been conducted by ministers from neighboring churches.

            The church had reached a low point in its history about 10 years ago, and Rev. Robert Sargent, who was pastor of the Middle Island and Yaphank Presbyterian churches, went to work in the parish and reactivated the church.  About five years ago, John Freese of Manorville took over the work of the church and was appointed a lay preacher by the Long Island Presbytery, and has conducted the preaching services since that time.  Mrs. Freese is the organist and director of music, which includes a fine choir of about 14 boys and girls from 12 to 15 years of age, who are faithful in their attendance all year round.  With Mrs. Freese at the Hammond organ, which has been recently purchased, these children under her training have developed some fine voices and provide an important part of the church services.

            Walter Freese, a son of John Freese, is superintendent of a growing Sunday school of over 60 members, and his brother Norman Freese is also active in this work, as are the wives of these men, and several others.

            Many improvements have been added to the church in recent years, including an addition on which includes a room for Sunday school and social purposes, also a basement that provides additional room and a kitchen.  A modern oil burning furnace has also been installed.  During the past year the interior of the church has been all painted and decorated and fitted up in extremely good taste.

            The Freese family is doing a wonderful work in the historic old Manorville church, and it shows what a group of devoted laymen can do, who are willing to take time from their busy lives to do God’s work in a small country church.

            Preaching services are held Sundays at 9 a.m. and Sunday school at 10:15 a.m. with a Bible study service on Thursdays at 8 p.m.

 

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