Join us in song to celebrate 220 years

To the Editor:

The Westerlo Reformed Church will celebrate its 220-year anniversary with a concert on Sunday, Sept. 22.

The concert, which will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m., will be held in the church on Route 143 in Westerlo.

A free-will offering will benefit the Hilltown Community Resource Center’s Food Pantry.

Wally Jones, the church’s Musical Celebration director, will lead performers of classical and Christian music, show tunes, Beatles songs, and other popular music. Wally Jones plays both the organ and piano.

Alice Parker, Theresa Bey, Sue Nelson, and Bill Straney will sing. Baritone guitarist Richard Brumley will perform as will violinist Michelle Cenci, alto saxophonist Pat Viglucci, Squeeze Box Players on accordions, and John Gallagher on bagpipes.

Everyone is invited to come and help us celebrate 220 years in the community, and refreshments will be served after the program as audience members greet the performers.

Here is a brief sketch of the life and witness of the Westerlo Reformed Church.

Westerlo was named after the Rev. Eilardus Westerlo, who was the minister of the Dutch Church at Albany from 1760 to1790. Dominie Westerlo was a cultured Christian gentleman. His preaching was characterized by careful preparation and able exposition. He was loved by people in all walks of life who sought his counsel and services. English preaching in the Dutch Church at Albany was inaugurated during his ministry.

The Reformed Church in Westerlo was organized in 1793. The first church building stood near the present village of Dormansville. Very little is known about the founding of the church. Later a church building was constructed in Westerlo and the first pastor was Rev. Abram Fort; he served from 1822 to1830.

The congregations of the Presbyterian Church and Reformed Church made overtures for union. The union was finally consummated on Aug. 30, 1830.

The painting behind the altar in our church was done by Florence Cornell in the 1930s. She repainted the background of the picture in 1952 as it is today.

The Ladies’ Aid has also been active since the 1800s. This women’s group has faithfully supported the church and Sunday school through service and donations. The ladies are active participants, also, in church activities.

The Westerlo Reformed Church has been served by a long line of ministers. However, there were various times when the church had no minister. At those times, due to financial reasons or other circumstances, the members usually saw that services were held with the use of visiting preachers or preaching elders.

The church today is a united body of believers. All the organizations function smoothly and efficiently through the efforts of loyal and devoted members and friends. Unyielding in her own views of faith and order, the church has always extended a warm welcome to all who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

We live by these words: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” Thankful to God for His goodness during the past two plus centuries, the church faces the future with confidence.

Chris Allen
Westerlo