Who We Are
The Church-in-the-Gardens is a Community Congregational Christian Church whose cornerstone is the Lord Jesus Christ. As recipients of God’s redeeming love in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are called to:
•Bear Witness to God’s creative, redeeming, and sanctifying action in the world
•Nurture each person in the Christian faith, and
•Affirm the worth and dignity of each individual.
Therefore, we covenant to uphold each person in his or her walk in Christ and to do deeds of faithful ministry in the world. We do all in thankful celebration of the love of Jesus Christ.
“I hope its doors will always be open to everyone who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and wishes to do His will.”
So wrote Mrs. Russell Sage in a letter to the Church-in-the-Gardens’ Pastor; Dr. Robert J. Kent in 1913. In the spirit of her words, our Church was born.
So much of our church’s history is intertwined with the history of its surrounding neighborhood, Forest Hills Gardens. During the beginning of the 20th century Mrs. Russell Sage was approached by visionaries such as Clarence Perry to finance the building of a planned neighborhood for people from different class levels as well as denominations.
Hence Forest Hills Gardens was created. Shortly afterwards, many of its new homeowners indicated their desire to have a church started which would reflect their religious beliefs.
But what kind of church could incorporate people from differing religious backgrounds?
The fledgling congregation, even before it had a name, commissioned five members from five different denominational backgrounds to meet and dream together. They proposed a simple charter and faith statement to the whole congregation, and after polling each person involved, decided our church would be a Congregational church, so people from various denominations would be welcomed.
They wanted a church that would fellowship with other churches yet remain totally independent of external control. Instead, the new church would be self governing and issue its own statement of faith.