For those puzzled by our name, here is an explanation. “Run” means creek or stream. Six Mile Run was the name of the location of a stream that crossed the old Indian Path (now Rt. 27) between New Brunswick and Trenton. The name “Six Mile Run” indicated to the travelers that they were six miles from Indian’s Ferry Landing on the Raritan River (now New Brunswick).
The Six Mile Run Reformed Church of Franklin Park, New Jersey has a long and rich history which not only attracts church history buffs in the area, but more importantly, inspires attention and respect from people near and far. In 2003, we celebrated the 300th anniversary of our roots, culminating in a visit by Reverend Dr. Robert Schuler.
The first house of worship, Three Mile Run, was built in 1703: its pastor was Rev. Guilliam Bertholf from Holland. As the congregation grew, members were sent out to start new churches. Six Mile Run emerged in 1710. In 1720, Reverend Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghysen became the permanent pastor. He was sent from Holland to take charge of the Dutch churches of Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties.
In 1817 a new church was built to accommodate the increasing population growth. Sadly, this church burned on the night of January 7, 1879. By the grace of God and a lot of hard work, by December of that same year, the present day church with its hexagonal bell tower and tall slate shingle steeple was erected and dedicated.
The history of Six Mile Run Reformed Church would not be complete without acknowledging our mission and outreach programs through the years aiding people all over the world. In the early 1900s, we supported the missions of Rev. Eugene Booth, Principal of the Ferris Seminary in Yokahama, Japan. In 1927, Rev. Charles Scudder, from the famous family of missionaries, became pastor. His missionary work in Vellore, India was commemorated by establishing a hospital bed as a memorial to SMRRC.
We continue to support our local Seminaries and students by providing a wonderful learning environment to ministers in training.
It is our mission to invite all people to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. To nurture those whom God calls to this community towards spiritual maturity and equip them for their ministry and life mission as together we build a loving, learning community.
The congregation of the Six Mile Run Reformed Church has been a strong presence in this community since the beginning of the 18th century. The congregation traces its roots to 1703 when a Reformed Church was established at Three Mile Run, a creek located three miles from current-day New Brunswick.
The first members were Dutch and Huguenot settlers, some of whose descendants still live in the community. In 1710, Rev. Paulus Van Vlecq established a splinter congregation at Six Mile Run, three miles away in present-day Elm Ridge.
The first church at Six Mile Run was constructed in 1717, one mile east of the current site. In 1766, that building was replaced with a new church, constructed at the site of the current building. In 1817 that building was replaced with a larger building that served the congregation until it was destroyed by fire on January 7, 1879.
The existing church was then constructed over the foundation of the previous building during the following eleven months. Re-opening in December of 1879, Six Mile Run Reformed Church is a historically significant example of Carpenter Gothic Revival style. Other additions in 1907 and 1958 provided needed space for a growing church in a growing community.
Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen was the first pastor and served for 27 years. Rev. Osy Nüesch is the 18th installed pastor in the church’s 308-year history. Today the congregation is one of about 950 congregations of the Reformed Church in America and seeks to reflect the diversity of the community that surrounds it having made an intentional transition to a multicultural and multiethnic congregation.
A Brief History of Six Mile Run Reformed Church – 1703 to Present