In 1732, the same year George Washington was born, Dutch farmers of the Town of North Hempstead, then part of Queens County, achieved a church of their own. For ten years they had been journeying over fifteen miles to the Dutch Reformed Church at Jamaica for worship, an arduous trip over the unpaved roads of those early days.
An agreement, written May 26, 1731, followed by a subscription of 173 pounds, 16 shillings, by 65 families provided the funds to build a church in Lake Success in 1732, on Lakeville Road on the site of the present Great Neck South High School offices. It was known as The Reformed Dutch Church of the Town of Hempstead.
At first there were services only when Dutch church Dominies (ministers) of Kings County made visits to these outlying churches. In 1739, a regular minister arrived from Holland – the Rev. Johannes Hermanus Van Basten. His charge was the four Long Island township churches of Jamaica, Hempstead, Newtown, and Oyster Bay (now Brookville).
In 1816, the church moved to Manhasset, Long Island, on the site of the present church at 90 Plandome Road. Presumably, the site was chosen because more of the members were settling in that area, where the farmers could pasture their animals “at the head of Cow Bay.”
In 1897, the church building was destroyed by fire. The only remaining relic of the 1816 building is the amber-green window of the youthful Jesus in the alcove at the rotunda (now the Meditation Room). The present structure was built in 1898, the same year Queens County was divided at the present City Line of Greater New York City, and the church found itself in the newly formed Nassau County.
The church was renamed The Community Reformed Church in 1942.
The Community Reformed Church at Manhasset has preserved its minutes and records dating back to its founding in 1732. These include baptism, finance, membership records as well as beautifully hand-written Consistory minutes. The church has also kept many of its prayer and psalm books as well as bibles from the 1700s and 1800s, including a bible from Holland, Netherlands given to the church in 1733.
Our cemetery, or graveyard, has been a designated burial ground since the early 1800s. Several hundred people have been buried in our churchyard, many who were born in the early to mid 1700s. Our cemetery is adjacent to the Christ Episcopal Church cemetery. Taxus yew shrubs serve as a border between the two churchyards. In addition, many species of trees grace our grounds, including Cedar of Lebanon, Larch, Sugar Maple, Japanese Maple, Dogwood, Eastern White Pine, Sycamore Maple, Sassafras, Cedar Virginia (to name a few).
Why not stop by and visit our cemetery grounds in person? It is a peaceful and quiet place for reflection and prayer. Benches are also made available throughout the grounds. For more information, please contact the church office – 516.627.3494.
The following clergy have served this historic church:
Visiting Dominies from Kings County 1732-1739
Dom. Johannes H. Van Basten 1739-1740
Dom. Johannes H. Goestschius 1741-1748
Visiting Dominies 1748-1754
Dom. Thomas Romeyn 1741-1748
Visiting Dominies 1760-1766
Dom. Hermanus Lancelot Boelen 1766-1772
Visiting Dominies 1773-1774
Dom. Solomon Froleigh 1775-1776
Visiting Dominies 1776-1784
Dom. Reynier Van Nest 1785-1797
Dom. Zacharias Kuypers 1794-1802
All of the above shared with the Reformed Dutch Churches of Jamaica, Newton and Oyster Bay.
Rev. Zacharias Kuypers 1802-1825
Rev. David Schuyler Bogart 1813-1826
Rev. Henry Heermance 1826-1827
Rev. James Otterson 1828-1834
All of the above shared with the Reformed Dutch Church of Oyster Bay at Wolver Hollow – now Brookville.
Rev. James Robb 1835-1837
Rev. William R. Gordon 1838-1843
Rev. John H. Sheffield 1843-1846
Rev. Richard Ludlow Schoonmaker 1847-1852
Rev. James Demarest 1853-1859
Rev. Ira Condict Boise 1859-1870
Rev. William E. Davis 1871-1879
Rev. William Stephenson 1828-1834
Rev. Abram J. Martin 1882-1891
Rev. Albert A. Zabriskie 1891-1892
Rev. Alfred Duncombe 1893-1907
Rev. Oscar Maddaus 1907-1950
Rev. John R. McDonald 1950-1956
Rev. Thomas Lamont 1957-1976
Rev. Mark Glen Lemmenes 1977-1984
Rev. David L. Maris 1985-1991
Rev. Wayne Benson, interim 1991-1993
Rev. Stuart E. Clark 1993-2009
Rev. Everett Zabriskie, interim 2009-2011
Rev. Steven D. Pierce 2011-2017