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Presbyterian churches join for annual outdoor service


For the sixth time during the summer, a group of Presbyterian churches in Hunterdon and Mercer counties held a combined outdoor service, followed by a picnic, at the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, on Route 29, just north of Lambertville, N.J.

Taking part in the Sunday, July 7, event were the congregations of Kirkpatrick (Ringoes), Lambertville, Larison’s Corner, Mount Airy, Stockton and Titusville churches. The group is called “The River Churches,” although only three are near the Delaware.

The gathering included many of the elements of a traditional Presbyterian service, including songs, scripture, prayers and Holy Communion.

The theme was “A Gathering in God’s Garden,” reflecting the location and the songs included “In the Garden.” The Rev. Brad Morgan, pastor of Mount Airy, gave the sermon and it was tied to the gardening/farming theme.

The combined bell choirs from Kirkpatrick and Lambertville performed several songs, including “America the Beautiful,” and used both bells and chimes.

It was noted that the Lambertville pastor, the Rev. Peter Gregory, will be retiring later this year. He’s been a key organizer, having the group join for special activities, such as the picnic, and during Lent.

After the service and luncheon, participants were able to tour the museum, which includes a number of buildings displaying artifacts of Hunterdon’s past. The emphasis is on the county’s agricultural heritage.

The museum property was once part of John Holcombe’s “Plantation,” according to his will of 1742.

The house, built around 1711, is thought to be the oldest standing recorded home in Hunterdon. The farmstead was donated in 1968 to the Hunterdon County Historical Society by Milo and Rachel Jimison, who retained life rights to reside there.

With Milo’s death, more than 250 years of agricultural activity on the site ended. The property in 1984 was deeded to the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead, a nonprofit organization.