The Presbytery of Elizabeth finds its historical beginnings in the First Presbytery (The Presbytery of Philadelphia) organized in 1706 under the leadership of Rev. Francis Makemie. The First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge became part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1710.
When the Presbytery of Philadelphia was divided in 1744 and the Synod of Philadelphia established, the churches which are now in the Presbytery of Elizabeth were made part of the Presbytery of East Jersey.
In 1738 the Presbytery of East Jersey and the Presbytery of Long Island were dissolved and the Presbytery of New York constituted on the same ground embracing the same churches.
In 1809 the Presbytery of New York was divided and the churches in the northern part of New Jersey were constituted in the Presbytery of Jersey.
On October 2l, 1824, the newly formed Synod of New Jersey, meeting at Morristown dissolved the Presbytery of Jersey and formed of its churches and ministers the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town and the Presbytery of Newark.
The first meeting of the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town was held in the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth on November 3, 1824.
The records of the Presbytery of Jersey were divided between the two Presbyteries ‑ Elizabeth Town and Newark: those prior to April 27, 1813 were given to the Presbytery of Newark, and the remainder to the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town.
The Presbytery of Elizabeth was constituted at the Reunion of the Old School and the New School on June 21, 1870 when the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town was dissolved and the Presbytery of Elizabeth was constituted. The Presbytery of Elizabeth embraced all the ministers and churches of the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town together with certain ones from the Presbytery of Newark, and the dissolved Presbyteries of Passaic, Raritan and Philadelphia Fourth. Its boundaries, as defined by the Synod of New Jersey were: “To comprise the counties of Union and Somerset (except the churches of Kingston and Bound Brook) and all Hunterdon County between the Newton and New Brunswick Presbyteries and Middlesex County north of the Raritan River.”
With the dissolution of the Presbytery of Morris and Orange by the 176th General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 21, 1964, the following churches were transferred to the Presbytery of Elizabeth:
The Westminster Presbyterian Church of Berkeley Heights, NJ;
The New Providence Presbyterian Church, New Providence, NJ;
Central Presbyterian Church, Summit, NJ;
together with their ministers, certain commissioned church workers, and other ministers.
This same 176th General Assembly approved the following description, approved by the Presbytery of Elizabeth on October 1, 1963:
BOUNDARIES OF ELIZABETH PRESBYTERY: Union County, Middlesex and Somerset Counties north of the Raritan River with the exception of the Borough of Bound Brook; and in Hunterdon County, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Franklin Township, High Bridge Borough, Lebanon Borough, Readington Township and Union Township.
Since the action of the 176th General Assembly (1964) the following churches have been added to the roll of Elizabeth Presbytery:
Christ Church, Martinsville
Oak Tree, Edison
Trinity United, Warren
Iglesia Presbiteriana Nuevas Fronteras, Plainfield
For further information or research regarding congregations or family history contact
National Archives and Historical Research Center of thePresbyterian Church (U.S.A.).