First Presbyterian Church was established in 1784 when the area was still part of the Town of Southeast in Dutchess County. The church filed incorporation papers with the State of New York in 1806 – we are proudly celebrating the bicentennial this year. This congregation is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, USA, and is a part of the Synod of the Northeast and the Presbytery of the Hudson River.
First Presbyterian Church is part of the historic Reformed tradition. Presbyterians understand the Bible to be the essential rule of faith and practice. They believe that God exists in the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that Christ is the Son of God, the Revealer of God, and the Savior of humanity; and that the church is the Body of Christ in the world. Education is stressed by Presbyterians – both for the ministry and the laity. Presbyterians believe that the Holy Spirit constantly enlightens truth, and thus they admit different understandings of the historical confessions of faith. Ultimately, every Presbyterian must find a personal understanding of faith through study, contemplation, and worship. A very important principle is that “God alone is Lord of the conscience.”
Presbyterians emphasize active participation for all members and democratic church leadership. Presbyterians follow a stated, although not strict, liturgy in services of worship, which includes thoughtful reading and interpretation of scriptures, prayer, and the sacraments of baptism and holy communion.
First Presbyterian Church is an inclusive, caring community of faith committed to loving God, loving neighbor as self, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with all people through worship, fellowship, and service.