Frequently Asked Questions…
What on earth is the Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns?
In the 17th century, Dutch explorers began to settle along the Hudson River. One of the earliest large landholders was Frederick Philipse, who built his manor house and grist mill on the Pocantico River, near where it spills into the Hudson in present-day Sleepy Hollow. In 1685 he built a church on a grassy knoll about 200 yards from his manor house, on a site long used as a burial ground. Constructed of fieldstone, local timber and flat, yellow bricks from Holland, the church remains today essentially as it was built: octagonal at one end, with a belfry. In 1697, the church was officially organized and a pastoral call went out to Domine Guilliam Bertholf, a well-known Dutch Reformed minister. He consented to travel from his home in Hackensack, N.J., three or four times a year to preach and administer the sacraments. The rest of the year, services were led by lay leaders.
Reformed from what?
The Dutch Reformed Church was renamed the Reformed Church in America in 1867, and now has a thousand congregations spread across North America. We are called Reform–think Reformation–as the heirs of the reformers of the Christian (Roman Catholic) Church in the 16th century. We have sister churches throughout the world. Some Reformed churches call themselves Presbyterian. Our Reformation cousins include Lutherans, Mennonites, Baptists, Episcopalians and others.
What’s the style of worship at the Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns?
We honor tradition, but we work to make it meaningful in our fast-paced world. You’ll be warmly welcomed wherever you are on your spiritual journey.
Where is worship held and when?
From September to mid-June we worship in the Clock Church in Tarrytown at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. From mid-June til after Labor Day we worship at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow at 10:00 a.m. Sundays.
Why two churches?
The Old Dutch congregation built the Clock Church in 1837 to serve members from Tarrytown who preferred to worship closer to home (and in a well-heated, well-lit building; to this day the Old Dutch has only a wood-burning stove for heat and only candles for light.) Some members continued to meet in the Old Dutch, even after the new church was built, and eventually the tradition of meeting in Old Dutch in summer was established.
But why the Reformed Church of the TarrytownS?
In 1854 a second new church was built in North Tarrytown by the Old Dutch congregation, and the remaining Old Dutch congregation moved into it. Then, in the early 1990s, when the Reformed congregations in North Tarrytown and Tarrytown decided to merge due to declining memberships and sell the North Tarrytown church, they needed a new name inclusive of both church congregations. They chose the Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns. Just a few years later, North Tarrytown was renamed Sleepy Hollow, but the congregation decided to keep its name unchanged. Few know it but Washington Irving was the first to use the name Sleepy Hollow for the area, in his “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”