In a region steeped in history, Clarkstown Reformed Church has been part of the community now known as West Nyack, NY since 1750. Established by Dutch Reformed Protestants, they originally named the church The First Dutch Reformed Church of New Hempstead (named after Hempstead, Long Island where many of the congregants moved from). Initially, the congregation gathered for service in a log cabin before a permanent church was built on Germonds Road between 1750-1751. The church moved to its current location on Strawtown Road in 1871. Though the original church building perished in a fire in 1904, the Clarkstown Reformed Church Cemetery remains on the site and a historical marker commemorates the site of the original church. The historic cemetery is the final resting place of many Hudson Valley families as well soldiers from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
The first minister of the church was Samuel Verbryck. Reverend Verbryck served the congregations of both Tappan Reformed Church and The First Dutch Reformed Church of New Hempstead, serving the latter from 1750 until his passing in 1784. He is buried in the cemetery at Tappan Church, and his headstone reads, "Late Minister of the Gospel at Tappan and New Hempstead who departed this life on the 31 day of Jan. 1784 aged 62 years, 9 months and 13 days."
A historical marker located at the entrance of the church's current location tells us more about CRC's history:
CLARKSTOWN REFORMED CHURCH
Worship services in this hamlet were held as early as 1740 in a log meeting house at the old burial ground northwest of historic Pye's Corner.
The First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church was organized there in 1750. Initially services were in Dutch and later in English on alternate Sundays.
A sandstone building replaced the old structure in 1826 and was used until 1871 when the congregation moved to this site.
Pictured right is the first page of our very first baptismal book. The text reads, in Dutch: “Baptismal Book of the Dutch Reformed Congregation (“Gereformeerde Nederduijtse Gemeente”) of New Hempstead (“Nieuw Heemsted”) from the 22nd of April 1750; being the children as well as adults who received holy baptism in the abovementioned congregation, listed alphabetically together with their parents and witnesses who brought them to be baptized.”
This baptismal book also includes a few baptisms that took place in this district before the congregation was officially established. More than two hundred and fifty years old, it reminds us how the torch of faith was passed on from age to age. A lot happened during those two hundred and fifty years, but the Clarkstown Reformed Church (or, as the fledgling community was known in 1750, the “Gereformeerde Nederduijtse Gemeente van Nieuw Heemsted”), undoubtedly having faced many challenges, has been preserved by the grace of God.