Immediately after the Civil War, a group of people from Clifton, New Jersey came to this area and established the village of Clifton. In 1868, a woman by the name of Margaret Hetzel organized a Sunday school in the house, still standing, at the corner of Pendelton Avenue and Chapel Streets, near the Fire Department. That is how Chapel Street got its name.
From the beginning, in 1869, some nine members of the community organized the Clifton Presbyterian Church. This group hoped to provide public worship and arranged for occasional preaching services. On the last day of 1870, the cornerstone of the present native stone structure was laid. It was completed in 1872 and brought a place of worship to this community from that day to the present.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the new building was held June 5th, 2005 and we were officially granted occupancy on October 4, 2006. The sanctuary remodeling and re-visioning then began and it was completed by Christmas 2006 with the official dedication taking place, despite the snow, on January 21, 2007.
The new addition provides a Fellowship Hall with a large, quality kitchen and bright classrooms for Christian Education or weekday preschool classes. The facility is completely handicapped accessible with an elevator. The exterior was carefully designed to complement the historic structure and stone.
Outside, beneath the bell tower, are the beautiful old wooden doors that used to be the main entrance to the sanctuary, and the stained glass window above the old narthex. The bell tower bears the inscription “Legacy from Mrs. E. A. Bradley – Being dead she yet speaketh, Troy Bell Foundry, Jones & Company, Troy, NY 1873.”
The stained glass window was given as a memorial to Grace Millen by her husband, Calvin Millen, long time chief of Clifton Fire Department. The somewhat conspicuous mastic which is used to fasten this glass together is less brilliant in the daytime. However, the nature of the glass is such that when it is seen at night and it is illuminated from the back, it refracts light as though it were encrusted with jewels. The design itself is taken from the jeweled mosaic cross on the tomb of the Roman Emperor, Justinian, which is in Ravenna, Italy. This beautiful rose window is now visible from the interior of the sanctuary thanks to a donation from Nancy Scott and her family, in memory of her husband Jack, a long-time member of Clifton Presbyterian Church.
The communion table dates back to the installation of the late Rev. Ellwood Crick as pastor here and displays an antique communion set below.
Hanging at the rear of the Sanctuary, is the needlepoint communion tablecloth, which coordinates with the pulpit chairs and kneeler in use on the chancel. These beautiful works of art were created by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Seippel, former members of the church.
Many of the items in the sanctuary bear plaques acknowledging those who donated funds to provide new items or renovate and repair existing ones. Several of the rooms in our new facility have also been dedicated in this way and have dedication plaques to the right of the doorway.
Two display cases, which have been relocated to the Library, hold a Bible printed in 1858, presented to the church at a later date and used as the pulpit Bible until 1968 when it was retired, restored and put on display and one of the offering plates used in the early days of the church.
General Willard Webb’s carvings, which were a special feature of the old building, are now on display throughout the narthex, stair well and hallways. Information sheets are available near each grouping.
Beside the elevator hangs the “Touching Tomorrow Today” stitched by Lisbeth Kozy. The original campaign logo was designed by Marla Hembree in September, 2002, and it was used throughout the successful three-year capital campaign to raise funds for the new building addition. Construction of this addition began in 2005. This wall hanging was dedicated in October, 2005. Both Ms. Hembree and Ms. Kozy are members of CPC.