It had humble origins, beginning in October of 1901 in a carpenter's shop on Liberty Place.
"Floors were built to keep the draft out," said Rev. L.W. Guilfoyle, the pastor of the Park United Methodist Church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary with simple festivities last Sunday after services. "From what I can understand, there were 23 people present at the first services."
The church's congregation, located on the corner of Potter and Cooper places in Weehawken, grew considerably after that first service. At one point in the 1940s there were more than 500 active members in the church.
However, times have changed and the numbers of churchgoers in many denominations have diminished greatly over the years.
Park United, which has had Guilfoyle as its pastor for the last 13 years, now has about 25 active members. But that didn't stop them from gathering after Sunday services last week to reflect on 100 years of service to the community.
"For anything to exist for 100 years is an accomplishment," Guilfoyle said. "But for this church to have gone through all kinds of crises and tough times is a statement to the testament of the church and its people. This church is alive and well and remains very active in the community."
Guilfoyle added, "And it was a great celebration. We had a nice crowd and I'm quite thankful for the turnout. It says that the church is great and the township and its administrators are great. It shows that people are still dedicated to their church."
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner attended the celebration and presented Guilfoyle with an official proclamation in honor of the anniversary.
"The Park United Methodist Church is a vital component of our community," Turner said. "Rev. Guilfoyle has been an active member in many of our activities. They are an asset to the community, and the church augments the small town atmosphere that we like to have in Weehawken."
Turner added, "I think the Park United Methodist Church is indicative of the tremendous change we've seen in Weehawken in the past 20 years. They had a period of decline in the '80s, but were able to build themselves back up through the '90s and have been prospering. It's another indication that a 100-year-old institution can survive and do well in these times. They've had a rebirth and have enjoyed a tremendous restoration."
Guilfoyle agreed. "It really was a celebration more than anything," he said. "We've totally rebuilt the church on the exterior and the interior of the church almost also is completed. We have one more room to do."
"The day was about celebrating," Guilfoyle said. "It was just good fellowship and good times. It was a chance to reflect on 100 years. We like to remain active."
The church conducts bible classes and has a school for youngsters to learn more about their faith.