In the summer of 1958, Pince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Old Tappan, New Jersey began its life as a congregation. The first meeting places were in various homes, including the parsonage where the first service was held in October. Finally, in Holdrum School, River Vale, Prince of Peace was officially organized on the Second Sunday after Epiphany, 1959, with 73 baptized members. When the Charter Roll was closed on Easter, the number had grown to 92. With a patient persistence born of God, Prince of Peace pressed forward in faith, confident in the leadership of God's hand.
In 1960, a lovely wooded site of more than 4 acres was selected upon which to build. In 1962, the challenge to "arise and build the house of the Lord" was accepted by the congregation. An exciting moment was reached on June 14, 1964, when the dedication of our unusual building, the area's first "church-in-the-round." This structure provided a unique and intimate space in which God's people would gather together for Christian learning, fellowship, learning, and fellowship.
In 1964, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Orangeburg, New York, merged with Prince of Peace. Redeemer's history began about the same time as Prince of Peace's in the summer of 1958. To this day, several members of Prince of Peace reside in Rockland County, New York.
Over the years, Prince of Peace continued to grow beyond its original members. In 1983, Prince of Peace began a self-study to identify the changing needs of the congregation concerning the building. After a series of discussions and studies to determine various options, the congregation, on March 1, 1987, voted to enter a "Building for Mission" Program.
This program involved the construction of a new 1,250 square foot, two-story addition and the renovation of several areas of the existing facility. The new construction included a Pastor's office and secretarial office as well as a large meeting room for fellowship and education. In addition, an elevator and a new bathroom for those with special needs made it possible for Prince of Peace to be completely accessible to all persons. Renovations to existing areas improved the sacristy, provided a new office for the director of music, expanded the use of the kitchen, and added more storage capacity.
Prince of Peace originally began as a congregation of the Augustana Lutheran Church. In 1962, as part of a merger, Prince of Peace became a member of the newly formed Lutheran Church in America (LCA). In January of 1988, Prince of Peace again experienced change as it celebrated the official birth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
As the years have passed, Prince of Peace has been served by five pastors: The Rev. Otto Jacobson (1958-1968) , the Rev. George Meslow (1969-1975), The Rev. H. Paul Schaefer (1975-1978), the Rev. William Smeltz (1978-1986), Rev. Bruce Bassett, (1987-1997), and the Rev. John C. Holliday (1998-Present).
Since the official organization, Prince of Peace has always sought ways of proclaiming God's name the community and to the world. The membership, younger and older alike, are people of strong faith and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our history has been and always will be a testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God and the venturesome faith of countless people who by their lives, witness, and gifts, continue to reach out with the love of God. May the future not find us wanting in obedient faith to the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.