History of Classis Hudson
Classis Hudson has its origins in a wave of immigration from the Netherlands in the mid-1800s. Some of these immigrants settled on the East Coast, bringing their Reformed faith with them and establishing churches where God could be worshiped and praised. They joined fellow immigrants in establishing the Christian Reformed Church. In 1878, six congregations on the East Coast - at Midland Park, Paterson, Lodi, and Passaic in New Jersey, and at Rochester and West Sayville in New York - asked permission to organize their own classis, or regional assembly.
These congregations grew, expanded, and established new churches. Within 30 years, the classis contained 12 churches. Four more were established by the 1940s, seven more in the decade after World War II, and by 1975 Classis Hudson contained 28 congregations. The growth in the number of churches at that time led to the creation of a new classis, Classis Atlantic Northeast, consisting mostly of former Classis Hudson congregations in New York and New England, in 1976.
A unique aspect of Classis Hudson's history is the relationship with Classis Hackensack, which shares the same geographic area in northern New Jersey. Classis Hudson originated in Dutch immigration in the 1850s, but Classis Hackensack had existed as a separate Reformed denomination for nearly seventy years before merging with the CRC in 1890. In the early 1900s, both classes were involved in sponsoring new congregations through a joint ministry committee called the Eastern Home Mission Board. The boundaries between the two classes were not so much geographic as they were cultural: churches in Classis Hackensack had more of an American cultural outlook, while those in Classis Hudson tended to reflect the mindset and values of the Dutch immigrant community. As the Classis Hudson churches came to have a longer history in this country, however, the cultural differences between the two classes grew less and less. By the 1960s, the congregations in each classis were remarkably similar to each other, and it became obvious that a restructuring was necessary.
1976 - Current
In 1976 a reorganization took place in an attempt to try to align the churches along more geographically consistent lines. However, the continued growth of new churches, mergers and relocation of congregations, as well as the loss of several congregations means that the boundaries between the two classes remain geographically fluid. In the last ten years, Classis Hudson has benefited from the addition of a number of congregations of different ethnic backgrounds. The classis now includes congregations with a primarily Chinese background, Filipino background, and several congregations from the Korean immigrant community. These churches have added a new dynamic of growth and cultural diversity to the classis and serves as a visible reminder of the richness of the body of Christ.
Today, Classis Hudson continues to share a common ministry area with Classis Hackensack, as well as a common ministry committee, called Mid-Atlantic Ministries. It is our prayer that God would continue to grow and expand the ministry of His church here in our area so that still more people would know the good news of Jesus Christ.
COMMUNITIES FOR TODAY
Classis Hudson churches are located in northern New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island. We come from many different backgrounds, and worship in a variety of different ways, but we all share the same commitment to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
Each church is an independent, autonomous congregation led by a council made up of pastors, elders and deacons. The churches have committed to relationship with one another as part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which includes churches in the United States and Canada.
Christian Reformed churches share a common commitment to reformed theology as it has historically been defined in three documents that we refer to as the Three Forms of Unity. These documents are the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort. Each of these documents was written into a specific context, and represent a framework of the Christian faith that is accurate to the Biblical story.
In addition to our common theological commitment and heritage, churches in Classis Hudson have committed to do shared ministry with one another, along with our neighboring Classis, Classis Hackensack. This shared ministry includes campus ministry, missionary support, church renewal efforts, church planting, and ongoing training and encouragement for pastors and lay leaders in our Classis.
Every church in Classis Hudson has a high priority on community life, stemming from our belief that God works not just in the lives of individuals, but through the community of which we are a part. Although our methods and styles vary, you can be assured that in each church you will be received warmly and cared for in a way that is often uncommon in today’s world.