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 the CRC community in northern New Jersey looked like this (Hackensack churches in yellow, Hudson in blue):
This led to a reorganization of the two classes in 1976 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. The churches of our two classes can be found in the following locations in northern New Jersey and New York (for a list of Classis Hudson churches only, click here). 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.
Classis Hudson churches are in blue, Classis Hackensack in yellow