Forest Hill's Church to turn 100
by Kathleen Lees
Oct 18, 2012 | 2250 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friends reminisce about the church's history
Friends reminisce about the church's history
At 50 Ascan Ave. in Forest Hills Gardens, beneath a coupling of trees, the Church-in-the-Gardens poses as a picturesque congregation, welcome to all Christian denominations. And on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m., the church will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its first worship service.

“We’ve really evolved and are continuing to evolve,” said Rev. Noel Vanek, who joined the congregation in 1992.

Since the sanctuary’s completion in 1915, the church has received landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2009. In addition to serving as a place of worship, it also offers a universal pre-K program and nursery program.

Composed of over 250 members from a diverse community, several new organizations have been added since its beginnings, including the addition of a Korean Christian organization that holds services on Sundays at 2 p.m.

Millicent Fairhurst, a member of the churches’ planning committee, discussed the importance of an ever-changing membership.

“The church community is now mostly from outside Forest Hills, and it’s much more racially and culturally diverse to include everyone,” she said.

With the change in the church body has come a change of service presentation. Millicent said the congregation pressed for spiritual services that worked for all groups, including a more traditional ceremony earlier on Sundays to a more contemporary one with a band later in the afternoons.

Speaking of change, the congregation recently made a decision to allow gay wedding ceremonies at the church.

As for Sunday’s celebration, it will include an hour-long worship service with music by the congregation's choir and special musicians, along with prayer for the community, the world and the church, and sermons by Rev. Vanek and Rev. David Rowe, a former pastor.

The service will be held outdoors at Station Square, across from the Long Island Railroad Station. In case of rain, the service will be held in the gym of the Community House, at 15 Borage Place, and will be a re-creation of the first service.

Attendants are encouraged to dress in ways that resemble styles from 1912, and a reception at the Community House will follow.

For more information about the celebration, call (718) 268-6704.
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