Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. R.C. McDanel
On a rural hillside overlooking the Boyds Corners Reservoir stands The First Kent Baptist Church. Kent Cliffs, the hamlet which it serves, is located in the western end of the town of Kent, in the approximate center of the county of Putnam, New York.
Here in the foothills of the Berkshires and fifty-two miles north of Columbus Circle in the heart of New York City, this rural church serves a community of approximately one hundred families. However, due to the influx of summer residents escaping the heat of the city, the population of Kent Cliffs more than doubles from June to September; and regardless of denomination the church today provides a Sunday School and a place of worship for all who care to attend.
The church itself is a white frame structure of about 38 by 44 ft. The windows are of stained glass, and to the front is a small porch in lieu of a belfry. Behind the church is a small public "burying ground".
Inside, the cream-colored walls with the mahogany wainscoating and pews combined with the warm lights of the stained glass enables the visitor to retain the calm atmosphere condusive to worship which he first obtains from the scene of natural beauty created by the lake and hills and the quiet of the countryside.
At present the church membership is seventy-nine; of this number twenty-one are no longer residents of the community. The average attendance at the regular Sunday morning service is about twenty-five. The Sunday School roll lists fifty-four children and adults.
The church receives its financial support from the contributions of the congregation and from endowment. There is on deposit with the Putnam County National Bank and the Fishkill Savings Institute a total sum of $4,519.36 in trust, the interest on which may be used to defray the expenses of the church. There is also invested $129.83 for maintenance of the church property.
So much for the present. Let us look back to the days of the founding of the church and review the first one hundred years of its existence, for in those days this church was more than a place of worship. Through such disciplinary means as the church possessed and through the influence of its members, the church served as arbitrator or disputes, a friend to those in need, a custodian of order, and at all times endeavored to instill in the community a spirit of neighborliness and proper conduct.
These services, as well as the growth and development of the church through the years, I shall try to present in the following pages.
Christensen, Gordon M., "A history of the First Kent Baptist Church, Kent Cliffs, New York, 1810-1910" (1940). Honors Theses. 454.