Westerly Road Church began in the early 1950’s with a growing desire of some Christians in the Princeton area to start a church where (1) the Bible would be taught as reliable and authoritative (2 Timothy 3:16-17); (2) Christ would be worshipped in all His glory (John 20:28); and (3) concern for denominational differences would be minimized.
Butler, Dorothy and Helen Harris – brother and sisters – owned property between Mountain Avenue and the soon-to-be-constructed Westerly Road. They donated the portion of their property fronting Westerly Road for a new church.
Their own homes on Mountain Avenue were pre-fabricated. When they learned that the company that had built their homes was now building churches, they realized that this was a way that they could afford to build a church building. Soon the new church arrived by rail at Princeton Junction and was transported to the Westerly Road site.
Meanwhile, the Lord had uniquely prepared a man to pastor this new church. A family friend of the Harrises, Edward H. Morgan, had attended Princeton University and Princeton Seminary and entered the pastorate – without yet knowing the Lord as his Savior.
A parishioner in his first church who knew the Lord shared with Rev. Morgan and encouraged him to attend a Pastors’ Conference at America’s Keswick in Whiting, NJ. He did so and put his trust in the Lord. By the time Westerly Road Church was founded, Ed Morgan was pastoring an evangelical church in Virginia. He gladly accepted the call to pastor the new church, and he came back to Princeton with his wife Betty and their children.
The first service at Westerly Road Church was held on Thanksgiving 1956. Ever since, the Thanksgiving morning service has been a favorite event of the year. The church quickly grew and underwent several building expansions in its first decade.
In 1976 the church had grown beyond the capacity of the building, and the decision was made to start a new church. Several elders took their families to the new work, which became Windsor Chapel in West Windsor.
In 1979 Helen and Dorothy Harris effectively gave their own homes on Mountain Avenue, behind the church, to the church, bringing the church property to four acres including three houses. One house was designated for use by missionaries on home assignment, and this has been an effective means for us to get to know missionaries and to minister to them.
Pastor Morgan retired from the pastorate in 1981, before his departure helping to select his successor, Paul Bawden. The church’s first youth pastor, Rod Robertson, was appointed in 1983.
When Pastor Bawden and his family returned to the midwest in 1985, Matthew Ristuccia was on the staff of the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship and was on the Board of Elders of Westerly Road Church. He was chosen to be the new pastor. Tracy Troxel became youth pastor in 1989, and pastor of adult ministries in 1994.
This page revised February 23, 1998. See Site Information.