Thru The Years
Tower Hill Church is situated on ten acres atop one of the highest points in Monmouth County. The church spire, topped with the Celtic Cross, rises 126 feet, beckoning worshippers to come, worship and advance the love and peace of God throughout the community and the world.
The church was formed in 1852 when 80 people petitioned the Presbytery of New Brunswick for a new church in Red Bank. The first services were held in a building known as The Forum in downtown Red Bank, until a proper edifice was completed at the corner of Broad and Wallace Streets in 1856.
The Rev. F. Reck Harbaugh was installed as the first pastor in 1853; he served for two years and later returned to serve for 23 years from 1874 to 1897.
The Elkus White House
Reverend Webster 1950s
The church remained at Broad and Wallace until 1910. With the Rev. Dr. J. W. Rogan as pastor, a new, larger church building opened at the corner of Broad Street and Reckless Place to accommodate a growing congregation. The cornerstone was laid in September of 1910 and the sanctuary dedicated in April 1911. Following Dr. Rogan’s death in November 1916, the church was served by interim pastors until the Rev. John Muyskens was installed in 1920.
In 1927, the Rev. Dr. John Hayes was called to serve as senior minister, a position he held for 22 years. He led the church in an era of steady growth, in which a part-time Christian education director was hired to serve a burgeoning Sunday School.
The pastorate of the Rev. Dr. Charles S. Webster extended from 1949 to 1975 and saw a remarkable increase in membership. During his tenure, the church acquired its first full-time secretary, Director of Christian Education and Minister of Music. Through Dr. Webster’s efforts the church purchased its current site from Abraham Elkus White. The Tower Hill Cooperative Nursery School was founded and the high school youth program, known as Campus Club, also began during these years.
The Rev. Dr. Gerald Mills served as senior minister from 1976 to 1986. Adult education was expanded and the Venture of Faith giving program was instituted. The Stephen Ministry was introduced to provide outreach and assistance to the congregation.
The Rev. Thomas T. Crenshaw was installed as senior minister in 1987, serving until 1993. He encouraged the congregation in personal spiritual growth and small group ministries. During this time, the church also served as the home of the Hispanic Ministry program of Monmouth Presbytery.
The Rev. Dr. John David Burton served twice as Interim Senior Pastor, after the departure of Dr. Mills and Mr. Crenshaw.
The Rev. Dr. John L. Musgrave served as senior minister from January 1996 to March 2003, heightening the congregation’s awareness of the liturgy in worship. As the 21st century began, Tower Hill was in the midst of a renovation program to coincide with the congregation’s 150th anniversary. Following Dr. Musgrave’s departure, The Rev. J. Roy Sharpe served as Interim Senior Pastor until October 2004.
The Rev. Stephen E. Beard accepted the call from Tower Hill in March 2005, serving until February 2011. He fostered our church’s support for missions at home and around the world, encouraging active participation in local efforts to serve our neediest neighbors.
Also, during his tenure, the church carried out Vision for the Hill, a successful 3-year, $2.6 million program to enhance our capabilities for ministry. Through Vision for the Hill we have expanded the Narthex; improved the St. Andrews meeting room; constructed handicapped-accessible bathrooms; installed an elevator; and completed improvements in our fellowship hall. Ten percent of the monies donated for Vision for the Hill have been given to local, regional and foreign missions.
Following Stephen Beard’s departure, the Rev. Theresa Swenson assumed leadership of our congregation as Associate Supply Pastor. The Rev. Dr. Ronald B.Fritts was called to Tower Hill as Interim Pastor on August 1, 2011. He served through November 2011.
The Rev. Jason P. Tucker accepted the call from Tower Hill in September 2012.