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Public Statements

Honoring 100 Years of History

Location: Washington, DC

HONORING 100 YEARS OF HISTORY -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 15, 2004)

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Hungarian Presbyterian Church, in the Borough of Wharton, Morris County, NJ, a vibrant community I am proud to represent. On October 3, 2004, the good citizens of Wharton are celebrating the Hungarian Presbyterian Church's 100th anniversary.

The first idea of a Hungarian church in Wharton was initiated in 1904 by a small group of Hungarians who had recently come from Hungary and were anxious to hear the Word of God in their native language. Before they had their own sanctuary, two local churches allowed them to worship there.

The church was completed 2 years later, and a thanksgiving service was held on September 16, 1906.

For the next 20 years, the congregation was served mainly by theologians from Bloomfield Seminary, but on March 1, 1926, Reverand John Dezso accepted the call and served the church with dedication and distinction for almost 30 years. In addition to preaching, he was responsible for maintaining the Hungarian culture. Some of the present congregants still remember the little poems, songs, and verses they had learned as children from Reverand Dezso.

Until the 1950s services were only conducted in Hungarian, but the children of the immigrants as well as some of the spouses requested English services as well, and the church has been bi-lingual ever since.

Perhaps the most devastating time for the church community happened on January 2, 1982, when some young people broke into the church and set it on fire. Fortunately, the Wharton and Mine Hill Fire Departments responded quickly, and because the fire was contained, the building was saved. However, the interior of the church was destroyed. Thanks to a lot of hard work and the inspirational leadership of Reverand Ernest M. Kosa, the church was rebuilt in 10 months. The church community celebrated with a service of Thanksgiving.

The Church Community is very thankful for their present pastor, Charles Olah, CLP, Certified Lay Pastor, who conducts services every Sunday in both English and Hungarian. Without him and their wonderful congregation, they would not be able to do the great job that they do.

Mr. Speaker, I urge you and my colleagues to join me in congratulating the Hungarian Presbyterian Church on the celebration of its 100 years serving the western part of Morris County.

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