A Brief History of St Elizabeth's Church
The Orthodox Church of Saint Elizabeth the New-Martyr had as its beginning a group of Orthodox Christians who gathered together for liturgical services in Somerville, New Jersey, beginning in the Spring of 1998. The parish was formally founded founded in July of 1998 as a Mission Parish of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
For the first three and a half years of its existence, St Elizabeth's held its functions, both liturgical and social, in the home our priest, Fr David Straut.
In September of 2001, the Mission was given the use of a large room as a dedicated Chapel at the back of the home of one our faithful parishioners in Somerville. It had a separate entrance from the house and its own facilities. In addition, this parishioner allowed us to use his basement for coffee hour and meetings. We enjoyed the hospitality of this parishioner for two and a half years until we were able to buy our own church building.
For nearly six years we worshipped in temporary quarters. Then through the sacrifice of our parishioners and a few friends of our parish, St Elizabeth's was able to acquire a ninety-five year old church building in the Princeton area on 18 February 2004. It was the historic St James' Church at 38 Princeton Avenue, Rocky Hill, New Jersey 08553. We thank God for His great mercy toward our little church.
After being in that historic church building for four years, making several improvements to the building during that period, we had extensive renovations done to our church building which took four months - from late May through the beginning of October 2008. The inside of the church is now more beautiful than ever. We have enlarged the altar area, had a proper iconastasis built, improved our choir loft, and put in in a new ceiling, refinished the floors, and installed new lighting, ventilation, and airconditioning systems.
Current Statistics and Status
Begun by only thirteen people (including the priest's family of seven!) in seven households, the Mission has experienced steady growth to about 50 members in twenty households in ten years. Despite the fact that Fr David helps support his family by working at a job outside the parish, St Elizabeth's is able to maintain a full schedule of liturgical services. The Vigil Service (Great Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour) is served every Saturday evening and on the Eve of Great Feasts. The Divine Liturgy is served each Sunday and Great Feastday morning.