15 River Rd
Califon, NJ 07830

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About the Church Building

Time has stood still for this most beautiful country church.

The Main Church

Entrances

Califon UMC is a simple rectangular building facing the South Branch of the Raritan River on River Rd. It has two main entrances in the front with red doors, leading to two vestibules. The side entrance is fitted with a ramp for convenient accessibility access.

The Steeple

Each vestibule is housed in a tower, the taller left tower is the steeple. The steeple has a bell in the bellfry which is rung by manually pulling a bell cord. 

Two Aisles

The two vestibules naturally lead to a nave laid out with two aisles. There are two ways to handle a wedding procession with two aisles. One was is to block off one aisle, and treat the remaining two sections as the bride's and groom's. Alternately, both aisles can be used.

As the left side of the church is usually designed as the bride's side, the bride will enter with her escort in the bride's aisle, usually on her escort's left. She is traditionally "given away" to her waiting groom. After the union, the groom steps to the bride's right, where he offers her his left arm. (This keeps his right arm free to grab his sword and fend off wife-abductors.) The bride makes a wide turn and they depart with her in the groom's aisle or on the groom's side of the aisle. Whether one aisle or two, the position of the bride in the aisle symbolizes the the union of the two families.  

Sloped Floor

As you enter the nave, you'll see that floor slopes downward toward the sanctuary and altar. For any occasion -- wedding, christening, confirmation, new member -- the ceremony can take place on the nave floor, or the participants can step up to the podium so the congregation can see it better.

Pipe Organ

In 1928 a new Mudler-Hunter pipe organ was purchased to replace the old bellows organ.  

Stained Glass

Twelve stained glass windows were recently renovated.

Choir

The choir sits in a raised area above the podium in front of the organist. 

Pews

Pews are long wooden benches with thick, comfortable seat cushions.

Temperature Control

Sadly, the church has no air conditioning. For the small number of very hot Sundays in the summer, the congregation worships in Fellowship Hall.

National Register of Historic Places

Photos from 1974

West Jersey History Project: Califon