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About First Reformed Church, Schenectady

Our Staff

Lynn Carman Bodden
    Interim Senior Pastor

Rev. Dr. Daniel Carlson
    Associate Minister

Heather Scribner
    Church Administrator

Gary Nelson
    Operations Manager

Natalie Pizzolo
    Children's Ministries Coordinator

Tom Mahan

Mary Collins
    Accounts Payables

Corine Salon
    Director of Music

Andrew Wiltz
    Maintenance Staff

Max Caplan
    Church Musician / Organist

Jani Pittman
    Office Assistant

Lisa Ettkin
    Mission/Volunteer Coordinator

Jamie Ipsen
    Children's Music Director

Julia Ettkin
    Sunday Receptionist

First Reformed Church, Schenectady
8 North Church Street Map
Schenectady, NY 12305
Phone: 518-377-2201 fax 518-374-4098


Sunday Schedule
10 am Worship, Church School  
5 pm Jazz Vespers 


About Our Church

Welcoming All People

Our biblical convictions and congregational commitments call us to welcome all people to our community of faith. We are a church where all people are loved and invited to share in our life together, inclusive of all sexual orientations or gender identities. 


In addition to street parking, there are four areas set aside for your use when attending events and worship. You may use all the lots within sight of the church for events here.


Our office is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm weekdays all year long. The library, the sanctuary, and church facilities are open for your use during these times. Community groups and individuals may book space at the church by contacting the church office.


Membership in the First Reformed Church is open to all. Classes are held on a regular basis to help orient people to the building, the leadership, and the programs of the church. New Member Class is on the first Sunday of the month at 3pm and meet in the church office.  Call 377-2201 for more info.



is provided through our Kinderwyk program staffed by professionals and members located in Friendship Hall down stairs from the main sanctuary.  Care is offered from 9:50am to noon every Sunday morning.

Church School

Children through Junior High are invited to leave worship after the children’s message and go to church school. From 10:15 to noon, activities are offered so that parents might attend the Sunday Forum.

Youth Group

Youth from 6th to 12th grade are welcome to participate in our J-Walkers Youth group.  Currently we meet 2-3 Sundays a month from 12-2.  Check out our newsletter for upcoming events.  We are open and affirming of all races, genders, orientations and abilities.


These classes prepare youth for entry into adulthood and membership in the church.

Adult Education

Offerings include Sunday morning studies, Kerygma Bible study Wednesday mornings, and the Adult Forum that meets after worship most Sundays.


Our worship is open to all.

Sunday Morning Worship

We worship every Sunday morning at 10am, but you may wish to come a few minutes early for our inspiring organ prelude that begins at 9:40.

Jazz Vespers

Every Sunday at 5pm you are welcome to a reflective service of mostly jazz music featuring professional musicians and some readings. 

Wednesday Contemplative Worship

Each 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7pm a handful of folks gather for a quieter and more reflective service featuring acoustic guitar and ukuleles, songs, scripture, silence, prayers, communion, and sharing Christ's peace.

Weddings and Funerals

Members and non-members are welcome to have their religious ceremonies in our worship spaces.


The Reformed Church in America grew out of the Protestant Reformation and is the oldest Protestant denomination in what we call the United States. We are always reforming as we listen to the Bible and how God is alive within our world. We work closely with Presbyterians, Uniting Church of Christ, Lutherans and Christian Reformed denominations.  But we also believe that we are united with a full spectrum of Christians from around the world in following Jesus Christ and living out God’s love for all creation. Because we see ourselves as united with all Christians, everyone is invited to celebrate communion with us so we can reflect our unity and diversity around the table.  

We understand that the Spirit in the past helped to shape creeds (such as the Apostles Creed) and statements of faith (such as the Heidelberg Catechism).  We want to honor and learn from these.  But we also understand that the Spirit is at work in  the present thru other people and other traditions, and we want to respect and learn from these also.  This is why we are always reforming according to what the Word of God seems to be saying to us.



Activities at First Reformed:
Church School,Youth Fellowships, Community Dinners, Adult Classes, International Mission, Concerts, Environmental Activism, Wednesday Forums, Monday Newsgroup, Adult Choir, Youth Choir, Bell Choirs, Youth Orchestra, Vacation Bible School, Local Mission Opportunities, Fair Trade Sales, Bookstore, Library, Historical Archives, Kerygma, Sunday Morning Worship, Sunday Evening Vespers

Church History


The First Reformed Church is Schenectady’s oldest congregation. Founded by Dutch settlers, Schenectady’s first colonists, the Church has long enjoyed an ethnically and ecumenically diverse membership drawn from the city, its suburbs and surrounding rural areas. The church has kept records since 1680. The records include ministries to the Mohawk Indians, Gen. George Washington’s presence at a worship service during the Revolution, printing money, the change from Dutch to English to American, and the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. George R. Lunn, who left the pulpit to became Schenectady’s Socialist mayor in the early 1900’s.

The first church building, located near the present bus station on State Street, was destroyed in the 1690 Schenectady Massacre. An expanding congregation outgrew its second and third buildings, replacing them with larger structures. The fourth was lost in Schenectady’s Great Fire of 1861. The present church building, an architectural landmark, designed by the highly regarded Victorian-gothic architect Edward Tuckerman Potter, was gutted by fire Feb. 1, 1948. The congregation, with generous assistance from the Schenectady community, restored the priceless edifice to its present form.

First Reformed Church has always played an important positive role in Schenectady, offering spiritual nurture to early colonists, rebuilding after the massacre, supporting the American cause in the Revolutionary War, and founding Union College. During W.W.II, our minister, the Rev. Clark V. Poling, sacrificed his life at the sinking of the troop transport Dorchester. He was one of the Four Chaplains who gave up their life jackets so soldiers would survive.

We continue our heritage of mission and ministry today. Church members serve as board members of service agencies throughout the community. First Reformed Church is an active member and supporter of Schenectady Inner City Ministry. Many of our members give their time and talents to show God’s love through the Community Gardens Project, Bethesda House Hospitality Center and other local organizations. In recent years, youth and adult groups have traveled to Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Appalachia, New York City, and Florida on mission work projects.

In touring our Church, we invite you to visit the sanctuary, chapels, library, Faith Bookshop, Poling House Christian education facilities, columbarium, Kinderwyck child-care center and gardens. Greeters and guides are on hand to tell you about the history of our Church, its stained glass windows, flags, and historical treasures on display. We’d also like to talk about our life together as a congregation today and the many opportunities for people of all ages in our Church School, adult learning, music, youth, fellowship, and mission programs.

Thank you for this “virtual visit” to Schenectady’s First Church.

We hope to see you soon, in person.