The First Presbyterian Church in America

The first Presbyterian church established in America, which continues to exist to this day, is the congregation known today as the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, located in Jamaica, Queens, Long Island, New York. It was organized in 1662, and its history is ably told by its pastor, James Madison McDonald (1812-1876), who wrote two books on the subject: 1) A Sketch of the History of the Presbyterian Church, in Jamaica, L.I. (1847); and 2) Two Centuries in the History of the Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, L.I.; The Oldest Existing Church, of the Presbyterian Name, in America (1862). These volumes, told by a Princeton minister, stationed at the Jamaica church, tell a story that is not well-known today, but deserves to be told. Organized Presbyterianism in America began in New York, and in these records we find not only a remembrance but inspiration for the future.