Which Church should I belong to?

Hi everyone :

I guess this must be an awkward question .. but my 6 yr old son and I are looking to become involved in a "church" community. We're new to Hackettstown, but native to NJ. However, I was born in Poland, arrived in US over 26 years ago.

Anyway, I was raised strict catholic, but stopped attending church when I started college about 10 years ago. I don't consider myself any specific religion and don't particularly side with any one group. My partner is actually a barely practicing muslim, which my mother does not approve of.

We don't have much family in NJ, or close by, and would love to feel that sort of support and love, from a more "spiritual" kind of church. Hackettstown seems to have some beautiful churches (architecturally) and we would like some guidance as to which one is most family/non-denominational/LGBT friendly..

All ideas welcome, and sorry if its to much too ask for.. just looking for somewhere to fit in I guess and so my son and I can make some new friends as well! :)

Spiritual P Spiritual P
Aug '17

I'm sure each and every Church in town would welcome you to come in for a mass and see if you feel at home.

A friend tells me there's a unitarian church I think on 57 in Mansfield/Washington that may fit your bill. Maybe someone else here can give you more information on them.

alpha1beta alpha1beta
Aug '17

I agree, I would think all churches would welcome you.
Since you mentioned you are Polish, I know there are 2 new young Polish priests at Our Lady of The Mountain if that is of interest to you. That church is also very family friendly.

happiest girl
Aug '17

Unitarian Universalist church. They welcome gay people, Muslims, even agnostic people and atheists. They are more spiritual than religious.

UUisWelcoming UUisWelcoming
Aug '17

I would agree with Uuiswelcoming. That's a great welcoming spiritual place. good luck

Hkt kat
Aug '17

St Peter and Paul church on 46 in Independence has a large Polish community.

Graignettles Graignettles
Aug '17

Any feedback on the inclusivity of the Episcopal church on Washington St?

Aug '17

I don't believe others can help you pick out a church. Religion is a very personal matter. You may like a church and others may not. I suggest attending a few churches for several weeks ( one week will not give you a good feel of the place) and then make a decision. This could take several months.
I personally believe that you (anyone) needs to join a church who's teachings they believe in and will follow. Churchs are about Faith and Belief, not social clubs. It is wonderful when the congregation is friendly and welcoming, but that is not the primary reason you should choose a church. You choose one to help and support you in your faith. If you are only looking for friendly and welcoming then perhaps you need to join some kind of social club. Your first priority should be "Do I believe and will I follow the teachings of that church". Once you have narrowed it down to a denomination, then you can pick one that seems more friendly and welcoming.
Best of Luck.

Aug '17

As Graignettles said, Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Great Meadows has a large Polish community. There is also one mass every Sunday said completely in Polish. It is a very welcoming church.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
Aug '17

I would say visit them and make a choice based on your experience. go for a test drive

BrownEyesGuy BrownEyesGuy
Aug '17

The Waterloo Village church has a specific sign out that the LGTB community is welcome. The Episcopal church in general is much more open to LGTB than the Catholic church.

hktownie hktownie
Aug '17

The First Presbyterian Church in Hackettstown has a small, friendly congregation and a wonderful Sinday School.

Aug '17

I agree with JBJSKJ, that choosing a church is a personal decision, and what's a right fit for one might not be a right fit for another.

With that in mind, I'd like to invite you to check out Trinity United Methodist Church on Main Street. If you are looking for a community, Trinity is welcoming to all and there are so many wonderful experiences for kids! My girls (14 and 10) never complain about going to church and actually bug me to make sure they get to participate in the extras! The church is also very service oriented, with service and mission opportunities both local and worldwide.

There are lots of former Catholics attending Trinity, and there are people from around the world who attend there. In fact, they are working on a project right now to hang flags in the all-purpose room, to represent the native heritages of all who attend. I believe right now there are 19 different countries represented.

There are several services, each with a different feel to them.

Saturdays at 5pm: Saturday Night Worship in Trinity House (on Moore Street), super casual and very family friendly

Sundays at 8:15am: Chapel service, downstairs in the main building (enter through back door), quiet, small service

Sundays at 9:15am: Contemporary service, in the main sanctuary (enter through Main Street doors or main side door), contemporary Christian music, family friendly service (during the school year, Sunday School program called KidVenture takes place at same time)

Sundays at 10:45am: Traditional service in the main sanctuary (enter through Main Street doors or main side door), traditional service with hymns, family friendly with Children's Time and Creative Activities program for kids

You can check out the website at www.catchthespirit.org. Also please note if you visit in the next two weeks, there is construction going on to the main side entrance, so don't be turned off by the mess!

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Aug '17

I agree. Trinity church is our church home. Our 2 kids grew up in their youth programs thru high school and beyond.
Even though Trinity is a large church we welcome diversity, in fact we have people worshiping on a regular or semi regular basis from around 30 countries.
Trinity is uniquely blessed to have many pastors that really bring the scripture to life in a real time way, making it relatable to today's life.
We offer many many small group classes from hobby items to current topics to bible studies, all Christ centered. A marvelous way to get to know people in our congregation.
There is always something going on at Trinity.
We just had a 3 week sermon series based on 3 current movies and how the themes relate to the scripture lessons.
Our services are Saturday night in our Trinity House (the blue outreach building on the back of the property) 5pm.
Sunday morning chapel 8:15 and sanctuary services at 9:15 and 10:45. Each service is uniquely set up for those who like traditional, contemporary or a combination.
Please give Trinity a try. You may be like my wife and I, we went once and never went anywhere else.
I grew up Catholic but Trinity just feels right.

Tom S Tom S
Aug '17

I agree with everything that was said already.

in addition, you may want to consider if you're joining for you or for your son. that might lead to a different answer. one church might move your spirit while another might be the perfect community for your son. so, I suggest you try out a couple beginning in September when you can see how your son feels with the whole church gang around too.

btw, I'm a trinity guy, and it was as much for the rich experiences for the kids as anything else.

ken e
Aug '17

The presbyterian church in town is a wonderful family friendly church that is open to diversity.

Habitat Habitat
Aug '17

My family and I belong to the panther valley church right in allamuchy. We are a non denomination church. Church service is every Sunday at 10:30 at that time is when Sunday school is.

We would love to have you join us one Sunday to see what we're all about to see if maybe our church will be your new church home.

Mom25 Mom25
Aug '17

Re: Which Church should I belong to?

As others have said, choosing a church is a very personal decision but, based on some of what you mentioned, Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church might be a good fit.

-Very spiritual though that is dependent on the individual
-Unlike some Catholic parishes is very LGBT friendly
-Our parochial vicar (priest) is a recent arrival from Poland and an incredibly warm and friendly man. (We're blessed to have him)
-We are a very family friendly community


Dr Bob Dr Bob
Aug '17

Agree with others regarding St. Peter & Paul. You will feel very at home there. After mass you go stop at Nykuns on the way back and pick up a nice kielbasa, and some chrusciki. You can also order some good babka there.

Denis Denis
Aug '17

Jersey Girl- Trinity was Terrible!

We were appalled at the "Whites are Bad" sermon we recently heard.

We are Mixed race American Citizens, and this offended us.

Racism in a church!! YIKES!

Unitarian Universalist church........Is that the church on 57, just after the Walmart? If so I SO SECOND it. Perfect church because it excepts EVERYONE....

littlelu littlelu
Aug '17

Shop around - do not obsess about denomination - all of the major religions espouse the same morality --- attend services and maybe a social function - if the place feels uncomfortable, move on to the next one - when you find a place that feels like home, that's your pick - - when you find the right place, you'll know

~trekster3 ~trekster3
Aug '17

Spiritual P.............You HAVE to try that church on Rt. 57. It is right pass the light at Airport Rd...and Wallmart. It's called Skylands Unitarian Unversalist Fellowship. Theri phone if you want to ck out service times is 908-684-4040

They except EVERY religion........it's all about embrassing all that is good..........

littlelu littlelu
Aug '17

Yikes, Lili, what service/sermon was that? Recent topics have included:

Identifying your gifts and using them, no matter what obstacle stands in your way (Using the movie "Hidden Figures" as a talking point)

Embracing all of your emotions and seeing how they all serve a purpose (Using the movie "Inside Out" as a talking point)

Seeing the good in others and doing whatever possible to support them (Using the movie "Macfarland, USA" as a talking point)

And last week, "What Would Jesus Think About Division" which focused on reacting to conflicts by serving others

It's possible that we heard different pastors speak on these topics, but I'm trying to figure out which one would have had a "whites are bad" slant to it.

Edited to add: I'm really sorry that this was your experience and impression of our church...Trinity is NOT a racist church by any means!

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Aug '17

Trinity has a sermon about how whites are bad..............

wish I was there to hear the sermon in it's ENTIRETY............I don't want to make it sound that I don't believe it, but that jutst doesnt sound right.

littlelu littlelu
Aug '17

My family and I go to Panther Valley Ecumenical church on 517 just past Mattar Bistro in the righthand side of the road. they are very welcoming they don't judge other's.
We have bern going over 10yrs. my husband and i our in our 30s, wr have 3 children 19,7,2. great Sunday school program but they don't force the child if they dont want to attend.
Best wishes

cherbear cherbear
Aug '17

Abundant Life in Port Murray NJ not from Hackettstown. It's a non denominational church. Heard good things about them. You can also look them up on YouTube and their website. Just Google them. Good luck!

I believe the sermon was 3 weeks ago. He kept referencing a movie. The church has recordings of their sermons.

We are going to try out the one on 57 next.
I also heard the one on Blau road (off Rockport) is good.

Lili- I'm from the church on Blau Road (Church of the Covenant). Hope maybe we see you there some time!

Megan Megan
Aug '17

It's not exaclty hackettstown but my family and I go to Emergence in Roxbury (they meet in franklin elementary school, 8 meeker road, succasunna, 9:30 and 11:00 services)

Never before have I seen a group of people more passionate for the Lord and serving others. The preacher is unassuming but powerful and the band is always great. No nonsense, no begging for money, no judgmentalism displayed by the people, very welcoming and very kid friendly. That's why we travel to Roxbury every week. An extra 10 mins is totally worth it. I've been to several churches in the area growing up around here and nothing even came close to this church as far as something that just feels... right. We'd love to have you and your family.

waxless waxless
Aug '17

I was thinking about you yesterday. I hope you were able to try out a church in the area. If you're still looking, I second (third) the Presbyterian Church on Main Street. The congregation is "smallish", and VERY accepting and warm-it feels like a family. Good luck in your search. It can be a process to find the place that feels like home to you.

summerrain1 summerrain1
Aug '17

I'd go to different church every Sunday. Then repeat.

I'm in a similar situation in terms of seeking an accepting church, so I'll be interested to see what churches Spiritual P tries out and I could use some recommendations too.

I'm somewhat new to the area and hoping to find a church where I won't encounter a lot of raised eyebrows because I'm LGBT. I would prefer a large church where I can blend in without calling much attention to myself (unless or until I'm ready for more). So, in my case, bigger (rather than small and intimate) is better, although that does not mean a megachurch. If possible, I'd like a church with the option for contemporary music.

If anyone has suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

SquirrelGirl SquirrelGirl
Aug '17

SquirrelGirl - I'm not a member there, but I believe I remember seeing Trinity has contemporary music services in their community building. I think that's Saturday nights:


Zarephath is the only church I've felt comfortable in. Nondenominational, but not local..near Raritan.

Just overwhelming love and peace. I've never experienced anything like it.


positive positive
Aug '17

Zarephath according to what I read does not sound LGBT friendly.

happiest girl
Aug '17

Squirrel Girl, check out my (rather long) post above about Trinity...there are 2 services with more contemporary music, the Saturday Night Worship at 5pm and the Contemporary service at 9:15 Sunday mornings.

Trinity is open and accepting of everyone, and the services are large enough that you will blend in if you want to. But once you are ready, there's lots of opportunities to get involved and get to know people.

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Aug '17

Thanks for the feedback all. Positive, thank you, but I do not believe Zarapeth is friendly either based on what I've read. I also don't want to travel to Raritan.

I will probably check Trinity out soon if it's big and has some contemporary music. The Saturday evening service looks interesting, but it's in a different venue from the main church. Is it much smaller?

Waxless mentioned Emergence in Roxbury in response to Spiritual P's original post. It seems intriguing and different and the contemporary music they use is the type I can really connect with (I just checked out some vids on YouTube). I'm curious, though, about how an LGBT person will be accepted at an evangelical church. Waxless, if you have any other thoughts, please feel free to pipe in.

SquirrelGirl SquirrelGirl
Aug '17

I say this respectfully: I think the most important thing is to first figure out where you stand, belief wise. Finding a good Bible-based church is ideal. Church is all about giving glory to God and being true to His word, not finding the best entertainment or fun activities.

H-town Neighbor H-town Neighbor
Aug '17

H-town Neighbor:
Please explain what do you mean by *entertainment* and *fun activities* in a church?

happiest girl
Aug '17

SquirrelGirl the Saturday Night Worship at Trinity is at Trinity House on Moore Street. The average attendance is about 75 people at that service.

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Aug '17

H-town Neighbor: Well put. It seems that church has often become more of a social club these days and a place where people go to see what they can get out of it and feel good and less like a place of worship, where we are meeting with other believers, confessing our sin, participating in the sacraments, and learning about and praising and worshipping our God.

Jane Doe Jane Doe
Aug '17

JerseyGirl, thank you. I'm planning to check it out. Drove past the location the other day.

As for those criticizing people who are seeking a church with a certain type of music or activities...we all connect to God in our own way. It's not your way or the highway. Some of us connect better when the music works for us. Some of us connect better when we can also be a part of a community through both worship and activities. It doesn't mean we view church as a social club. It means different people connect to God in different ways. Not all of us fit your strict requirements for churchgoing...and that's a good thing.

SquirrelGirl SquirrelGirl
Aug '17

a church is defined simply: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

doesn't matter if you're playing music or volleyball, or drinking coffee and eating cookies, or studying the word with all the attention you can muster.

all are churches if those who are gathered together are gathered in his name.

BrotherDog BrotherDog
Aug '17

The original poster said she was looking for an LGBT-friendly church. I was looking for one too and checked out some of the recommendations posted. It might be helpful to revisit this thread in light of the Methodist church’s recent vote to deny full inclusion to LGBTQ people and add tighter restrictions.

I’m in the LGBTQ community and not sure where I’ll end up eventually because I am a Methodist and the recent vote has me rethinking things. But I have learned some things about finding a church where I’ll feel fully accepted. I’ve noticed a difference between churches that are willing to include wording on their websites or Facebook pages about their policy regarding accepting people no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity and those that do not. At least one of the churches mentioned here as “accepting” does not have that specific language anywhere on their website or their literature, and it turned out to be a poor fit for me based on my orientation.

A couple of recommendations if you are LGBTQ or an ally: check out churches that have inclusionary language on their websites. If they’re not willing to publicly state that they are inclusive re: sexual orientation and gender identity, ask yourself why. When deciding on a church, take your time. Make sure to meet with everyone in a major leadership role at the church and ask them frankly where the church stands and how you will be treated by the congregation if you are out of the closet. If it’s a small church, meet with the pastor and some people on the board. If it’s a large church, make sure you meet with every pastor there.

If you are Methodist and have decided to stay with a UMC church, you may feel more welcome at a church that has Reconciling Ministries Network status, which indicates that the church body voted to be outwardly welcoming of LGBTQ people. There are only 14 in New Jersey (out of 500 UMCs), but if you’re willing to drive out of Hackettstown, there are 4 that are relatively close by and I’ve worshiped at 3 of them.

Waterloo Village United Methodist Church is small and loving to all and they unabashedly state their position on their site and during their services. During services, they have clearly stated that they will remain inclusive despite the UMC’s conference vote. They're in Byram, right outside of Allamuchy, on Waterloo Road. The same goes for Sparta United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Church of Mt. Tabor, and United Methodist Church of the Rockaways, which are larger churches but farther from Hackettstown.

There are also ELCA and Episcopal churches in the area that state their positions about inclusion on their websites. It’s been awhile since I visited them, but check out their websites if you’re interested.

ForEveryoneBorn ForEveryoneBorn
Mar '19

To pick a church is a very intense thing I would say talk to the people in the town that you have become friendly with that go to church and ask to go with them to get the feel of the church and thus if it enters your heart
as for me I am not a church person when I need to pray were I am is all I need to connect for I beleve that god is every were I walk though life with a spirit guide the wolf so good luck and I hope you find what you need blessed be to you and your family

Caged Animal Caged Animal
Mar '19

Trinity in hackettstown is a good church u would like it , I been a memver for 6 years as of this year I believe I didn't remember the year join lol but I love it there we except everyone

Toni Chadwick Toni Chadwick
Mar '19

I tried that church and it is not as inclusive as some people think. Could be that someone who isn't gay might not experience it that way. Ask the most senior pastor what the church's official stance is on the outcome of the recent general conference. Some other UMCs throughout the country are refusing to abide by it and have stated it publicly.

ForEveryoneBorn ForEveryoneBorn
Mar '19

Always go to the one on the right when you leave your house. That way you know you went to the right one. When you are leaving, the church appears on your left. Now you know you have left the church.

Unitarian paints with too broad a brush. Remember-Muslim is NOT Christian. (They behead Christians)
Trinity has lost many long time members due to their "priviliged white" ideas, and sending $ to the caravans.
Epescopelian church in Hackettstown is a very accepting church, and the people are authentically kind and goodhearted.
The ritualistic ways of Catholicism and praying to Mary bother me. I know lots of Catholics who sin all week, then confess and donate....just going through the motions...NOT "walking the walk"...
Nondenominational Christian is also a good way to go. They literally follow the Christian Bible. Very down to earth.
Budd Lake Union Chapel is nice, and the church on Blau Road.
On TV, you can watch Joel Osteen.

Churches are meant for all people to worship god, they are not meant to discriminate, judge and to turn people away. These are not churches of god. This is the opposite of what Christianity is supposed to be.

I’m not LGBT, but have had a hard time finding the right church, always faced with their prejudiced man made rules, making me feel like a heathen.

The only church I felt comfortable with was Zarepath.

Positive Positive
Mar '19

It’s not prejudice, Positive. It’s the word of God. Either the Bible is God’s word or it isn’t. I’m a live-and-let-live type of person and I would NEVER judge someone for their sexual preferences but God does. That said Why waste your time going to church and not believe what it says in the Bible? It’s not up to us to pick and choose what we believe in Christianity. Is the Bible the word of God? If you believe it is, you have your answer.

Mar '19

I don't know how Trinity is what u say it is. When have had a gay couple become members

Toni Chadwick Toni Chadwick
Mar '19

There is always this one... https://www.venganza.org/

or go old school and visit https://asatru.is/

Just avoid the American version of Asatru as it is basically a white supremacist group.

Agust Agust
Mar '19

Consigliere, just out of curiosity do you follow the following parts of the bible as well?

1 Corinthians 14:34
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”

Leviticus 19:19
“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

Exodus 31:14–15
“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”

Leviticus 3:17
“It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.”

Leviticus 19:16
“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor; I am the LORD.”

Just saying that if you are not going to pick and choose, you need to make sure you know everything that is in the good book.

thomasnj thomasnj
Mar '19

Thomasnj, those Old Testamnet laws were ratified in the New Testament via covenants. Please pick up your bible and freshen up. God Bless!

Mar '19

1 Corinthians 14:34 is part of the New Testament. Think you might need to freshen up a bit too.

thomasnj thomasnj
Mar '19

To the Trinity member who said they have a gay couple there...just wondering if you saw them there in the past 3 or 4 weeks. If you haven't, you might want to ask around and see if they are still going to Trinity. A lot has changed in the space of 1 month since this anti-gay vote passed. That couple may no longer be there. People (not just gay people, but their family members and friends) are looking elsewhere now that the United Methodist Church has made the rules more strict. Some pastors are talking about leaving the denomination (not just LGBTQ pastors). Some people are staying in the UMC but going to reconciling churches where they are standing up against the vote. I do not think things are going to stay the same anymore.


ForEveryoneBorn ForEveryoneBorn
Mar '19

Religion in a nutshell.


callitlikeIseeit callitlikeIseeit
Mar '19


The latest e-issue newsletter I received from the Universal Life Church discusses that vote. I think the administration may be flowing more with the political climate than with what they previously claimed was "the right thing to do".

Phil D. Phil D.
Mar '19

From looking at that article ForEveryoneBorn linked to, it appears the United Methodists Church's hands were tied.

The vote was from the whole international UMC community, of which 30% were from countries in Africa where homosexuality is against the law. Assuming that 30% voted for "The Traditional Plan", that would mean that over 80% of the rest would have had to vote for the "One Church plan", which would have allowed individual congregations to determine their own policies.

In the end, out of 864 delegates in attendance, the "Traditional Plan" only won by 54 votes.I have a feeling that the UMC will be bringing this issue back up and modifying it, to repair the fissure that has been created.

Consigliere: "It’s not up to us to pick and choose what we believe in Christianity."

Actually, according to my God, it is.

It's called Free Will.....and I have it! God gave it to me. Want a bite of my apple?

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Mar '19

Strangerdanger, you just might be a deist. Good on you!

As a recovering Catholic, I tried various strains of the "lite" version...aka protestantism....and found the stories and fundamental dogma to be the same.

I hope the OP found a church to his liking, i.e. more of a community than a system of beliefs.

Whatever the fundamental organizational force of our "world" is, I'll bet the stories of crowns, beard, clouds, gender, petty human emotions and being surrounded by an army of androgynous beings with wings do little to further true human understanding.

Still I don't need to wonder if the sheer force of belief, in anything, is the root of all good and evil.

Community is nice, though.

jjmonth4 jjmonth4
Mar '19


My family is looking for a church with a pastor who sounds more like Margaret thatcher and less like Fidel Castro. Does anybody have any recommendations?

Thank you

Masks Fortheugly Masks Fortheugly
3 weeks ago

Thank you for all the recommendations

Masks Fortheugly Masks Fortheugly
2 weeks ago

Masks Fortheugly

I get the feeling by the lack of answers you weren't clear enough in your meaning OR maybe nobody could come up with anyone that fot the bill.

Are you pro-abortion, or pro-birth control?
Do you think priests should be either gender?

You can rule out the Catholic church.

callitlikeIseeit callitlikeIseeit
2 weeks ago

If I could be more clear. We are looking for a Catholic Church with a pastor who is not a communist.

Masks Fortheugly Masks Fortheugly
2 weeks ago

There's a catholic church 6 miles in every direction. They will all ask for your money, if that's what you mean by communism. You don't have to give more than you want. Good time to try them all from your living room. I assume you hit Assumption already.
ST. Theo and St. Anne(hamton) used to be very conservative, if that's your direction.


If you are going to visit churches so you can find your church family, I'd give Waterloo United Methodist Church a try. The pastor and congregation are welcoming and nonjudgemental. They are a reconciling church, which in part means they are a safe and accepting place for all gender orientations and identities. Children are welcome and permitted to be children.
I hope you find your "church family".

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