MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – At the Tuesday, May 15 meeting the Borough Council recognized Reverend Christopher Belden as he is set to retire. Mayor Paul Mirabelli read a proclamation in the honor of “a very deserving citizen of Mountainside,” Dr. Belden, who is retiring after 32 years at the Mountainside Presbyterian Church.

Belden came to Mountainside in 1986. He has always understood society’s changing needs for interfaith coalition groups that have addressed homelessness, hunger and the plague of refugees, Mirabelli read. He has supported the church’s mission of service to the community and the use of the church as a meeting place for a large variety of diverse community organizations. In addition to his pastoral service Belden has served on the boards of the Children’s Special Hospital, the Mountainside Education Foundation, the Library Board and the Watts Foundation.

On behalf of the council Mirabelli congratulated Belden for his retirement. The proclamation recognized Belden’s contribution to the Mountainside Presbyterian Church and the Mountainside community.

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“As the rescue squad said it is never one person that makes things happen,” Belden said. He noted that the Presbyterian Church is a community church. “It has been my challenge, pleasure and honor” to have been able to lead the congregation for over 30 years, he said. He also thanked members of the church as well as the Mountainside community with whom he has worked in so many ways.

“For me it is a big change, for the church is a somewhat big change but we do remember that although it is a big chapter for us, it is only one chapter of a much larger story of God’s graciousness in continuing ministry here and for all of us,” he said.