SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Township Council recognized Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in honor of their 100th anniversary. Mayor Molly Whilesmith read a proclamation, with the Rev. Dr. Debbie Brewin-Wilson and Senior Warden Lisa Staszak representing the church at the meeting on Tuesday night.

The proclamation gave some of the church’s history, including its role in the formation of the Sparta Fire Department.  The church was founded in 1919 by Rev. Edwin Ford.  In March 1925 the building was completely lost to a fire because there was no fire department at that time.

In the wake of the tragedy, Ford assembled a volunteer fire department and served as the first fire chief, according to the proclamation.

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Without a building, Ford held services in his home.  They later moved to Hopewell House on Glen Road and then to a location on Main Street. 
It was in 1958 when the congregation built the church on the current location on Conestoga Trail.  IN 1978 it became a parish of the Episcopal Church.

“We are very glad to be her and part of the community,” Brewin-Wilson said.  “We hope to be around for a hundred years more.”