A Message from the Board of the Old Yellow Meeting House: One of the oldest Baptist church buildings in the country, and perhaps the oldest in New Jersey, is, with its surrounding cemetery, nestled in a wooded area in the western part of Monmouth County. This building, known as “The Old Yellow Meeting House” of the Upper Freehold Baptist Church, along with its parsonage, has, since 1974, been renovated with historical accuracy and maintained by a group of local citizens who are organized as the “Friends of the Old Yellow Meeting House, Inc.” Their primary goal is to see that these historic structures do not fall into disrepair as has happened to so many historic sites in New Jersey.
The Upper Freehold Baptist Church was established in 1766, but the Yellow Meeting House precedes that date and was built about 1737, at which time it served as the church’s meeting house even before it became an independent congregation from the Middletown Baptist Church. The oldest grave marker in the cemetery is dated 1723.
For the past 100 years, members of local churches and other interested persons have participated in a worship service at the site of the Old Yellow Meeting House on the last Sunday in July. In order that members of other churches may attend without interfering with their regularly scheduled worship services, the service at the Yellow Meeting House will be held at 2:00 in the afternoon. This year’s service will be held on Sunday, July 26. A choir consisting of members of area churches will provide the music.
The offering collected during the service will be used for the care and maintenance of the Meeting House, Parsonage, and Cemetery.
This year we are pleased to announce that, immediately following the service, there will be a historical portrayal of the church’s first resident minister, the Reverend David Jones, who went on to become Chaplain for General Anthony Wayne during the Revolutionary War. The role of David Jones will be played by Christian Johnson a member of the American Historical Theater and who has portrayed numerous historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, William Penn and Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey.
We are, therefore, cordially inviting the members of your congregation to attend this service, see this historic building, tour the cemetery with its many interesting grave sites, and find out more about the historic Baptist presence in New Jersey.
Light refreshments will be provided after the service. If you plan to attend we would encourage you to bring folding chairs, since the meeting house cannot accommodate large numbers of people. The service and music will be amplified for those who may have to sit outside.
The Yellow Meeting House is located on Yellow Meeting House Road running north from Rte. 526 in the Western corner of Monmouth County.
Please visit our web site at OYMH.org for driving directions and a slide show of the work that has been done.