Mount Carmel Church, which is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, began with a call to the ministry of itís founder Robert J. Cameron.
In 1975, by the grace of God and the guidance of the holy spirit, Robert J. Cameron freed himself of his business pursuits and enrolled in the Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was during the second year of study at the seminary that he formed a bible study group which met weekly at the Cameronís home in Somerset, New Jersey.
On September 10, 1978 Mr. Cameron was ordained to the ministry at Emmanuel Church (Reformed Episcopal), in Somerville New Jersey. The Pastor of Emmanuel Church at the time was Reverend Donald L. Reader, who encouraged Mr. Cameron to begin a work in Somerset. The Cameronís were most fortunate in finding in Reverend Reader a valued mentor and a dear and trusted brother in the Lord. Donald Readerís advice and the financial assistance that was arranged by him from Emmanuelís trust fund, through the vestry of the Church, was extremely helpful in establishing the Mount Carmel ministry.
On Sunday, September 17, 1978, Mount Carmel Church held itís first worship service. That service was conducted in the Chapel of Grants Funeral Parlor which was located at 676 Franklin Boulevard in Somerset. Several invited friends, relatives and well wishers were in attendance. Reverend Cameronís first sermon was entitledĒ The Great ď I amĒ of scripture. The text were Exodus 3:13-14, and John 14:16.
Having been accepted by the Synod into the Reformed Episcopal Church, application was then made with the State of New Jersey for incorporation as a non profit organization. This was accomplished in November 1980.
Attracting church members proved to be more difficult than had been anticipated. Therefore, as soon as was possible, the fledgling church moved itís services to the Pinegrove Manor School also located on Franklin Boulevard in Somerset. When another church was given permission to hold services at the same school during the same hours, it forced Mount Carmel congregation to find another site for worship. It was decided that until a more suitable location could be found, the worship service would be held at the Cameronís home on West Point Avenue in Somerset. However, The West Point Avenue residents were not receptive to the idea of having a church meeting in their quite residential neighborhood. Within a few weeks Rev Cameron was presented with a summons to appear in court.
For more than four years the church was involved in a legal battle (The State of New Jersey vs Robert J. Cameron). The Pastor was charged with operating a church in a residential neighborhood. This was considered to be a violation of the local zoning code.
The Municipal Court, the Superior Court and the three Judge Appellate court, all ruled in favor of the State. However, one of the three Judges at the Appellate level dissented. Consequently, an appeal to the Supreme Court was possible. This litigation, which was ultimately decided in favor of Rev Cameron, proved to be a precedent setting case, was subsequently written up in the law journals, and has been sited in other similar cases. With this legal struggle finally over, Mount Carmel was finally able to focus itís attention on moving forward with the ministry.
After much prayer and anguish it was determined that some of the practices and restraints of the Reformed Episcopal denomination were in fact impeding the growth of the church. After several attempts to affect the needed changes met with no success, in March 1988 the Mount Carmel congregation voted to sever their association with the Reformed Episcopal Church and seek membership with the Presbyterian Church of America (P.C.A.).
Almost immediately after joining the P.C.A. and changing the worship format, Mount Carmel membership increase slowly but steadily, and in June of 1990 the congregation had outgrown the small chapel at the Cameronís home, and was forced to rent space in the Conackamack Middle school, a public school in Piscataway, New Jersey which is the adjacent town to Somerset.
The Lord has graciously made available another public school, formerly the Homes Marshall School, also in Piscataway, which Mount Carmel was able to purchase in July 1990. The congregation worshiped at this building until the present facility. So shortly after the building purchase we began to meet in the Conackamach Middle School Building, a short distance from the Holmes Marshall Building.
After another year delay and the difficulties we were having meeting in the Conackamack School Building, we decided to put the Holmes Marshall building up for sale, sell the land to the adjacent home owner and build a building on the property we own in Franklin Township. After we sold the Holmes Marshall building, we were no longer eligible to rent space in a Piscataway School building, so we moved the worship service back to the Pastor's home on West Point Avenue in Somerset. Nevertheless, God was gracious and we made about $70,000 on the sale of the Holmes Marshall building. This was the seed money which was needed to get the building plans completed, approved, and to start construction on our current building. Ground was broken inMarch 1995 and the building was completed and ready for occupancy in November 1995.
We have from the inception of the Church preached and taught tithing as God's ordained method of supporting His church. In line with this, we only allow one collection per service and buying and selling is not allowed in the church. Our doctrinal emphasis has been consistent with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms and the Pulpit has consistently presented expository messages.
We lovingly invite you to come and worship with us.