A historic church’s journey from Manhattan to Marlboro

By Wilfred A. Jones Jr.
Posted 8/23/23

Nestled among the trees on serene Bingham Road in Marlboro, the Chapel Hill Bible Church stands as a testament to both the enduring power of faith and the remarkable stories that history can tell. …

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A historic church’s journey from Manhattan to Marlboro


Nestled among the trees on serene Bingham Road in Marlboro, the Chapel Hill Bible Church stands as a testament to both the enduring power of faith and the remarkable stories that history can tell. With a past that stretches back to 1860 and a journey that spans from Manhattan to Marlboro, this church’s tale is one of resilience, community and unwavering devotion.

The Chapel Hill Bible Church, currently located at 49 Bingham Road in Marlboro, possesses a unique historical significance that led to its inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Places in January 2005. This recognition is a nod to the church’s ability to stand the test of time, having been physically moved “Brick by Brick” from its original location in Manhattan to its present home in Marlboro.

At the helm of this spiritual sanctuary is Pastor Michael A. Hannigan, a figure deeply intertwined with the church’s modern narrative. Born and raised in Newburgh, Hannigan’s connection to Chapel Hill Church began in 1992 when he became a frequent visitor. In a serendipitous turn of events, Hannigan was asked to lead the congregation when the former pastor retired, marking the beginning of a new chapter for both him and the church community.

Worship services take place every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., accompanied by an active schedule of community engagement. The church hosts an adult Bible School at 9:00 a.m., fostering opportunities for spiritual growth and learning. Additionally, the congregation gathers for monthly men’s and women’s breakfasts, cultivating a sense of fellowship and camaraderie.

The church’s outreach extends beyond its walls to embrace the residents of the Taconic Nursing Home in Highland and the Sapphire Nursing Home in Wappingers. Pastor Hannigan’s dedication to this ministry has allowed residents of these homes to participate in the church’s services, even in the face of challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Speaking of challenges, the Chapel Hill Bible Church has not been immune to the impacts of the global pandemic. While prior to the pandemic the church had a congregation of around 50 individuals, the resulting disruptions led to a return of only 70 percent of the original congregation, leaving the community with a more intimate but steadfast group of over 20 members.

Originally constructed in 1860 under the name “Saint Thomas’s Episcopal Protestant Church,” the building’s history is one of adaptation and transformation. As the congregation grew, the church moved beyond its original walls, passing through the hands of various religious leaders until it ultimately came into the ownership of Leighton Williams. Under his guidance, the church was dismantled and transported by train to Marlboro, where it was reassembled piece by piece with the help of volunteers and horse-drawn carriages.

While the church’s exterior remains a testament to its historical roots, interior modifications have been made over the years. Additions such as heating systems and electric lighting have modernized the space while preserving its essence. Curiously, remnants of the past linger—the pipes from the original organ are still intact, a silent homage to the hymns that once echoed through the congregation.

Pastor Hannigan’s commitment to preserving history is evident in his careful stewardship of the church’s interior. Many of the decorations and furnishings come from other churches that have since closed down, serving as a tribute to the broader religious community and the bonds that unite them.

The story of the Chapel Hill Bible Church is one of transformation, community and reverence for the past. As this historic building continues to grace the landscape of Marlboro, it reminds us that faith and perseverance can transcend time, connecting generations and leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of history.