The Mission Church of Paramus was organized in New York City on September 30th, 1929. The birth of the congregation was the outgrowth of a desire on the part of its founders and especially its first pastor, A. Thompson Eksaa, for a church primarily dedicated to meet the spiritual needs of immigrants from Norway who had settled in the Washington Heights area of New York City during the early 1900s.
The Early Years
The early years were difficult ones for the congregation. The economic depression of the early thirties brought unemployment and consequent suffering to the entire nation. In the face of continuing unemployment several of the charter members returned to Norway. The financial condition of the small congregation was so precarious that on occasions the pastor’s salary could not be met on time.
However, under the blessing of God, the congregation prospered spiritually and financially. On January 1st, 1935 more central quarters were rented in the Second Presbyterian Church located on the corner of West 172nd Street and Audubon Avenue. Services were held here until October 1, 1935 when a large store was rented at 670 West 178th Street.
On March 31, 1939 the congregation purchased a Unitarian Church located at 96 Wadsworth Avenue. The congregation incorporated the same year.
Relocation to Paramus, New Jersey
The Mission Church
At a special business meeting in January 1968, the decision was made to relocate the Mission Church to New Jersey. Following much prayer for guidance, the property at Farview Ave. and Century Road in Paramus was found and on March 1st, the congregation purchased the site. The house and property adjoining the church property was later purchased to serve as the parsonage.
The ground breaking ceremony took place on Sunday, August 25, 1968. The clearing of the land was started on September 2nd. By Saturday, October 26th, work on the new church had progressed so far that a volunteer crew of approximately 25 men began putting on the roof, which was completed on November 9th. The congregation’s first service in the new church edifice was held on Christmas morning. The dedication service was held on Sunday, March 23, 1969.
The first pastor of the Mission Church, A. Thompson Eksaa labored faithfully for many years from the time of the organization until he was called to his eternal reward in April, 1952. Pastor Ingvald Loe served for a few months as interim-pastor during Pastor Eksaa’s last illness.
Rev. Olaf Olsen: September 1952 until June 1973
Rev. Thomas Hjembo: July 1973 until January 1983
Rev. Stanley Bugge: February 1983 until August 1992
Rev. Thomas Hjembo: September 1992 to the 2012
Rev. Aage Larsen: 2015 – Present