Churches of the past
Most of the residents of the town of Berne are familiar with the ruins on an old edifice still standing on the top of West Mountain, a church long deserted, but surrounded by the graves of those who worshiped there. In the 19th century Berne had many such small churches.
For fifty years after the founding of Berne the majority of residents were of Germanic, Dutch, or Swiss origin and the two firmly established houses of worship were the Dutch Reformed and the Lutheran. With the end of the Revolution and the arrival of many English and Scotch Irish, other denominations wished to preserve their religion and gradually, as numbers warranted, a number of small congregations were formed and erected churches.
The church on West Mountain was a Methodist-Episcopal and from the dates on the tombstones, must have flourished during the second half of the 19th century. There was another Methodist Episcopal church in the hamlet of Berne located jus east of the present fire house. Organized in 1845 the group was active for a few years then after the congregation dissolved, the building served as the church hall for the Dutch Reformed Church. West Berne and South Berne also had Methodist Episcopal churches as also did Reidsville. It is unfortunate that with their passing the records of these congregations and their accomplishments have been lost.
Of all these churches only that on West Mountain is still visible, a skeleton reminder of other times, soon also to become just history.
- Much information on early Berne churches not listed below has been posted on the Berne Historical Project web site.
- Huntersland Christian Church
- Rensselaerville and Berne Baptist Church
- St. Mary's of the Lake Catholic Church
- West Mountain Methodist-Episcopal Church
- St. Bernadette's Catholic Church in the hamlet of Berne was built in 1960 as a mission of St. Lucy's Catholic Church, Altamont, NY. In 2010 it will be closed and worshipers will again attend church in at St. Lucy's.
- St. Paul's Lutheran Church was founded in 1790 as the Deutsch (German) Reformed Church of Rensselaerville. The present building was built in 1835. In 1873 St. John's Lutheran Church, East Berne, was organized as a sister church to St. Paul's. In 2009 the two churches were reunited as the Helderberg Lutheran Church. The congregation worships in the hamlet of Berne at the former church building of St. Paul's.
- St. John's Lutheran Church, East Berne, was organized in 1873 as a sister church to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Berne. In 2009 the two churches were reunited as the Helderberg Lutheran Church