History of the Church
Ardena Baptist Church enjoys a long and rich history in the Howell and Freehold area. The church was organized on November 10, 1859 as First Baptist Church of Howell, but it wasn’t until May 19, 1921 that the church was renamed Ardena Baptist Church.
Originally on the Church’s current site was a Presbyterian Church, erected in 1828. That church closed its doors around 1840, and the building was finally sold and became used as a barn. During this time, the First Baptist Church of Howell was organized and holding their religious services in a schoolhouse which was opposite to the dilapidated former Presbyterian Church and its adjacent ravaged graveyard. Seeing the condition of the entire grounds, citizens of the community felt compelled to draw up a petition to the State Legislature requesting that the Legislature give authority to sell the neglected church and use the proceeds to build a fence around the graveyard. Coupled with this proviso was that the grounds be given to any religious evangelical denomination which would build a church upon it. The bill passed the Legislature, and the Baptist Church realized their favorable chance to procure the lot. Able to obtain the required two-thirds names of resident citizens, the property was secured to the Baptist denomination. The members repaired, fenced and adorned the old graveyard, and soon erected on the premises a new church building which was dedicated August 1861. In April 1884, the lot adjoining the church was purchased and a parsonage built.