The Collegiate Church Charter Tercentennial

Three hundred years ago, on May 11, 1696, King William III of England issued a charter to the Dutch Collegiate Church in New Amsterdam. By this charter the Reformed Dutch Church in New York, now known as the Collegiate Church, Was incorporated under the name of "The Minister, Elders and Deacons of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York."

This charter granted it many rights, including most importantly the right of freedom to exist as a Church, separate from the "official" Church of England. That important right, contrary to the style of the times, was a major philosophically and conceptual breakthrough which survives today.

Many other rights were granted in this Charter, dealing with choices of church governance, civil corporate rights (the ability unilaterally to buy and sell property, for example), and similar matters. These rights have been preserved under the United States Constitution and New York State law and survives today.

The Collegiate Church Corporation, the oldest Corporation in the United States, is today strong and an important ministry for Christ because of the many freedoms and rights granted in this modern, forward-looking charter which affects our lives today. These charter rights pertain only to the Collegiate Church, not the other churches in the Reformed Church of America.

Follow the link below to read the original charter. For a better understanding of the archaic language, there are hypertext links of highlighted text so you can switch back and forth between the original text and a modern restatement.

Original Charter
Modern Restatement
A Brief Collegiate History