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Church Funds

allowed to ascend the pulpit he read sermons from his desk. (Among items, charged in the Deacons Accounts were several books of sermons.) On Sunday mornings he held a service at Bergen and on alternate Sunday afternoons at some farm-house in Ahasimus and Communipaw. An hourglass stood o n the reader's desk and when the sand had run from the upper into the lower hollow he was to suspend services and dismiss the congregation.

He officiated as bell-ringer, kept the church records, took. care of the Communion set, which his wife kept clean, the bier, and the pall, acted as bookkeeper for the Deacons and also served as Aanspreker or funeral director, in which capacity he kept the records of the dead. For services as Voorleezer and schoolmaster the salary exceeded f6oo., and as bookkeeper and Aanspeeker he charged for his services, and probably received extra fees for baptismal and marriage records. The first Voorleezer mentioned in the church records ,was Regnier Bastianse Van Giesen who served in that capacity from 1665 to May 12, 1707, when he died. He probably came from Utrecht in the Netherlands, lived awhile at Midwout, L.I., then came to Bergen. He was an educated man who wrote the language correctly and was evidently versed in the history of his country. These Voorleezers were men of great influence in the early days of Bergen, especially before there was a settled pastor. The office continued until 1789 when Mr. John Collard received the title of Clerk with the salary of £2, 15s, per annum.

After the receipts of the church began to exceed the expenditures the Deacons invested, the surplus funds in cows which were rented out to responsible members of the congregation for 12 lbs. of butter per annum or its value in money. In 1679 butter sold at, 22 Stivers per lb. and the rent for one cow was 13 guilders, 4 stivers. After 1715 the Deacons gave up the "butter rent" business and loaned the church funds at 6% on the bond of the borrower and his securities, or upon personal property to the value of the sum loaned given as collateral security. In the early days for more than, a century, accounts were reckoned in "guilders seewan" and wampum often accumulated in quite large amounts in both loose and braided. In 1691 f4,000 in wampum was taken to Stephen Van Courtlandt to be exchanged for silver money. The Church Treasury has a package Of $1,214 in Continental bills and $700 in worthless State and communal paper of still earlier date.

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