Churches celebrating significant anniversaries in 2019
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During the early months of 1965, the clergy and laity of the First United Methodist Church of Red Bank held discussions about the need for further ministry in the Middletown Area. As a result of those discussions and the movement of the Spirit to bring certain dedicated persons together embracing the same hopes, the congregation to be known as Middletown United Methodist Church came into being.
Under the leadership of Rev. Gordon Lowden, Sr. Pastor of the FUMCRB, and Rev. Paul Friedrich, Northeast District Superintendent, the Southern New Jersey Annual Conference enabled the purchase of the 7.3-acre plot on Middletown-Lincroft Road for the church building and the house and land on Marcshire Drive to become the parsonage. The Rev. Wayne Conrad, Associate Pastor of FUMCRB was assigned the task of building the congregation.
The first service was held on October 10, 1965 in the All-Purpose Room of the Nut Swamp School attended by a group from the FUMCRB who became the first 30 charter members of the new congregation. With light snow falling, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church was held on November 19, 1967, Rev. Paul Friedrich presiding
Wenonah: Mt. Zion Wesley UMC
Formed by merger with Jericho-Wesley in 1965
Millville: West Side UMC
John Henry Ottinger, a layman from the Trinity Methodist Church of Millville, gathered 30 boys and girls from West Side for Sunday School. This Sunday School first met in Mr. Ottinger’s home, but as the school increased in membership, both children and adults, another suitable meeting place had to be sought. They grew to such proportions that they decided to become an official part of the Methodist Episcopal Church. On September 18, 1915 they became incorporated as the West Side Methodist Church, Millville.
Ridgefield Park: 1st UMC
The church was organized in 1890, the second Protestant church in town. For a while it had to be content with a hall on Park Street as its place of meeting, but those whose memories reach back in this time report a happy church life despite its service limitations. It was not long, however, before this humble edifice yielded the privilege of housing the growing congregation to the Town Hall which then occupied the corner of Main and Grove Street.
Sometime during the pastorate at Englewood of Dr. N. Walling Clark (1886-1889) cottage prayer meetings were held in Leonia under his leadership. At about the same time a canvass of the community was made and several persons became interests in the establishment of a Methodist Church. Meetings were held in the Leonia Lyceum and in 1890 the church was incorporated. The Rev. John Godson, a local preacher and businessman of New York was called as the first pastor and began his duties in April, 1890.
This church was first recognized by the Newark Conference in 1890 when the Rev. W. M. Hughes, a student at Drew Theological Seminary was appointed to preach each Sunday to a “small group of Methodists” who met in the upper room of the long since demolished Kingsland Railroad Station, which stood by the tracks, a little farther east than where the present Erie-Lackawanna Station now stands. Through the united efforts of a student pastor and people a church building was erected on land secured at the corner of ridge road and New Jersey Avenue.
Millville: 4th UMC
The history began with the organization of a Congregational Church in Sept., 1888. Charles H. English was the leader of the organizational group. The church was known as the South Millville Congregational Church and was incorporated on Sept. 19, 1899. The church was disbanded on June 17, 1890 and continued as a mission Sunday School. On July 8, 1890 a reorganizational meeting was held in C. P. Clunn’s hall. Ferdinand Jones was authorized to notify Dr. George L. Dobbins, Presiding Elder, that this group desire entrance in the Methodist Conference. On Aug. 7, 1890 The Fourth Methodist Church of Millville was received in the Methodist Church at a quarterly conference held at Menantico. The group was incorporated on August 11, 1890
Millville: Mt. Pleasant
Early prayer meetings were held in the home of Amos Facemire. In the spring of 1889, this group, led by Amos Facemire, Benjamin F. Doran, John Budd, Thomas and Arlington Pike, made plans to build a church. Work began immediately, and on thanksgiving Eve, 1889 the first service was held in the new church. The Sabbath School was organized with Benjamin Doran as superintendent. Since there was no pastor at the time, John Budd was chosen as the class leader. On November 13, 1890 Rev. William Stultz organized the church as a mission.
Blairstown: Walnut Valley UMC
Methodism was brought to this valley some hundred years ago by courageous pioneer preachers traveling on horseback or by horse and buggy from one band of Christians to another. Walnut Valley along with Johnsonsburg, Franklin Grove and other widely scattered groups comprised the harmony circuit. Records show that the first quarterly conference was held in Blairstown April 24, 1865 with the Rev. C. c. Coit as presiding elder.
The following news item appeared in the Woodbury Daily times: “The new Methodist episcopal Church at Ewansville, three miles southeast of Mullica hill, will be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God, on Sunday the 28th instant Dec. 1865. There will be present to officiate on the occasion, Bishop Scott, Rev. Messrs. A. Manship, J. B. Dobbins, W. Walton and other eminent Divines. Service to commence at 10 ½ o’clock A.M. Evening service at 7 P.M.” The records show that Methodists occupied this field as early as 1825. They held their meetings in an old school building on the rear of the Eggert property. In 1865 a Methodist Society was formed: Josiah and Israel Ewan were the leaders.
Fordville: St. John’s UMC
Previous to the year 1867, the Methodist Church people of Fordville and vicinity, in an n attempt to build for themselves a church, had a most unique experience. It was an experience which would have daunted a less determined people. Jacob and Adrian Pierce with the help of a few faithful co-workers erected the first building for public worship in Fordville. With many discouragements in the year 1865 the building was dedicated with the Rev. Simon Taylor as pastor. Fordville then became one of the preaching points known as Bridgeton and Goshen Circuit of the Delaware River District. They transferred from the Central Jurisdiction to the Southern New Jersey Conference in 1965
Merchantville: Trinity UMC
In the spring of 1863, David S. Stetson, an active member of Bethel Methodist Church, Camden, started a Sunday School in his home on East Maple Avenue, for children in what then was Stockton Township, now Merchantville. Rapid growth of this school led to the organization of a Methodist Episcopal Church by the name of Trinity Chapel on March 11, 1865. This name held until 1959 when the corporate name became Trinity Methodist Church of Merchantville.
Pearl River: UMC of Pearl River
The Pearl river Methodist Church was organized as the first Methodist episcopal Society of Middletown, Rockland County, on June 26, 1865. The Society was incorporated on August 28, 1867. For a time the meetings were held in private residences.
Swainton: John Wesley UMC
Little did the mistress of a plantation in Raleigh NC in 1823 realize that she was witnessing “history in the making” as she watched one of her slaves, John West” pass through the plantation gate one Sunday evening. She thought that he was going to church but John had another sermon in his mind “Go North, John.” He approached a man in Goshen to ask for employment and the man, Jedediah Tomlin, much to John’s amazement, hired him. John wanted a life companion so he paid for the freedom of Elsie Smith, who became his wife. He had no money for building a new church but in a neighboring town the members of the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church voted to sell the Old Asbury Church and erect a New Asbury Meeting House on the same site. The church was later rolled down the road to Goshen. This church, because of a runaway slave from NC, became the first organized Negro church in Cape May County. This became official at a Quarterly conference in 1840 and later became a charter member of the old Delaware Conference organized in 1864.
Berlin Centenary UMC
The beginning of Methodism in this section was about 1805, and it is the belief that Bishop Francis Asbury was among the earliest preachers who laid the foundation of Methodism in the area. This group flourished, and in 1838, Conklin Mayhew and Joseph R. Thackara became interested in organizing a Sunday School. The minister in 1839 was Rev. James Long. In 1840, the first church building was erected.
The town’s name comes from the Butz family. John R. Butz and his wife, Rebecca, his wife were among the first to become members of our church. He was received in the church 1841 by Rev. Joseph Blamie and Rebecca in 1840 by Rev. Perry. About the years 1825 to 1830, Methodism was established here by a traveling itinerant whose voice was heard in the schoolhouse, shops, barns, and private homes. Many a meeting was held at what was and now is called the beach (Mt. Lake)
In 1840 the Methodists had become so strong here as to build a church. The first board of trustees was organized and their first meeting was held in the house that is now occupied by Mrs. Margaret Allen.
Green Village UMC
The earliest records of the beginning of the Green Village Church date back to 1828 when there was a great revival in this area. At that time the Rev. John atwood was appointed to devote himself exclusively to Morristown. The influence of the revival spread to adjacent villages and among them was Green Village. As a result a class was organized in the home of Agnes Roberts Crowell
The earliest meeting of the organization, which is now the Magnolia Methodist Church, was held some years prior to 1815, in Snow Hill, on Warwick Road, Lawnside. Land was obtained for the present building from Thomas Barrett. It was deeded in Gloucester Township and County and conveyed from Mr. Barrett to the Board of Trustees for ten dollars.
During the early part of the 1770’s Bishop Asbury, Joseph Pilmoor, and others often stopped at Moorestown and conducted preaching services. In the year 1812, Methodist meetings were held regularly in the town Hall and on August 15, 1815, the group was organized as a church and the following trustees were elected: Edward Harris, James Stiles, Josh Dobbins, Isaiah Toy and John VanHorn. Incorporation took place on August 21, 1815 under the name “Trustees of the Moorestown Methodist Meeting House.
Smithville: Emmaus UMC of Smithville
During the 1700’s, Smithville (Leeds) was populated by persons of white, European ancestry. The church was an important part in the lives of these hard working bay men and farmers. The congregation worshiped, prayed and worked to keep this “lighthouse” in existence. Although the Methodists are now the oldest congregation and have the oldest church building in Galloway Township, the Quakers of Leeds Point/Smithville were the first religious organization in what is now Atlantic County. They established a free cemetery and erected a small meeting house in 1744. When we were first organized, the Friends society (Quakers) was nearly 100 years old. They ceased their meeting and closed around 1843. The first Methodist class was formed at Leeds in 1790. Richard Leeds was the first class leader and the first local preacher.
Methodism was introduced in Vienna as early as 1790. Services followed for several years at the home of Philip Cummins. Bishop Asbury preached in the sitting room of this home on many occasions.
Auburn: Ebenezer UMC
In 1790 an enthusiastic group of people formed what became the Ebenezer Methodist Church of Auburn. It was on a very hot August afternoon in this year that Francis Asbury stopped at the Seven Stars tavern for refreshment. The people gathered from the countryside for miles around. He exhorted them to continue their worship and after preaching a soul-stirring sermon, he appointed one of his preachers to look after the new field. A log church was built in September, 1790 near Sculltown (Auburn) in Gloucester County, on the Oldmans Creek Road, about a mile off the Swedesboro-Auburn road. A cemetery now marks the spot where the first church stood.
Before 1790 meetings for prayer and preaching and class meetings were held at the home of John Early, sometimes referred to as “the first Methodist in New Jersey. A revival at nearby Bethel Church gave new impetus to the society which met at “Father” Early’s.
Cream Ridge: Emley’s Hill UMC
In the year of our Lord, 1790, a number of Methodists met at the home of Samuel Emley, for the purpose of building a house of worship. In the same year, Samuel Emley gave one acre of land on which to build the church. During this year the house of worship was erected bearing the date of 1790.