CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
ASBURY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
2926 Westfield Avenue
following is derived from
This church is located on the East Side, on Westfield avenue, just below Church street.
The first building occupied by the society was located on Pleasant street, a short distance from Pavonia station. In 1869 two lots, each nineteen feet front were bought and in 1870 a building twenty feet by thirty feet was erected, and was dedicated in May, 1871. This building was used for nearly ten years, and during the time of its occupancy was known as Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church.
There are no minutes showing who all the first Trustees were, but it is known that a meeting was held at the residence of William Jamison, for organization, on October 4, 1869, and that G. W. Young was elected President, Simpson H. Long, Secretary, and Henry Gill, Treasurer.
On October 22, 1870, a meeting was held for the election of Trustees and William Carter, Justice Harmer, W. H. Gill, William Jamison and Richard Newman were elected.
In 1870, 1871 and 1872, the church was connected with Camden City Mission.
In 1877 it was decided that the future prosperity of the church required a change to a more central and desirable location.
In August, 1879, a lot fifty feet by one hundred feet was bought on Westfield avenue, sixty-eight feet west of Church street, and on this lot the present church building was erected. The Building Committee consisted of Abner Smith, Edward W. Madison, John Shaw, William Holt and John J. Stone.
As this lot was in that part of the present city of Camden, then known as Dudley, a congregational meeting,
held May 27, 1878, decided that the name of the church should be Dudley Methodist Episcopal 'Church. It bore
that name until 1897 when, because of change of local government, the name did not represent anything, it was
thought advisable to again change it, and a meeting of the congregation was held on
March 31, 1897, to consider the matter, and it was then decided by ballot that the new
name should be Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, and accordingly amended articles of
incorporation were filed.
At the session of the New Jersey Conference, held in 1881, the Presiding Elder reported, "Dudley has erected a beautiful frame building with two class rooms, worth thirty-five hundred dollars, upon which when the subscriptions are collected there will be but four hundred dollars debt."
The minutes of that year report but ten full members and no probationers. As all of these were poor it seems almost incredible that so much could have been done.
In December, 1884, the ground lying east of the church, extending to Church street, sixty-eight feet by one hundred and fifty feet was bought for parsonage purposes, also fifty feet by fifty feet, in the rear of the church lot, thus making a lot one hundred and eighteen feet on Westfield avenue and one hundred and fifty feet on Church street.
In 1889 a large and pleasant parsonage was built on the corner and was first occupied by Rev. George H. Neal, Jr., during the first year of his pastorate.
In 1887 the east class room was enlarged and in 1893 it was again enlarged and other extensive improvements were made, including alterations to the tower and re-seating the church..
A growing Methodist population in the region lying north of the railroad seemed to require recognition and as a result a Sunday School was organized there
The School held its sessions in an unused room in Joseph Glander's house for several months. A time came when the family needed the room and as lots were offered on favorable terms, ground was bought on River Road, and in 1889 a church building was erected for the use of the Sunday School and for church services. On October 1, 1892, this building was destroyed by fire (believed to have been of incendiary origin) and the following year a new and larger one was erected on the same site. Considerable help was received from several of the churches of the Conference and without this aid it would not have been possible to rebuild. Out of this enterprise has come Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church, which in 1898 became a separate charge and has had a very successful history.
For several years efforts were made to provide for the debt which had existed since the parsonage was built and these efforts were finally successful and in 1907 the mortgage was burned in the presence of a happy congregation.
The honor of applying the match was given to Thomas Adams and William S. Zelley, the two oldest members of the Board of Trustees.
During 1908 many improvements were made to the church, including a new slate roof, repapering, relighting, etc., at an expense of $2,800.00.
At the Conference of 1908 the Trustees reported having property to the value of $10,000 and no debt. The minutes of the present year w\]\ show a considerably greater value but because of the improvements referred to a debt will also have to be reported.
The present membership is 265.
The Sunday School enrollment is 380..
The Pastors who have served the church are: Rev. Joseph Hopkins, 1870-1873 ; Rev. W. P. Clark, 1874-1876; Rev. J. F. Matthews, 1877; Rev. C. 11. McAnney, 1878; Rev. S. E. Post, part of 1879 ; Rev. J. H. Boyd, balance of 1879-1880; Rev. Peter Garty, 1881; Rev. W. H. Burley, 1882; Rev. Robert S. Harris, 1883-1885; Rev. Robert M. Waples, 1886-1887; Rev. Thomas S. Wilson, 1888; Rev. George H. Neal, Jr., 1889-1891; Rev. John B. Westcott, 1892-1896; Rev. Joseph Garrison, 1897-1899; Rev. George R. Middleton, 1900-1903; Rev. George T. Harris, 19041906 ; Rev. J. W. Lee, 1907-1908 ; Rev. Jesse R. Thompson, 1909.
Sunday School Superintendents:—William Hamlin, 1873; Edward W. Madison, 1874; Webster Gill, 1875; Edward W. Madison, 1878; S. Harmer, 1879; J. H. Boyd, 1880; John J. Stone, 1881; Edward W. Madison, 1882; J. F. Barnett, 1883 ; Charles Wentzell, 1884-1885 ; Joshua Tushingham, 1886-1891; A. James Smith, 1892-1908; Charles Dilworth, 1909.
Superintendents at Pavonia—Fairview—Samuel Dare, Jonas Shaw, William S. Zelley, 1891-1897.
The present official list is as follows :
Pastor, Jesse R. Thompson. Local Preachers—A. James Smith, John Crowley, Arthur Mansure, Fred. B. Morley, George Brown. Exhorters—William Royal, Paul Miller. Sunday School Superintendent, Chares Dillworth. Epworth League President, Edward E. Patchett. Stewards—James K. Asay, William T. Lamb, George Corkhill, John Elliott, Noble Johniston, Herbert Todd, D. Everett Todd, Harry Husted, Charles Dillworth, Charles Griffenberg, Isaac Lippincott, Henry Hubbs, Charles Carter, Charles Chamberlain, Curtis P. H. Phillippi, James P. Johnston. Class Leaders—Albert M. Todd, William Royal, John Crowley, Hazel Carman. President Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. Ruth E. Blessing. Junior League Superintendent, Mrs. Amanda Moran. President Home Missionary Society, Mrs. James K. Asay. Trustees—Thomas Adams, who has been continuously in the Board since April, 1883 ; William S. Zelley, who has been continuously in the Board since 1884; J. Linwood Todd, elected in September, 1895; Joseph P. Martin, elected September, 1901; Harry Duncan, elected September, 1903; Horace R. Budd, elected September, 1906; Frank Crowell, elected September, 1907; John S. Fox, elected September, 1901; Harry Duncan, elected September, 1908.
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