History of the First United Methodist Church
Preachers traveled throughout southern New Jersey in the Gloucester County Circuit as early as 1819. The first record of a meeting in Glassboro indicates that people gathered in an old schoolhouse in 1820. With interest growing, an official class was organized in Glassboro in 1823 under the leadership of Joseph Albertson and it met at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Land was purchased in 1833 for the purpose of building a Methodist place of worship. Located on Broad Street, now the intersection of Delsea Drive and McClelland Avenue the building was named the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church. As the church membership grew, the need for a larger building became apparent. In 1854 property on the corner of Academy and New Streets was purchased from the Stanger family. The large clock commissioned for the church’s tower became a focal point of the community as any of the four sides could be seen from any angle. The colonial-style church was dedicated in 1855.
In 1939, the congregation which has previously changed their name to the Methodist Episcopal Church, changed the name again to First Methodist Church. The name changed again in 1968 to First United Methodist Church.
The Fellowship House, steeped in history as a hotel, a store, private residence, and sewing factory, was purchased in 1959 with plans to renovate it for classroom use. It was dedicated in 1960.
With the discovery of structural problems from age, shifting ground and termites, the current church building posed many challenges. In 1974 the congregation voted to build a new church and a colonial architectural style was chosen. Ground was broken in 1976 and a dedication ceremony marking the opening of the new place of worship was held on October 9, 1977 with a special cornerstone laying ceremony.
Methodism continues in Glassboro. With celebrations held in 1998 for the 175th anniversary, the congregation looks forward to many more years of worshiping God and fulfilling our mission.
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