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Wesley United Methodist Church
Wesley Church -Built 1922
On September 12, 1920, just nine days after the tragic fire at Wesley Chapel, the members of the congregation met under the direction of Rev. Joseph C. Sinclair and appointed the following building committee: Rev. Joseph C. Sinclair, Chairman; Thomas W. Buchman, Secretary; Harvey J. Lippy, Treasurer; Jacob Houck, I. Newton Davidson, J. Grant Dell, and Emory J. Hoffman. A decision had to be made whether to build on the old site, build a new building near the site, or acquire an adjoining piece of land on which to build a new church. It was fortunate that the Social Hall had been built seven years earlier and therefore they had a place to worship while making decisions and completing the project.
Much discussion and some heated argument were still going on January 28, 1921 according to the Enterprisenewspaper:
The building committee met last Tuesday night and could not agree to build on the old walls for the following reasons: To tear out both sides, to tear out the gable end to put windows in, to tear out to put a window in the southeast corner, to close the two front doors, to tear out the southeast corner to erect a tower and to break the front wall at the square. They thought it wise to build a new church out and out as the expense would be but little more and they think it would be a great deal more satisfactory. If the ground can be acquired it would be decided February 6 whether to build on the old site or take the church to the corner of the Houcksville and Carrollton roads on Mrs. Maggie Smith's land.
The Building Committee visited three new churches to get helpful ideas: Manchester Lutheran, Forest Baptist, and Lineboro Union Church. After many meetings, the Committee in consultation with the congregation, decided to build beside the site of the old Wesley Chapel, a stone church faced with Port Deposit Granite with white trim stone. The blueprints and plans were prepared by I. M. Myers, Architect, Hanover, Pa. The problem of removing the old walls was difficult. They were dynamited, but it was hard work to get them out of the way to lay the foundation footings for the new building. George Knouse set up his saw mill three different times on the Wampler farm in front of the church and farmers hauled donated logs there to be sawed. The men hauled five hundred tons of granite from Hampstead to the church and perhaps thousands of tons of sand from Grant Dell's meadow a mile or more northwest of the church. Dressed lumber was purchased from Smith and Reifsnider of Westminster. Excavation was done in the old way using plows, scoops, picks and shovels, and horses. Many tons of cement and lime had to be hauled in.
Construction began in the summer of 1921. Masons on the project were Howell Davis, Albert Frick, William White, Carroll Shamer, and Christie White. Carpenters were Edward Wise, George Snyder, Henry Bailey, Jacob Houck, and Frank Stone. The cement work was done by Amos Ezra Evans. Laborers were Charles McMillin, Roy Seipp, Luther Hoffman, Stanley McMillin, Charles Shaffer, Walter Dell, Charles Kleinsnitz, Raymond Dell, Roger Zentz, Thomas W. Buchman, and Chester McMillin. The painters were Thomas Tipton and his assistants. The plastering was done by Gross Brothers of Manchester.
The cornerstone for the building was laid on October 9, 1921 by Dr. W.W. Barnes. It was dedicated by A.R. Shultz of Hampstead, and was laid in place by the head mason, Howell Davis. J . H. Allender donated a copper box for inside the cornerstone. The box contained a Bible donated by Mrs. Irene Davidson Buchman, some newspapers, church papers, some little wooden barrels used to collect money, the names of all subscribers, some money, and a few memorabilia from the cornerstone of the former Wesley Chapel.
The new Wesley Methodist Church was completed in late 1922 and Rev. Joseph C. Sinclair arranged to have it dedicated on Sunday, December 10, 1922, by Dr. J . M. Gillum, District Superintendent. He was assisted by Professor Charles E. Ely and Rev. C. Emory Dudrear at the 11 a.m. service. At the afternoon service Dr. W. H. Morgan, Pastor of First Methodist Church of Baltimore, preached. The Rev. J. F. Heisse of Howard Park Methodist Church preached that night. All presented excellent messages.
The cost of the building was something in excess of $35,000 and because of the generous subscriptions made previously, only a little more than $9,000 was owed at the time of dedication. The Board of Home Missions granted $1,000 from its emergency fund. More than $7,000 was subscribed on the day of dedication, as the people responded to the strong appeals of Dr. Gillum and Professor Ely. As the day closed only $400 was needed to pay the debt in full. All payments were made promptly and it was not necessary to borrow more than $6,000 at any time.
Stone from the Wesley Chapel was used in the under structure of the new building. The cornerstone of Wesley Chapel was placed in the fuel room of the new Wesley Church. Now that the area has been used to install restrooms, the cornerstone can no longer be seen.
The pews were purchased from the American Seating Company at a cost of $2,600. This price included three pulpit chairs, the communion table, two flower stands, and two smaller chairs within the chancel. The George Heartly Payne Company of New York put in the memorial windows purchased by the persons identified on the windows.
The pulpit and hymn board were made and presented to the church by Morrell Greene, a great, great, grandson of John Allgire, in whose home the church had its beginning. The carving of the grape and leaf designs in the upper panels was done by Jacob Houck, also a great, great, grandson of John Allgire. An Axminister carpet was laid across the front and in the aisles. The church was lighted by electricity and heated by a pipeless coal burning furnace. An imitation pipe organ and twelve oak high-back chairs saved from the fire were used in the choir section. The bell was purchased from McShane's Foundry in Baltimore.
The Sunday School room in the undercroft of the church was supplied with about one hundred and twenty adult chairs, two dozen small chairs, and some of the furniture from Brown's Meeting House and Wesley Chapel.
The Pulpit Bible was presented by Mrs. Irene Buchman and Mr. Luther Davidson's Sunday School Class on Dedication Day, December 10, 1922 and is still in our possession. Another Pulpit Bible dated Anniversary Day, December 6,1931 "presented by Rachel Allgire Crosley in memory of my sister Mary Ruth Allgire Buchman and niece Aby Buchman Wampler" remains on display. The present Pulpit Bible was presented in 1959 by Mary F. and James W. Mann in memory of Douglas I. and Jo Ann M. Mann.
In 1942 four large hanging fluorescent lights were purchased for the church, and in the same year a Moller Pipe Organ with Deegan Chimes was installed for a total cost of $3,000.
In preparation for the 1948 Sesquicentennial Celebration, the upstairs and downstairs floors were refinished, walls repainted, new carpet purchased, and an oil burning furnace with forced air circulator was installed in the west corner of the downstairs room.
In 1962 Rev. Ira Shindle began a church newsletter, the Wesley Journal which has continued to the present.
More than $8,000 was necessary in 1963 and 1964 to put a new roof of high grade rock type slate on the church, to cover the stained glass windows with storm windows, to insulate between the ceiling and roof, and to remodel the undercroft of the church into separate Sunday School rooms, choir robing area and Sunday School office space.
The altar area was remodeled in 1965 with the open chancel design which was designed by and developed under the direction of Rev. Ira Shindle. The chancel platform was adjusted to permit the pulpit to be on one side and the placement of a lectern on the other side. The communion table was placed at the rear center on a platform as an altar, with the cross and candlesticks set upon a retable. The flower stands were placed on each side of the altar. A reredos with dossal was provided as a background. The communion rail was divided and steps arranged in the center of the chancel to provide for a central approach. The choir area was extended into the church three feet at the front, enclosed by a low oak screen with the choir pews arranged to face center. The floor was lowered for the organ console, which was placed in the front corner of the choir area near the lectern. Also an amplifying system was installed.
In 1967 new Methodist Hymnals were purchased. This edition was the twenty-third hymnal used by the various branches of the Methodist Church since the first M. E. Hymnal published in 1790. The church members paid for them by using them as memorials or in honor of a loved one. The dedication for each hymnal appears on the inside front cover. The old hymnals were then used to replace those in the social hall.
A red nylon wall to wall carpet was put in the sanctuary and a matching salt and pepper one in the narthexes and basement stairs in 1969 at a cost of $2,148. Some of the old carpet that was still useable was placed in the downstairs hallway. The rooms in the undercroft were wall to wall carpeted in 1971.
Equipment contributed in 1971 has enabled us to record the church services which are put on cassettes for distribution to members who are unable to attend because of age or illness. These cassettes are erased and reused.
Two electrically operated fifty-two inch wood-grained paddle fans were installed in the ceiling of the sanctuary in 1981 and later that year the furnace was replaced for $2,300.
Wesley United Methodist Church
The people of Wesley have always kept their buildings and grounds well furnished and maintained. This has been made possible by the work and donations of many people. A walnut plaque is mounted on the rear wall of the church and brass plates have been placed on some furnishings to identify some of the larger gifts and memorials.
Several booklets have been printed on the history and activities of the church. The first one, in 1948 under the leadership of Rev. James H. Talley and Thomas W. Buchman, was entitled "Sesqui-Centennial of Wesley Methodist Church." In 1965 Rev. Ira W. Shindle's "165th Anniversary of Brown's Meeting House" Booklet received first place in its class in the Church History Contest. "A Portrait of Wesley United Methodist Church" was published in 1968 under the leadership of Rev. Stanley G. Harrell. Its purpose was to show others our church at work. It was used in conjunction with a program of Evangelistic emphasis.
In 1902 Mrs. Emory J. Hoffman became the Communion Steward. Mrs. Luther R. Hoffman became her assistant in 1926 and in 1937 she took over as Communion Steward. Mrs. Jackie A. Hoffman became her assistant in 1967. After fifty-six years of devoted service, Mrs. Luther R. Hoffman retired in 1982. Mrs. Robert E. Leister has served as Communion Steward since 1983.
Junior Church and Nursery
Each Sunday during the morning worship service (except June, July and August) the children, age six to twelve attend the first half of the service and then retire to a church school classroom for their own Junior Church. Mrs. Audrey Johnson began this practice in 1970 and has continued to teach this group of children to the present. We are grateful for the devoted service Audrey gives to the church and the children.
A Nursery has been provided for many years for children up to five years of age during the Worship Service. Adult and teenage volunteers supervise the children while their parents worship.
Boys from the Church School began serving as acolytes in the fall of 1963. A robe was presented for their use by Mrs. Edgar Rhoten and a candle lighter and snuffer by Mrs. Jesse Heird. Since 1967 girls as well as boys have the opportunity to serve as acolytes. Their contribution to the Worship Service is appreciated.
Music at Wesley
There were no musical instruments in Brown's Meeting House except the tuning fork. In 1885 a group of the young people started to press for an organ for Wesley Chapel. The older members opposed the idea. Rev. W. A. Koontz was the pastor and favored it but he was pastor for only one year and did not see it through. It was thoroughly discussed and there were very heated arguments as it was presented for the vote.
Wesley Church Alter. Upper photo shows alter in original form. Lower photo shows open chancel design completed in 1965.
|Uncle Tom Buchman says he was there and remembers some of the argument. Said a dear old lady, "If you bring an organ into the church, you had just as well bring a checker board in." Said one of the men, "They say the devil is in the fiddle and if he is in the fiddle he is in the organ." Another brother told the first organist, Miss Ella Martin, that the devil is in the organ and she answered by saving "You are mistaken. He is not in the organ; he is in the people.' (Shindle, 1965)|
The young people won and an Estey organ was placed in the church in 1885. An imitation pipe organ was probably purchased about 1914-18. Church records show that during Rev. Carlos Dunagan's pastorate in 1925, an Epworth organ was bought from Old Washington Church in Baltimore for $20.00.
In 1942 the Moller Pipe Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland installed a pipe organ with Deegan Chimes. It was dedicated on March 15, 1942. The organ works are installed above the ceiling in a room specially prepared and insulated from the attic space. The console was first placed on the chancel platform and later moved to the main floor in front of the choir. In 1965 during the remodeling of the chancel it was again placed in the chancel area, the floor was lowered and it was placed in the front corner of the choir area.
The Church organists through the years have been: Miss Ella "Bird" Martin, Mrs. Elsie Ebaugh Gill, Mrs. Grace Abbott Grumbine, Mrs. Mildred Stull Eby, Mrs. Ida Spahr Bonner, Mrs. Irene Davidson Buchman, Mrs. Roberta Snvder, Rill Blum, Miss Harriett Z. Tull, Mrs. Betty Lippy Horner, Mrs. Joan Hoffman Porterfield, Miss Barbara Rill, Miss Lisa Parker, Miss Mary Hitchcock, and Jeffrey Horner. The present organists are Mrs. Horner and Mrs. Porterfield. Wesley has been quite fortunate in having several organists at the same time to take turns as they give their service. Others are encouraged to prepare for playing the pipe organ.
Through the years Wesley has had several who have given their services as Senior Choir Director. Among these are Jacob Houck, Lester Houck, Mrs. Beryl Haskin, Mrs. Joretta Allwine, and Mrs. Florence Balderson.
In recent years the paid choir directors have been Miss Brenda Rickell, Sam Crispin, David Berg, and Jeffery Horner, who is the present Director of Music.
Several Junior Choirs have been established. Some of the promoters and directors have been Mrs. Etta Ruth Heird, Mrs. Betty Horner, Mrs. Betty Parker, Mrs. Beryl Haskin, Mrs. Joan Porterfield, and Mrs. Kathe Lippy, the present director.
Mrs. Betty Horner organized and directed the teenage choir called "The Group" in 1970. Mrs. Connie Wiegel directed this choir for a while.
In 1971 Mrs. Kathe Lippy organized and directed a Cherub Choir for ages four through six. Other directors have been Mrs. Connie Wiegel, Miss Jill Johnson, and presently Mrs. Audrey Johnson and Miss Jennifer Randall.
For many years the choirs have been robed through the donations made by the United Methodist Women and many other contributors.
Since the early 1900s, usually on the first or second Sunday in June when the Minister was attending Conference, Children's Day would be held. The children ages three to fourteen would have recitations, solos, and group songs. A "drill" was usually presented by the older girls and boys. This consisted of marching down the church aisle to the temporary platform set up in the altar area, going through a rehearsed series of circles and formations all set to the beat of a marching tune being played on the piano, and then returning by the center aisle to the rear of the sanctuary. Flags or flowers were carried during the performance and it was called a "flag drill" or "flower drill." All of the children would rehearse for several weeks prior to the big day. On the last rehearsal, held the day (Saturday) before the presentation, the children would bring flowers to decorate the Church. Whatever flowers were in bloom at that time, such as daisies, roses, and laurel would be used Children's Day is no longer observed in this manner.
Labor Day Sunday
Labor Day Sunday was observed in the early 1970s by the people of the congregation dressing in the clothes worn at their labor or occupation.
In the fall of the year, when the crops were all harvested, the people would place potatoes, pumpkins, turnips, home canned fruit and vegetables, and jellies on the altar. Some of this food was given to the parsonage family and the rest was divided between the Kelso Home for Girls and the Strawbridge Home for Boys.
The ingathering of food is still held one Sunday a year, but County Health Regulations will not allow home canned goods, so therefore only commercially prepared products may be donated. This is given to the "Food Bank" located in St. John's Church in Hampstead to be given to needy families. The "Food Bank" is part of the Northeast Social Action Program (NESAP) organized by the ministers and laity in the Hampstead area.
In early days, a Seed Service was held in the Spring Planting Season to bestow God's blessings on the seeds to produce a plentiful harvest.
In November each year a celebration of the Anniversary of the founding of the Church is observed. Usually a guest speaker or former minister is invited to give the message at the Worship Service. This service has also been known as "Homecoming" and at one time was known as "Dollar Day," with each member being asked to donate $1.00 over and above their regular contribution.
Once a year (presently the second Sunday in October) a lay member from Wesley or a lay speaker from another church gives the sermon for the day.
Christian Education Sunday
In early September "Rally Day" or "Promotion Day" is held. Usually children, youth, and adults from the Church School help lead the worship service. The teachers are recognized for their work, and promotions and attendance awards received.
Student Recognition Day
On one Sunday of each year the church celebrates Student Recognition Day (it is presently held the Sunday after Christmas). College and university students take part in the service.
Hymn sings were held at various times of the year. Anyone with a talent was invited to sing or play an instrument. Also choirs and individuals from other churches were invited to participate. The Congregation would callout their hymn selection favorites for the singing of the congregational hymns. During the past ten years, Wesley has joined with the other United Methodist Churches in the area for an "Advent Carol and Choir Sing." The churches take turns hosting this service held on a Sunday evening.
Celebration of American Bicentennial - 1976
The celebration of our nations 200th Anniversary was marked by several special services in 1976. On Sunday March 21st, in the evening, all church organizations participated in a special program. The Boy Scouts opened the service with the Flag Procession, followed by skits, readings, and essays. Rev. William Balderson wrote a play which was presented by the Young Adults. The Junior Choir sang and the United Methodist Men showed a movie. The evening ended with everyone singing "God Bless America." At several of the morning services many of the church members wore Bicentennial or Colonial Attire, some of which were made by the members themselves. The July 4 Worship Service was held at the new North Carroll High School and was planned and attended by the area churches of Hampstead.
Festival 200 - A Celebration of Methodism in America 1784 -1984
Wesley was fortunate to be able to participate in many of the activities offered during the Methodist Bicentennial. The Celebration was held in Baltimore, as well as the General Conference of Methodists, in honor of Maryland being the "Birthplace of American Methodism."
Members of Wesley and Hampstead churches went by bus to the Grand Festival Celebration at the Baltimore Civic Center on May 6. Several of the Senior Choir members went to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for the Festival Concert the following evening.
On Aldersgate Sunday an old-fashioned service was held, with members in Colonial dress and Rev. Albert Lane, III using a John Wesley sermon and leading the singing with a line hymnal. The Church School classes had a balloon ascension. Several evenings during the year a covered dish supper and movies on John Wesley and Methodism were presented. Each Sunday a John or Charles Wesley hymn was selected from the hymnal for congregational singing. Rev. Wilson Shearer gave a dramatization of John Hagerty, circuit riding preacher, in November.
The preaching appointment now known as Wesley United Methodist Church began, as already mentioned, in the home of John Allgire and was known as the Allgire appointment. Beginning sometime around 1815 -1820 it became known as Brown's or Brown's Meeting House. In 1878 it was officially changed to Wesley Chapel and became Wesley Church in 1922.
Wesley was a part of the Methodist Episcopal (M. E.) Church from its beginning to 1939 when it was changed to Wesley Methodist Church. As a result of the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist Churches on April 23, 1968 the name was changed to Wesley United Methodist Church.
Wesley has been in the Baltimore Conference from its beginning. It is interesting to note, however, that the original Baltimore Conference spread into Pennsylvania taking in much of the territory of the present Central Pennsylvania Conference. It also spread into Virginia at least as far as Roanoke and covered much that is now in the Virginia Conference. In 1857 the Baltimore Conference was divided into two conferences with the Baltimore Conference continuing to the south of a line drawn in an east and west direction through Baltimore City. That to the north of the same line was called the East Baltimore Conference. This arrangement continued until 1868 when other conferences were formed and the parts of the two conferences in Maryland were reunited under the name of the original Baltimore Conference.
Wesley has shifted Districts a number of times. Originally it was in the greater Baltimore District. Later connections were as follows: 1821, Carlisle District; 1844, Frederick; 1868, West Baltimore; 1874, Baltimore; 1888, West Baltimore; and 1965 to the present, Baltimore Northwest District.
The circuit connection has changed a number of times also. Originally it was a part of the greater Baltimore Circuit. Later changes resulted in these affiliations: 1810, Great Falls Circuit; 1830, Shrewsbury Circuit; 1839, Codorus Mission; 1844, Westminster Circuit; and 1853, Hampstead Circuit. We know there were nine churches on this circuit: Hampstead, Brown's (Wesley Chapel), Emory, Manchester, Grave Run (on Falls Road), Union Chapel (Grace), Mt. Union (Shiloh), Mt. Tabor (Hoffmanville), and Pleasant Grove. In 1910 Wesley was a part of the Emory Circuit which included Wesley Chapel, Emory, and Pleasant Grove. In 1911 Boring became a part of this circuit. Wesley Church became a station in 1959.
PICTURES OF STAINED GLASS WINDOWS [Color pictures of the windows will be posted in the coming months]
A. Our Mother Ruth Allgire Buchman
B. In Memory of Benjamin and Mary E.Croft
C. In Memory of M. Alice and Frank T. Newbelle
D. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. A. Davidson
E. Presented by Alberta A. and Jacob Houck
F. Presented by Rev. Joseph C. Sinclair and Mrs. Joseph C. Sinclair
G. Presented by Lester A. Houck
H. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. James. C. Hoffman
I. In Memory of Herbert B. Davidson
J. In Honor of Sampson E. and Sallie Brown Davidson and Family
K. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Richards
L. Narthex Windows:
In Memory of Annie L. Iowa and Joseph F. Davidson
Our Mother Catherine Allgire Greene
In Memory of Gerald Fred Eby
In Memory of Roger Elmer Zentz
M. Windows over Entrance Doors
N. In Memory of John Wesley and Mary Allgire Davidson
O. In Memory of Annie H., Ida S., and Edward Bonner, Presented by Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Lippy and Family,
In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Zepp and Family
P. Epworth League, The Ladies Aid Society, Sunday School