CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

FAIRVIEW METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
2303 River Avenue

FAIRVIEW METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH was located at 2393 River Avenue, the northeast corner of North 23rd Street and River Avenue in Cramer Hill. Fairview Methodist Church grew out of a Sunday School established in the home of Samuel Dare in 1886. It was enrolled as a mission by the Asbury Methodist Church of Camden, whose pastor, Rev. Wilson in 1890, aided in securing the location. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1893. It was incorporated as a church April 12, 1898, under the leadership of one of its local members, William T. Pinner. Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church occupied this building into the 1950s. The building has been the home of a Hispanic congregation, Iglesia Pentacosta Lapena De Horeb A & O in more recent years.

This church is not to be confused with the Fairview Village Methodist Church, which has been operating since 1924 on the corner of Chesapeake Road and North Merrimac Road in the Fairview section of Camden.

Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church - 1909

From
The Centennial History of Camden Methodism
Published 1909

HISTORY OF THE 
Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church 
OF CAMDEN, N. J. 

In the spring of 1886 a meeting was held at the home of Mr. Samuel Dare on Fulton street (now 25th street, East Camden), for the purpose of instituting a Methodist Mission. Though not strong in numbers they were determined, and the meeting finally culminated in the establishment of a Sunday school, consisting of Brother and Sister Dare, Mr. Barnet as superintendent, and four scholars. 

The first pulpit was a large dry goods box covered with calico, and Brother Dare's old family bible was the first in use. In the course of a few months the number of scholars increased to such an extent that they were offered the use of a large store, which was accepted, the attendance continued to increase, till there were about sixty scholars when they began to look around for other quarters. A proposition was offered them by a Mr. Cohn, who had bought some land from Mr. William Cooper, called Fairview, a committee was appointed to confer with him and resulted in the acceptance of his proposition, which was the purchase of the lots where the church now stands. A certain amount of money had to be paid before the church could be built, but the whole congregation went to work with a will, and were not long in raising the needed sum, they being greatly assisted in their work by Rev. Mr. Wilson the pastor of Dudley (now Asbury M. E. Church) under whose charge as a mission they were enrolled. 

Mr. Barnet resigned as superintendent of the Sunday school at this time (year of 1889) Mr. David Keever filling the vacancy. About this time Brother Wilson was removed from the charge of the mother church and Rev. George Neal was appointed in his place. Brother Neal became greatly interested in the mission; and came over every Thursday evening and held prayer meeting. In September of this year (1889) the corner stone was laid for the church building, presiding elder Rev. Milton Relyea, Rev. John Westwood of the First M. E. Church and Rev. George Neal of the mother church taking part in the ceremonies. 

In the early part of December the scholars marched in a body to the church, feeling quite proud of their new home. In January 1890 the church was dedicated. Services were held on Sabbath as follows : Class meeting in the morning, Samuel Dare, leader ; Sunday school in the afternoon, and services in the evening, at which time the exhorters from Asbury church would have charge. Mr. Keever then resigned as the Sunday school Superintendent, Mr. Shaw, being elected to the vacancy. And this by wise management the school and church continued to increase. Local preachers were engaged to preach both Sabbath morning and evening, class meeting being changed to Tuesday evening. 

At the Conference of 1891 Mr. Charles White was appointed to serve the mission which he did for one year. 

Mr. Shaw resigned as Superintendent of the school, Mr. William Zelley being appointed to the vacancy and served as long as it was a mission. 

After conference of 1892 the local preachers of the Mother church again served the mission, aided by the Rev. J. B. Wescott the pastor, who had been appointed in the 
place of the Rev. George Neal. 

On the third of October of this year (1892) the church building, from fire of an unknown origin was burned to the ground. An offer from the Republican Club at 27th and River avenue for the Congregation to worship in their building was accepted, until July 1893, at which time the present building was erected. 

Conference of 1893 appointed Rev, William McClaskey to supply the pulpit. He served until fall and then went west. During the remainder of that year and until conference of 1895 Mr. Blake, Mr. Severns and Mr. Wells filled the pulpit in succession. At the conference of 1895, Rev. Harry Denlinger was appointed to the charge and served until 1897 when Rev. Edward Wells followed, serving a short time. Rev. John Newkirk followed, serving until the church was organized in 1898. 

The Sabbath school then had a total membership of 73.

On March 29th 1898, at a meeting of which Brother William T. Pinner was chairman, a committee was appointed to procure articles of incorporajtion for an independent church and on April 12th of the same year the church was incorporated, Rev. J. T. Wilde being the first pastor at a salary of $150.00 per year. The first Trustees were Brothers B. Johnson, George Carey, William Travis, H. G. Shockley, A. Liming, William Knox, and William T. Pinner. 

Stewards: George Carey, B. Johnson, George H. Ensley, William Ward, George Straughn, Joseph Wood, Mrs. E. Southwick, and Mrs. Catherine Funfer. The indebtedness on the church was $1,584,00 a mortgage of $1,200.00, and two notes amounting to $384.00. During Brother Wilde's pastorate the notes were paid thus leaving the mortgage of $1,200.00 when he resigned in 1901, having served three years doing good work for the Master and greatly beloved by the congregation. 

At the conference of 1901, Rev. William Grum was appointed to the charge, serving for six years until conference of 1907. Much success attended his ministry both in members being added to the church, among which were several heads of families, and also in beautifying the church. Stained glass windows were put in, the church was fitted up with electric lights, new carpet, and money raised by free-will offerings on the part of the congregation toward paying off the mortgage of $1,200.00, and finally the burning of the mortgage, in October 1906, thus leaving the church free of debt. There were three class meetings in the church : Sunday morning, leader, L. G. Horn ; Tuesday evening, William Knox, and Friday evening, William T. Pinner. Brothers Horn and Knox resigned under Bro. Grum's pastorate. Brother Manuel Hope was appointed leader of Sunday morning class and Rudolph Lack of the Tuesday night class. There was also a Children's Class meeting on Sunday afternoon. Sister Collins, leader, who resigned, and was succeeded by Sister Snape, who also resigned and she was succeeded by Sister White, the present leader. The salary of Bro. Grum was $150.00 the first year, but it was increased to $600.00 and house rent by the time that he was removed elsewhere. 

At the Conference of 1907, the Rev. P. W. Bilderback was appointed to the charge. During his pastorate the subject of a parsonage was brought forward, and on April 17th, 1907, a Building Committee was appointed as follows: Rev. P. W. Bilderback, George Allender, Henry O. Geschwindt, Jared Noecker, S. L. Bagenstose and William T. Pinner, who immediately drew up plans for a building alongside of the church at a contract price of $2,650.00, the house being completed in November of the same year, the pastor and family duly installed in the new home. Up to the present time there has been paid on the building $650 out of the $915 left as a legacy to the church through the generosity of Sister Mary Ward. Thus at this time there is $2,000 still due on the parsonage. 

This is the history up to the present time of Fairview Church as near as the Committee could gather the facts together. 

Following are the names of the members of the Quarterly Conference at the present time. 

Pastor, Rev. P. W. Bilderback 
Trustees President, Rudolph Lack, Secretary, S. L. Bagenstose, treasurer, George Allender, Jared Noecker, H.E. Geschwindt, A. Barnett, George E. White, Howard Rickenbach and William T. Pinner. 

Stewards S. L. Bagenstose, recording; William T. Pinner, district; George Allender, Rudolph Lack, Jared Noecker, Albert Barnett, Manuel Hope, Albert E. Moorehouse, George White, Cyrus Stroh, Robert Dunn, George Brunner, Albert Stillwell, Henry Geschwindt, Herman Nicmeyer, George Dalgarn, Elmer Stroh, George Leinauer, James White, Abraham Brown. 

Following is a list of Sunday School Superintendents, together with the number of Officers and Teachers, and scholars of the Sunday School since the Church organization : 

Fairview Official Board - 1909
A. Moorehouse - M. Hope - C.  Stroh - E. Stroh - W.T. Penner - A. Stillwell - H.E. Geschwindt - George White
A. Barnett - H.W. Rickenbach - J. White - J. Noecker
S.T. Bagenstose - G. Allender - Rev. P.W. Bilderback - R. Lack 

Following are the different organizations connected with the church and the names of the President of each: 

Epworth League, Manuel Hope, President. 
Junior Epworth League, William E. Brown, President. 
Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. E. Southwick, President. 
Usher's Union, H. E. Geschwindt, President. 
Camp Meeting Association, William T. Pinner, President. 

The Cradle Roll and the Home Class of the Sunday School is in charge of Sister S. Valentine, who, although in her 86th year, does active service for the Master, having been actively engaged since the church was a mission. 

The church at the present time has a total membership of 157, who are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the Lord, and of true Methodism and the advancement of God's Kingdom. 

Signed, 

H. E. GESCHWINDT, 
CYRUS O. STROH, 
WILLIAM T. PINNER, 
GEORGE ALLENDER, 
RUDOLPH LACK, 
S. L. BAGENSTOSE, Committee. 
Secretary of Committee, GEORGE E. WHITE. 

Fairview Official Board - 1909
Albert Moorehouse - Manuel Hope - Cyrus Stroh - Elmer Stroh - William T. Penner - Albert Stillwell - H.E. Geschwindt - George White
A. Barnett - H.W. Rickenbach - J. White - Jared Noecker
S.T. Bagenstose - George Allender - Rev. P.W. Bilderback - Rudolph Lack 

Rev. P.W. Bilderback

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