CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
STATE STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Northwest Corner of North 6th Street and State Street
STATE STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH in North Camden grew out of a mission established in 1875 by Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church. The story of the early years of the church through 1909 are below. The magnificent church at the corner of North 6th Street and State Street was completed in 1904.
Some say a miracle took place at State Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1916, and who are we to question? Camden Fire Department historian Lee Ryan wrote about it in the Fire Department's 125th anniversary book, published in 1994:
Something akin to a miracle occurred on the frigid night of January 11, 1916 at the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Sixth and State Streets, North Camden. At 10 P.M., three alarms were transmitted in rapid succession for a serious fire involving the main auditorium of the church. Heavy fire conditions extended to destroy the roof, the organ loft, the altar, Sunday School classrooms, and the entire pew area throughout the auditorium. When the blaze was finally extinguished, all that remained standing were four granite walls. On the south side of the building along State Street, was a magnificent stained glass window of gigantic proportion depicting Christ breaking bread with Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. The window had inexplicably withstood the flames and heat. The scene from the life of Christ was not blistered, scorched or marred in anyway. It has never been retouched and still stands as a miracle, surviving one of the most disastrous church fires in City history. Chief of Department Peter Carter was injured at this incident when he fell through a passageway between the auditorium and the school building. He was hospitalized for several weeks. Captain Joseph Maxwell and Fireman Steward Bakley of Hook & Ladder Company 1, Fireman John Hunt of Engine Company 3, and Fireman William McCauley of Chemical Company 1 were injured when the church roof collapsed on them. Under heavy smoke conditions and following some difficulty, the members were able to extricate themselves, three of them safely. Captain Maxwell was admitted to the hospital for a brief stay.
|State Street Methodist Episcopal Church - May 2004|
HISTORY OF THE
The record of the State Street M. E. Church, and before it, the Mission, is one of unbroken attainment and success from the beginning. Providence has smiled upon its labors and made it a blessing to hundreds of homes in this community.
He who saw the need of carrying the Gospel to the children of Cooper's Point has been spared to see his visions grow into realities. Not only that, but in all the history of the school and church he has been able, in spite of the cares of business or physical ailments, to be present and take part in every Christmas, Easter and Children's Day entertainment of the school, and every pastor's reception to the church.
In the year 1875, Brother Bingham, then an active
official member of Tabernacle M. E.
Church, was impressed with the need of some religious work among the children
of what was then and is still known as ''Cooper's Point."
On his daily trips to and from his place of business he saw there were hundreds of persons whom the established means of grace failed to reach, and felt convinced that something should be done to bring Christ to these people, and especially to the children.
Pondering and praying much over the matter, the impression was deepened into a conviction, and he determined to act in the matter.
With the conviction pressing upon him. Brother Bingham was on the lookout for the
means to attain the desired end. His attention was directed to a building, 16x40 feet,
known as "'Haslett's Paint Shop," corner Point and North streets, which he felt assured could be made to
answer the purpose. He learned it belonged to the Camden & Atlantic Railroad, and
could be rented for $75 per year. He had several consultations with other active
members of Tabernacle Church, and at the third Quarterly Conference, 1875, the governing body of the church endorsed the project.
On October 27th the matter was presented to the Sunday School Board, with the assurance that the mission would be self-supporting. After a lengthy consideration of the matter all objections were withdrawn, and it was unanimously decided to at once inaugurate a mission at Point and North streets, with the following Committee on Organization : Brothers Bingham, Sleeper, Hines, Woodrow, Carson, Green, Corson, Pierson and Patton.
The first meeting of the committee was held on November 14th, 1875, in the lecture room of Tabernacle Church, with the pastor, Rev. George K. Morris, in the chair, at which time a committee was appointed to make the necessary repairs on the old building which was in very bad condition.
On November 24th, 1875, the fourth and last meeting of the Committee on Organization was held, with the pastor in the chair. Repairs were reported as finished, and the following officers were elected : Superintendent, B. C. Bingham; Asst. Superintendent, John Moore; Secretary, George Green ; Treasurer, James DeMaris. It was decided to start the mission with the new year. The time between the meeting and dedication was spent in active preparation. Bishop Simpson delivered a lecture in Tabernacle Church, in aid of the movement. Members of the church subscribed liberally, and on the appointed day, January 1st, 1876, the room was thrown open from 2 to 4 P. M. for inspection and dedication.
The interior was fresh and inviting. The walls had been painted and a new floor laid; a neat carpet had been put on the platform and the room furnished with benches.
In front the old sign, "John R. Haslet, Paint Shop," had been succeeded by one bearing the words, "Tabernacle Methodist Mission." Everything that could be done was accomplished to convert the old paint shop into a suitable building for the uses intended — the spreading of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As a result of announcements and circulars giving details of the movement, and of
The original enrollment consisted of thirteen officers and teachers and forty-seven scholars.
The work moved on harmoniously, and the end of the first quarter found ninety scholars in the Sabbath school, with fifteen officers and teachers.
During the first year a missionary society was organized, a weekly prayer meeting
held, in which several scholars were converted, a library established, an organ
purchased, a visiting relief society formed, temperance meetings held, and a
Christmas entertainment and treat given for the children. The report submitted
at the end of the year showed a record of seventeen officers and teachers, one
hundred and ten scholars, with 278 visitors. The amount of the collections
were $164.86 from the school and $197.57 collected outside. After all expenses had
been paid the school had a balance in the treasury at the close of the year of
The pastors of Tabernacle church took great interest in the work and helped in every possible way. Rev. Edmund Hewitt, who succeeded Rev. G. K. Morris, was especially active, editing "The Little Mission" (of which Brother Bingham was business manager) in the interest of the enterprise.
In November, 1878, a committee was appointed to look after the poor, and it is not too much to say that no little member of the Mission ever went barefooted or thinly clad in the winter again.
'Twas thus the years passed away, filled with work and prayer, crowded with anxieties and hopes for the little mission, which, in the meanwhile, had been constantly growing in numbers and influence until many a home had felt a new impetus and many a careless family was looking up. Christmas brought the treat, and the summer the picnic.
On the fourth of February, 1883, a committee of five, consisting of Brothers Bingham, Propert, Adams, Stiles and Evans, were appointed to select a building site, for the old paint shop could no longer accommodate the Sabbath school. The committee decided upon a plot of ground on the corner of Sixth and State streets, which was surrounded by a rail fence, and which had been used as a truck patch.
Surrounding the plot of ground were fields that the previous summer had been planted with corn. No houses were to the right, to the left, at the rear or in front. But seeing far into the future, and reveling in a vision of paved streets and rows of stone houses, which has actually come to pass, the mission bought the ex-cabbage patch for $3,000, and, letting down the bars, began to lay the foundations of a chapel.
The work of building went on gloriously. Many a hard-earned dollar was thrown into the little treasury, all for love of the work. The brethren built and dug and plastered to help the cause along. The sisters scrubbed and toiled, inspiring the brethren. When at last the time came to leave the old paint shop behind, the heart, filled with precious memories, gave thanks to God mightily, and the little band, with its young charges, took possession of the new chapel.
Previous to the erection of the chapel Rev. J. S. Heisler, pastor of Tabernacle Church, organized the State Street Mission, under the control of the mother church, but having a separate Board of Trustees. The Trustees of State Street Mission were: B.C. Bingham, Z.T. Faunce, W.T. Propert, John H. Stiles, Samuel Hollingsworth, Charles F. Adams and Edward Evans. The organization of the State Street Mission and election of its Trustees took place on April 19th, and the erection of the chapel was immediately pushed.
The chapel cost $2,500, the greater part of which was raised by subscription, Mr. Bingham alone collecting over $1,200 of the sum.
On Thursday evening, September 20th, 1883, after five
months of hard labor, the State Street Mission School was formally opened and dedicated as a house of God. The
services were under the direction of the Presiding Elder, Rev. J. B. Graw, D. D., and the dedicatory sermon was
preached by Rev. J. L. Sooy, who was at that time the pastor of Centenary Church.
On Sunday, September 23rd, the Sabbath school was held for the first time in the new chapel, with an enrollment of all the old scholars, save one, and an addition of several new names.
The infant department outgrew its limits, and on June 2d, 1889, a new room at the rear of the chapel was dedicated to that purpose. Other improvements had been made and the chapel was formally reopened with the preaching in the morning by Rev. D. B. Green, and in the evening by Rev. J. L. Sooy, the pastor of Tabernacle church.
On the 20th day of December of this year (1889) the mission met with a severe blow in the death of Mr. Samuel Fish, the assistant superintendent, and one of the most earnest and devoted Christian workers that had ever befriended the little mission.
The changes that had occurred were but a presage of still greater changes. The mission had been self-supporting from the beginning. Encouraged by its past success, it began to think of starting out for itself; and, therefore, at the fourth Quarterly Conference of Tabernacle Church for the year 1889 the Trustees of the mission asked the Quarterly Conference to grant them the privilege of establishing an independent church. The request was granted, and the Presiding Elder was petitioned to appoint a preacher for the ex-mission, now to be called State Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
From this time the history of the school becomes merged in that of State Street Church. The Annual Conference of March, 1890, assigned Rev. C. E. P. Mayhew to the new church. On Sunday, March 23rd, 1890, the new pastor occupied the pulpit for the first time, and the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church was organized with fifty members received toy certificate from Tabernacle M. E. Church. The list in full is as follows:
*Barclay C. Bingham, *Mary C. Bingham, Margaret A.Bruce, Marietta Boddy, Anna R. Covert, Selena Covert, Lizzie P. Covert. Kate Covert, Ruth Danzenbaker, George Danzenbaker, Joanna P. Day, Z. T. Faunce, Mary Faunce, *Priscilla A. Fish, George L. Fox, *Lillie W. Fox, Samuel Greaves, Arthur Greaves, Samuel Hollingsworth, E. F. Hollingsworth, Harry Hellings, Mary Hellings, Michael Hoffman, Joseph W. Hinkley, Emma A. Hinkley, Japhet B. Joyce, Beulah Joyce, Albert Joyce, Amanda Kinney, John W. Kemble, Sarah R. Kemible, James Lewallen, Edwin S. Matlock, Ella R. Matlock, Frank B. Mull, *Wm. T. Propert, *Hannah E. Propert, Phoebe Preston, Mary R. Stiles, Catherine Sheldon, Ida L. Sheldon, Charles Sheldon, Mary A. Travis, Franklin B. Titus, Ella Titus, Alice M. Vincent, Lizzie Worthington, Delia T. Wyant and *Verona E. Wheaton.
The church prospered. The Sunday school advanced. The pastor was popular. During
Mr. Mayhew was succeeded by Rev. M. E. Snyder, during whose pastorate a Junior League was formed, Epworth Guards organized (the first company to receive a charter in the New Jersey Conference) and the Orpheus Social organized (which purchased the piano and re-carpeted the church). He was pastor three years.
Rev. W. Gerges Moyer succeeded Mr. Snyder, in 1895. A parsonage was rented and
In 1896 Rev. E. C. Sunfield was sent to us, and for three and one-half years
labored earnestly. During 1898 a modern brick parsonage was erected adjoining the
church, and other improvements made on the property amounting to $4,000. In July,
1899, he made a transfer with Rev. J. C. Dodd, of Chestertown. Md., Wilmington
In 1901 Rev. F. A. De Maris was sent to us, and he labored effectively until March
of 1908. In the fall of 1902 a forward movement was determined upon, and in May,
1903, the chapel-building was removed to its present position, and ground broken
for the new structure. The Building Committee consisted of Rev. F.A. De
Maris, Barclay C. Bingham, William T. Propert, George L. Fox, Walter D. Gibbs, F. H.
Cornelius and R. B. Simmerman. Work on the new temple progressed rapidly, and the
structure, at a cost of nearly $30,000, was completed and dedicated January 24,
The pastorate of Rev. F. A. De Maris was uniformly successful. More than 450 members were received in the church during this period.
The church property at the present time is appraised conservatively at $50,000.
The Conference of 1908 assigned Rev. S. M. Vansant to this charge and for two years his labors were blessed of God in our midst. .
|Sate Street Methodist Episcopal Church Official Board - 1909|
|Samuel L. Jones - R.B. Simmerman - S.
McCarter - P.C. Propert - W.T Propert - Powell Steel - B.C. Bingham
W.A. Robbins - Chester Headly - Charles Martz
Alexander Beith Sr. - Rev. S.M. Van Sant - Benjamin Davis
|Philadelphia Inquirer - July 5, 1904|
Poynt Park -
State Street Methodist Episcopal Church
F. Wayland Potter - Rev. F.A. DeMaris - Joseph Nowrey
Philadelphia Inquirer - November 30, 1910
Marcus K. Mines - Dr. Frederick Jones Jr. - Dr.
W.P. Wingender - Dr.
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