BEGINNING OF THE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH IN AMERICA
The United Methodist Church of today was established in 1968 by the merger of the The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church. The Evangelical United Brethren Church, established in 1946, was the result of the merger of the Church of United Brethren in Christ, established in 1815 by Phillip William Otterbein and Martin Boehm, and The Evangelical Church which was established in 1922 by the merger of The Evangelical Association and The United Evangelical Church. The United Evangelical Church had separated from The Evangelical Association, established in1816 by Jacob Albright,in 1894.
The Methodist Church resulted from the merger, in 1939, of The Methodist Protestant Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church, and The Methodist Episcopal Church South. The Methodist Episcopal Church and The Methodist Episcopal Church South separated from The Methodist Episcopal Church in America in 1844 and The Methodist Protestant Church separated from the same church body16 years earlier in 1828. The Methodist Episcopal Church in America was established in 1784 by John Wesley, Thomas Coke, and Francis Asbury.
How did we become a Methodist Protestant Church when the Methodist Episcopal Church In America was established in 1784? If you will recall your American history, you will remember that 1784 was only eight short years after the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 dissolving all political bonds with England. At that time the democratic temper of the American frontier was such that it demanded; (1) representation of laymen in church decisions; (2) membership of local preachers in the Conference, and, (3) participation in election of church leadership. Such demands were in sharp contrast with the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church. By 1820 tensions peaked when eleven local preachers were expelled by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Nine years later the first session of the Maryland Annual Conference was held in Baltimore and the METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH was founded.
BEGINNING OF THE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH IN KEMPTOWN
Having separated from the Episcopal Church,the Protestants needed places in which to worship. In August,1836, seven years after the establishment of the Methodist Protestant Church of the United States, a group of people in the little community of Kemptown held a meeting and decided to purchase a small parcel of land from Solomon Kemp and his wife, Barbary Kemp. It was on a tract known as "Snakeroot Thicket". On that tract a church, or perhaps more accurately a log meeting house, was established and named: PROVIDENCE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH. PROVIDENCE meaning, "The Lord Will Provide". A story in faith accompanies the origin of the name. A group of people who were trying to organize the Kemptown Church were discussing how money would be raised to pay expenses when one asked, "Where is our faith? The Lord will provide". Some members of the Browningsville Methodist Episcopal Church, North, helped form the new church.
The Trustees were: James Day, John Norwood, Lemuel Brandenburgh, John Low, and Joseph Kemp. Three were members of Providence Church and two were nonmembers. The two nonmember Trustees were representatives of the subscribers to the church who were also nonmembers. The Reverend James Day, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Protestant Church in Kemptown, was an ordained elder of the Methodist Protestant Church.
It was set forth in the deed that this church was to be kept for the use of Methodist Protestant ministers, or any regular minister of the Gospel who may obtain permission from the Trustees to use the church when not occupied by ministers or members of the Methodist Protestant Church.
The deed was acknowledged on the ninth day of August, 1836, before two Justices of the Peace, Washington Burgess and George Phelps. This acknowledgment, which was very unique in the manner in which it was written, reads as follows:
"Transferred August 9, 1836 - State of Maryland, Frederick County, to wit:
Be it remembered and it is hereby certified that on the 9th day of August, 1836, before the subscribers and two Justices of the Peace of the State of Maryland in and for Frederick County, afore said personally appears: Solomon Kemp and Barbary Kemp, his wife, they being known to us to be the persons who are named and described as and proposing to be the parties to the aforegoing deed in denture and do severally acknowledge the said deed indenture or "instrument" of writing to be their respective act and in testimony where of we here unto subscribe our name in the day and year afore said 1836."
/s/ Washington Burgess
/s/ George Phelps
(Reference - 193 - 194 Land Record #3 - Liber H. S.)
SUBSCRIBERS TO THE FIRST CHURCH
Let's look at some of the names of the many subscribers to the first church in 1836, in the hope that you may recognize the name of one of your ancestors. These names,with the exception of two not decipherable, were copied from the1836 deed as it was written:
Solomon Kemp, Thomas Norwood, James Day, Bernard Kemp, Joshua Purdum, Lemuel Brandenburgh, Ely Brashear, Edward Warfield, William Burditt, John Bear, John Fahner, Ruben Baker, Greenburry Burr, Daniel Moxley, Stephen Moxley, William Bedford, Silvester Baker, Samuel Dillon, William P. McElfresh, Elizabeth Klay, George Klay, John Engel, Jacob Engel, John Rian, Samuel Rian, Peter Boyer, Thomas Baker, George Kindley, Nathan M. Clagett, Thomas Burgess, Perrygreen White, Jeremiah Watkins,William T. Glaze, Upton Bell, Ezekiel Moxley, Sr., Ezekiel Moxley,Jr., Mary Fahner, Jefferson Day, Joseph Kemp, Nicolas Watkins, Gasaway Watkins, Evan Thompson, S. Talbott, Elias Bottler, George Fahner, Alfred Baker, Eligah L. Robinson, Joshua Norwood, Benjamin Sier, Adam Shaffer, Maryann Flemming, Thomas Mulnix, Henry Smith, Charley Moxley, William Davis, John T. Lewis, Isaac Burk, Mesheck Baker, Mathis Geiger, Jeremiah Fowler, Roland Burk, George Mount, Samuel Williams, William Moxley, John Boyer, Sarah Moxley, Julet Moxley, Elisha Beal, William Mount, F. Brown, Thomas Ervin, JohnWood, Benjamin Todd, John Clarey, John Low, Philamon McElfresh, Lydia Adams, Ruben Moxley, Elisha Etchison, Lorenzo Etchison, Green T. Etchison, Joshua Brown, Henry Winrod, Richard Browning, Benj. Wood, George Moxley, Risson Moxley, Isaiah Norwood, Jeremiah Browning, James Boyer, John Purdum, Thomas Baker, Jr., Silas Browning, Susannah Watkins, Nehemiah Moxley, Nathan Purdum, Archabald Browning ,Grafton Duvall, John Burditt, Walter Stewart, William Golden, Samuel W. Beekwith, John Hilton, Ira Hart Chester, Samuel Baker,Washington Burgess, Levi VanFossen, Joseph West, Samuel Todd,William Lowe, Joel Wood, Nicholas Hilt, C. Warfield, Walter Summers and Sarah Norwood.
THE CHURCH BUILDING AND FACILITIES
The First Structure A Log Meeting House
There is little known to document or accurately describe the first meeting place. However, we know that it must have been small because the first Methodist Log Meeting House built in America (New Windsor, Maryland) was only 24' x 24' and we can safely assume that most of the first churches were similar in size and design. Let's walk back into our past, visit the little log meeting house, and compare it with today's place of worship.
There are no surfaced roads leading to it ,and no street address. It doesn't have an outside bulletin board. Where is the parking lot? Oh, just take the horses over to a sturdy post and hitch them up. Make sure you give them a drink of nice cold water from that big trough before starting home.
As we walk inside no one has arrived to snap on the lights or regulate the thermostat to control the temperature. There are no wall buttons.
Where are the persons designated to hand out printed bulletins for the order of worship?
Look at this oiled wood floor and those tiny plain glass windows. Where's the chancel with its lovely furnishings, and the hanging eternal light? There is only one room, no basement, and not even a fellowship hall or kitchen.
Space for the choir and organ? They sit over in that corner.
We could go on and on, but you get the picture. If you need light there are kerosene lamps and/or tallow candles.Too cold? Fire up the potbellied stove with some wood and perhaps a little coal. Too warm? Open the tiny windows and the door. Perhaps some cool, fresh air will circulate as Mother Nature provides.
Insofar as facilities and furnishings are concerned, Providence had a humble beginning. Is that of great importance? The members were rich in their faith and belief in God's Holy Word which has been passed on from generation to generation.The earliest Quarterly Conference minutes reflect the reading of the Bible and openings with prayer, often referred to as "religious exercises".
"The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever."
Isaiah 40:8 - Revised Standard Version
New Tract of Land Purchased
As the congregation grew a larger church was necessary, so in the year 1872 additional land was purchased from Greenberry Baker and his wife, Hepsey Baker. The second tract was also a part of the tract known as "Snakeroot Thicket", and was purchased for $50.00. The Trustees were: Reuben M. Moxley,William Boyer, John T. Lewis, Wesley Boyer, and Richard Browning.They were selected in the same manner as for the first tract.
The second deed was made on the 18th day of March 1872, the year our present church structure was erected.The property description reads, in part:
"Beginning for the same at a stone planted at the north corner of the Grave Yard Lot belonging to said church, and .... containing nine tenths of an acre and three Sq. perches of ground, more or less".
Running east, the property line connected with a stone which was one point on the survey of the deed from Solomon Kemp and wife in 1836.
The Second Structure Built in 1872
After the second tract of land was acquired from Greenberry Baker and his wife the building we worship in today was erected, minus a few additions and modernization, but at the same location.
The building was not elaborate. It did not have a steeple. The membership believed in simplicity and such an adornment would have been extreme and unnecessary. It did not have a recessed chancel until the year 1902. The balcony was constructed in 1872 as part of the original building. At one time it was divided by temporary movable partitions to accommodate three Sunday School classes.
Over 30 years later, in 1905, a new chandelier was hung at a cost of $42.56. The windows were plain glass. The stained glass windows Were selected in 1958 and dedicated to the Service of Our Lord on October 28, 1962. A separate section describes those beautiful memorials.
Prior to 1930 the church building had two entrance doors, one for women and one for men. They entered church separately and they sat in church separately. An aisle led from each door, with short pews on the outside of each and longer pews in the middle. There was a dividing partition in the center of the middle section to separate the men from the women. If, for some reason, it was necessary to get from one side of the church to the other, it was out the door on the side you were in and into the door on the other side.
Weddings were held in the sanctuary as far back as the turn of the century. For those desiring less elaborate weddings, marriage ceremonies were often performed in the parsonage. According to one source no weddings were held in the church for the period beginning with the Great Depression and lasting until1947. That was a time of tremendous drain on finances, and of the young men in the community who were called on to serve our Nation during World War II.
The 1872 church was heated by potbellied stoves, one on each side of the sanctuary. They were later replaced with stoves called Heatrollas. Wood, and some coal, was used for heating purposes. A coal house was located on the outside. Maxine Browning remembers that her father, F. D. Browning, fired the stoves, starting the potbellied heaters early in the morning. After the Heatrollas were installed they were started the day prior to services and Mr. Browning arrived early on Sunday mornings to open drafts and replenish the fuel. He often asked for free will donations to purchase some of the coal.
The first pastor to deliver a sermon in the new church was Reverend W. T. Dumm.
Remodeling in 1930
While the Reverend E. E. Coleman was pastor (1928 - 1933), Providence underwent extensive change and refurbishing. A set of double doors in the center of the church building became the entrance, replacing the two separate ones. New pews, without partitions, were installed. Earl Linthicum and William Browning traveled to Waynesboro, Virginia, via truck and picked them up.The chancel was refurnished. Electric lights were installed, as was a metal ceiling. New flooring was laid and the aisles carpeted.The church was freshly painted, inside and outside. While the work was being accomplished services were held in the town hall.
The original pulpit, chair, and some of the pews were donated to Fairview Chapel in 1983, which was then being rebuilt and restored as it was in 1900. Evening services are now held there on Sundays. Local pastors, including the pastor at Providence, volunteer to preach.
An article from The Frederick Post covered the reopening and dedication of Providence Church on March 30,1931. Morning services were held at 10:30 a.m. The sermon was by the Reverend James H. Straughn, D.D., treasurer of the General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. Special music was rendered by the Montgomery Chapel Male Quartette and the Providence Choir. The soloist at the afternoon service was Rufus E. Baker, one of Providence's talented choir directors. An evening service was held at 7:30 p.m.under the leadership of the Christian Endeavor Society. The subject of the address given by F. C. Dixon, Executive Secretary of the Maryland-Delaware Christian Endeavor Union, was "Youth -the Conquering Host". Music for the evening consisted of selections by the Darnestown Male Quartette, a solo by Adelyne Moxley Murray Garroway, of Montgomery Chapel, and a duet by Mrs.Rufus Day and Mrs. Louis Jones. A reading was given by Mrs. Gertrude Grubbs.
1954 Addition to Providence
It was during the ministry of the Reverend Leon Dage, (1954 - 1960), that Providence had growing pains and decided to build an addition. A basement was excavated to provide for Sunday School rooms below ground; and, rest rooms, a dining hall and kitchen were built above ground. This decision was greatly influenced by Mother Nature. The outside picnic supper, a Sunday School moneymaking project, was flooded out!
Maxine Browning tells us that a storm came up so severe that it took six men to hold the poles under the outside tent in order to keep the canopy intact. The affair suffered temporary destruction! Louise Mullinix Johnson remembers picking up a pan of potato salad and pouring the water off the top! Some wanted to give in to the damage from the storm but Maxine Browning had about $100.00 worth of tickets sold which had not been honored and since she didn't want to refund the money she and her mother, Mrs. Nicie Browning, gathered all the table cloths in their home and, with the help of others, had set up in the town hall and were serving suppers in about an hour's time. Aside from the influence of such a near disaster, the Sunday School was growing in size. Trying to conduct seven different classes in the sanctuary had become highly undesirable.
The erection of that addition carries with it a story of people joining together and giving freely of their time, services and resources. Roland Loun, a native son of Kemptown, recalls some interesting things about the project:
The majority of the wood came from the church property. Since many of the huge oaks had to be removed in order to make way for the project they were sawed into usable lumber. Other trees, which were donated, were from the farms of Charles Riggs, William Browning, and John Watkins. After being felled they were hauled by tractors and farm wagons by Raymond Loun (Roland's father) to the Cliff Watkins sawmill across from what is now known as the Green Valley Shopping Center. There was no charge for sawing- it, too, was a donation. All the large floor and ceiling joists,and the roof rafters were rough sawed lumber.
Preston Brown, of Mt. Airy, provided the machinery and manpower for excavation. The charge he made for fuel was paid by Raymond Loun. Mr. Brown's work included moving and leveling the unused foundation dirt at the back of the property to create what we now enjoy as the outside picnic grounds and work area. At that time he also cleared off the parking lot across from the church.
The Webb Construction Company was the overseer on the job until it was under roof, supplying the lead carpenters. Many volunteers from the church membership and from the community assisted in the building project: Lee Riggs, Charles Riggs, William Burke, Leonard Burke, Russell Reader, William Browning, Claytus Brandenburg, John Watkins, Monroe Mount. After 32 years it is so easy not to remember all who participated in the building project. We have named those who come to mind.
Rudell Mullinix, the electrician on the job, gave his time and labor. Roland Loun said he was a laborer, too. He helped haul all of the block for the basement walls from Frederick. His uncle Howard and his father supplied the trucks for hauling. He also remembers well the day the concrete basement floor was poured in one continuous slab, including the 4" raised section on which the furnace was set. The addition was a great necessity and has been in constant use since it was finished.
It was decided to widen the church hall and kitchen to the extent of one half the size of the 1954 addition. When finished it increased the seating capacity for the fund raising suppers and provided additional space for a multiple number of other activities. Woolwine Hubble was the lead carpenter on that expansion project.
The Beautiful Stained Glass Windows
On October 28, 1962, eleven beautiful stained glass windows were dedicated to the Service of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Reverend Doctor Edgar Beckett, Superintendent of the Washington West District of the Baltimore Conference, conducted the Service of Dedication.
There is no way to measure the inspiration they provide for worshipers in the sanctuary. Their strong, bright colors and symbolisms remind us over and over again of the loving care of Our Heavenly Father, the life of His Son, Jesus, His love for us, His teachings, and our gift of everlasting life because of His death on the cross.
The windows speak, too, of the lives of those whom they memorialize, attesting to their individual and collective roles in the development of Providence Church. Look closely at the windows, think of their meanings. It never changes.You will be strengthened in your Christian faith with God and His people.
The organizations and persons memorialized are:
B.J Brandenburg Family
John Molesworth Family
John L. Watkins Family
Augustus Mullinix Family
Women's Society of Christian Service
Memory of F. D. and Nicie Browning
James Monroe Browning
Methodist Youth Fellowship
John A. Engle
Norma Engle Nicodemus
In 1989 protective coverings were installed to protect the windows and preserve the Christian symbols so meaningful in out daily lives.
In 2005, the outdoor pavilion was designed and constructed by Daniel Pfister as an Eagle Scout project with BSA troop 1023, who gratefully acknowledged all the donors, church members, community members and fellow scouts who helped finance and build it.
Remodeling in 2011 - 2013
While the Reverend DD Adams was pastor (2011 to present), Providence underwent another period of extensive change and refurbishing. In 2011, the parsonage interior was remodeled. In the Fall of 2012, new energy-saving heat pumps were installed at the church to replace the old furnace/air conditioners/heat pumps. Insulation was added above the sanctuary ceiling to reduce heat losses. The sanctuary floors were resurfaced and the carpet was replaced. In January of 2013 a steeple was installed. In the Fall of 2013, two handicapped-accessible restrooms and a new stairway to the lower level was installed. All of this work was accomplished under the highly capable leadership of the Chairman of Trustees, Mr. Robert Drury.
LIST OF PASTORS WHO SERVED PROVIDENCE CHURCH
| 1836 - J. S. Reese; W. J. Porter || 1838 - E. Henkle || 1839 - G. D. Hamilton|
| 1840 - B. Appleby; G. D. Hamilton || 1841 - J. S. Reese; J. T. Wood || 1842 - J. S. Reese; J. Elderdice; P. L. Wilson|
| 1843 - J. S. Reese; S. L. Rawleigh || 1844 - U. Collier; J. L. McCleon; J. D. Brooks || 1845 - P. L. Wilson; J. K. Nickols|
| 1846 - P. L. Wilson || 1847 - H. P. Jordan || 1849 - L. W. Bates; W. Reinecke|
| 1850 - A. Baker || 1852 - P. L. Wilson || 1854 - A. Hammond (Asst.)|
| 1855 - T. M. Wilson || 1856 - C. Eversole (Asst.) || 1857 - A. Baker (Asst.)|
| 1858 - W. T. Wright; J. Clay(Asst.) || 1859 - J. W. Chariton (Asst.) || 1860 - A. D. Dick (Asst.)|
| 1861 - J. K. Nickols; A. S. Eversole (Asst.) || 1862 - D. Wilson; M. E. Hysore (Asst.) || 1863 - J. D. Kenya (Asst.)|
| 1864 - S. T. Graham (Asst.) || 1865 - J. Roberts; F. M. Hawkins (Asst.) || 1866 - J. C. Steward (Asst.)|
| 1867 - J. E. Darby (Asst.) || 1868 - R. S. Norris; G. D. Edmonson (Asst.) || 1869 - H. C. Cushings; J. B. Butler (Asst.)|
| 1870 - W. T. Dumm || 1871 - W. T. Dumm || 1872 - S. F. Ferguson|
| 1873 - G. F. Farring || 1874 - C. T. Cochill || 1875 - W. J. D. Lucas (Asst.)|
| 1876 - J. A. King (Asst.) || 1877 - C. T. Cochill; S. J. Willey (Asst.) || 1878 - Jesse Shreve; A. J. Walter (Asst.)|
| 1880 - A. D. Murray (Asst.) || 1881 - W. H. Stone (Asst.) || 1882 - Jesse Shreve|
| 1883 - B. F. Benson || 1884 - A. A. Harryman || 1885 - E. R. McGregory|
| 1886 - E. R. McGregory || 1887 - E. R. McGregory || 1888 - E. O. Ewing|
| 1889 - E. O. Ewing || 1892 - W. J. Floyd || 1893 - W. J. Floyd|
| 1893 - 1895 - J. W. Chariton || 1895 - 1897 - A. D. Dick|
| 1897 - 1898 - J. L. Elderdice || 1898 - 1902 - C. M. Cullum|
| 1902 - 1909 - John A. Wright || 1909 - 1916 - Howard 0. Keen|
| 1916 - 1917 - George H. Stocksdale || 1917 - 1922 - A. H. Green|
| 1922 - 1923 - C. N. Alexander || 1923 - S. R. Martin|
| 1923 - 1924 - Frederick Siffrin || 1924 - 1928 - Frank Volk|
| 1928 - 1933 - E. E. Coleman || 1933 - 1934 - Charles F. Cummins|
| 1934 - 1937 - Gilbert E. Turner; F. M. Cleft (Asst.) || 1937 - 1943 - Stephen Galley|
| 1943 - 1945 - Lawrence E. Little || 1945 - 1951 - Chester B. Smith|
| 1951 - 1954 - T. W. Sunderland || 1954 - 1960 - E. Leon Dage|
| 1960 - 1963 - M. E. Tingle || |
| 1963 - 1966 - K. P. McDonald, Jr. || 1966 - 1973 - Kenneth L. Beale|
| 1973 - 1977 - Charles Frum || 1977 - 1980 - Eugene May|
| 1980 - 1982 - Gerald Stone || 1982 - 1986 - Richard 0. Randolph|
| 1986 - 1995 - Laura B. Easto || 1995 - 1996 - John O. Price|
| 1996 - 1999 - Jacquelyn S. Jones || 1999 - Carroll A. Doggett|
| 1999 - 2009 - Donna L. Herrett || 2009 - 2011 - Donna L. (Herrett) Renn|