The text below is the amended text of the Recommendation of Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church to be designated as a Greater New Jersey Annual Conference Historic Site. This was presented by Rev. Bill Wilson, Chair, Commission on Archives and History at the 2015 Annual Conference in the Wildwood Convention Center on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church Historic Site
(no financial impact)
WHEREAS, Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church is one of the oldest organized Methodist Episcopal Church congregations in New Jersey at two hundred and thirty years and was part of the original Salem circuit in southern New Jersey.
WHEREAS, Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church started out as the Methodist Society at Morris’ River around 1778 during the American Revolution. Benjamin Abbott, southern New Jersey’s influential “War Time Evangelist” attended the quarterly meeting.
WHEREAS, Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church was visited by Bishop Frances Asbury on September 17, 1785 at quarterly meeting. He would return on October 6, 1786 to an attentive crowd. He returned for a last time on April 17, 1809 to preach and confer with Dr. Benjamin Fisler about building an academy on the church grounds.
WHEREAS, Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church’s cemetery contains the remains of Richard Swain and his family. Swain served under Abbott and was appointed to several circuits in the New Jersey area until 1803. His leadership helped make Methodism successful in the southern New Jersey area.
WHEREAS, Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church erected the first building exclusively used by Methodists, completed in 1786. The present edifice dates from 1827.
THEREFORE, As one of the most successful southern New Jersey churches whose tremendous impact upon South Jersey Methodism since 1785 deserves to be recognized by this body as a Greater New Jersey Annual Conference Historic Site.
RATIONALE: Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church has a special place in southern New Jersey’s Methodist history. The fact that Francis Asbury visited three times and set in motion plans for an educational academy built later on the grounds gives proof to its expanding ministry and importance to Methodist work in the area. Port Elizabeth’s spiritual heritage through the years includes a famous 1869 revival and strong temperance stand in 1884.
Submitted and Presented by Rev. Bill Wilson, Chair
Commission on Archives and History
Revised by Theodore F. Prohowich, Jr., Church Historian
Port Elizabeth United Methodist Church