CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
CENTENARY METHODIST EPISCOPAL
Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church
115 North 5th Street
Southwest Corner of North 5th and Cooper Streets
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church was organized March 29, 1866. Services were first held in Odd Fellows Hall at 4th and Market Streets until completion of the Chapel, dedicated October 11, 1868. The chapel, which can be seen at the left in the photograph below, was designed by John Frazier of Philadelphia.
Construction had begun in 1892 on the building which is known to this day as Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church at 5th and Cooper Streets. The church was dedicated on September 24, 1893. Designed by architect Frank R. Watson, the church was built adjacent to the chapel which had been erected in 1868. The main auditorium seats about 750 in an amphitheatre style. This is a dark sandstone building, the stone being Trenton brownstone.
In June of 1924 the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church and the Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church consolidated in June of 1924 under the name Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church, using the edifice at 5th and Cooper Streets.
In the 1930s, the church maintained a parsonage at 409 Penn Street.
Among the prominent citizens who were members of Centenary and Centenary-Tabernacle Methodist Episcopal Church were businessman William Bleakly and his sons, lawyer E.G.C. Bleakly and real estate developer John W.F. Bleakly, builder William C. Aitken, Dr. William H. Ireland, and Dr. James E. Bryan, superintendent of Camden's public schools from 1899 through 1931.
following is derived from
On Thursday, March 29, 1866. the Centenary M. E. Church was organized in Andrews' Hall, N. W. Corner of Fourth and Market streets, by a small band of persons, 45 of whom had been members of the Mother Church of Methodism of this city, Mr. Joshua Peacock, Secretary.
The church was formally organized under the superintendence of the Presiding Elder, J. B. Dobbins. By an election the following composed the first Board of Trustees: Benjamin H. Browning, William M. Barlow, Ralph Lee, Joseph C. De La Cour, Nathan T. Mulliner, Henry F. Hunt, M. D., Thomas Cochran. These were legally constituted by certificate of corporation, dated May 30, 1866, as a corporate body under the name of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, of Camden, New Jersey. The first pastor, the Rev. Henry Baker, served the church only one year with pronounced success and great acceptability.
Charles Sloan, Charles Cox and Joshua Peacock were appointed Class Leaders.
Charles Sloan, Joseph De La Cour, Henry F. Hunt, M. D., Henry Hollinshed and William M. Barlow were selected as the first Board of Stewards on May 2, 1866.
The first public service was held in Odd Fellows Hall, now known as Morgan's Hall, S. E. Corner of Fourth and Market Streets, on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1866. At this service the pastor announced the 847th Hymn, read the 1st chapter of John as a Scripture lesson, and preached from the text. Psalm 46:1. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
At the evening service Rev. Henry Baker announced the 27th Hymn and preached from the text, Mark 14: 8: "She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."
The Sunday School was organized on the following Sunday, with Joshua Peacock, Superintendent; Charles Sloan, Assistant Superintendent; William D. Peacock, Secretary; Charles Cox, Treasurer; Joseph Chattam, Librarian; Edward G. Stewart, Assistant.
Sabbath services were held in Morgan's Hall until the erection of the chapel, except for a short time while the Hall was being repaired, when the services were held in the Court House. The social meetings being held in Andrews' Hall.
Encouraged by the success of the new enterprise, the organization decided to purchase a lot on which to erect a permanent Church home. After looking at several sites, the Trustees selected the lots at the S. W. Corner of Fifth and Cooper streets, which were purchased for the sum of $9,500. On March 18, 1867, the Board of Trustees passed the following resolution: "Ordered that we proceed immediately to the erection of a chapel; that John Frazer of Philadelphia, be selected as architect; and that Benjamin H. Browning and William M. Barlow be appointed a Committee on Plans and Specifications."
On May 6, 1867. a contract was awarded to Williams & McNichol for the erection of the chapel for the sum of $22,250. On Tuesday, July 9, 1867, the corner stone was laid by Bishop Matthew Simpson, and contained the Philadelphia North American, West Jersey Press, Camden Democrat, History of church, list of the Officials and members of the church, specimens of coins: colonial continental and of the present up to 1867; list of members of the Choir, Sabbath School Scholars and Teachers, and the Methodist Church Discipline and Hymn Book, Bible and photograph of Bishop Simpson.
On October 11th, 1868, the Chapel was dedicated by
Bishop Janes. At the dedication services a subscription of $6,150 was raised, leaving an indebtedness of $20,000,
which was paid off in 1887.
October 11th, 1868. Service 10.30 A. M. Rev. Bishop Janes preached the sermon and dedicated the chapel. Order of service: 1, Anthem. 2, Exhortation. 3, Hymn No. 48
Infinite God to
thee we raise
On a Saturday evening in the latter part of 1878, at a very impressive prayer service in the home of one of the Trustees, it was decided to make an effort to raise the entire church debt the following day. The day proved to be very stormy and although the morning congregation numbered but ninety-six and the evening, sixty-nine, yet subscriptions covering the entire $20,000 were secured, most of them being paid during the ensuing year.
Although as early as 1883 there was some discussion
about the erection of a church building, yet no decisive steps were taken until the year 1891. On
March 2 of this year, the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Wesley, the pastor, Rev. A. B. Richardson, in an act of
faith, lifted the first spadeful of earth for the erection of the church. By his arduous
efforts in securing subscriptions for the new enterprise he was the moving spirit in
bringing about the erection of the new edifice. Benjamin F. Archer, President of the Board of Trustees, and of the
Building Committee, Wilbur F. Rose, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and Horace M. Sharp, Treasurer,
were indefatigable in the aid which they gave the pastor in pushing forward the church enterprise. In July,
1891, committees were appointed, the plans of the architect, Frank R. Watson, were accepted, and the contract awarded to A. H. Williams' Sons. The corner stone was laid
Cost of Church, complete
After subscriptions amounting to $8,500 were taken, the dedicatory service was conducted by Bishop Foss, and the benediction pronounced by Rev. A. K. Street.
In the evening prayer by Rev. S. F. Upham, D. D. Sermon by Rev. J. A. P. Chapman, D. D.
Description of the church:—This large and imposing
church structure, which is one of the prettiest sanctuaries in New Jersey, had been in course of construction since
April, 1892. The church occupies one of the prettiest sites in the city, in the central section of the finest residence
portion of the city. It faces on Cooper street, having a frontage of 75 feet and a depth of 126 feet on Fifth street,
not including the old chapel, which extends 46 feet, and joins the new church structure. It is built of Trenton
stone in the Gothic style of architecture and finished with tower surmounted by prettily designed pinnacles, giving a
very artistic and imposing appearance. The main auditorium, is amphitheatre in style and is finished in quartered oak, with a semi-circular arrangement of seats, having
a seating capacity of about 750. The ceiling is open work
The Memorial windows in the new structure are: W.F. Rose, in memory of his daughter, Mary Caroline Rose; James G. Thayer, in memory of Mrs. Laura C. Browning Melony; Mrs. Eliza Monroe, in memory of her husband, Samuel Y. Monroe, D. D. ; handsome window in the N. E. corner by Mrs. Elizabeth C. Bender; James G. Thayer, in memory of his wife, Anzonetta T. Browning Thayer.
Services in connection with the dedication were held during the entire week. Several of the former pastors and pastors of the local churches assisting in them.
Wednesday evening—Prayer by Rev. John S. Heisler, of Central Church, Bridgeton. Sermon by Rev. John Y. Dobbins, D. D. Closing prayer by Rev. W. E. Needham, of Trinity Church.
Thursday evening—Prayer by Rev. John W. Lyell, of First Baptist Church. Sermon by Rev. John E. Adams. Closing prayer by Rev. A. B. Richardson.
Friday evening—General Church Social, under the auspices of the Ladies' Aid of Centenary Church, with refreshments.
Board of Trusftees—Benjamin F. Archer, President; Horace M. Sharp, Treasurer; John Campbell, Jr., George A. Frey, Secretary; William Bleakly, John Turner, Elwood Prickitt, D. G. Langendorf, Charles W. Munger.
Building Committee—Benjamin F. Archer, Benjamin H. Browning, John Camphell, Jr., William Bleakly, William T. Bailey, John Turner, Elwood Prickett, John T. Seymour, D. G. Langendorf.
Finance Committee—Wilbur F. Rose, Pres. ; Horace M. Sharp, Treasurer.
Dedication Committee—W. F. Rose, Chairman; G. A. Frey, Secretary; G. Gerry White, John Turner, Christian Schrack, Horace M. Sharp, James Develin, William Bleakly, Richard C. Mason, Organist.
Board of Stewards—William T. Bailey, John T. Seymour, Charles P. Bowyer, Christian Schrack, Richard Twelves, Charles W. Garman, R. Levis Shivers, H. H. Marter, J. B. Kemp, E.G.C. Bleakly, Herman A. Helmbold, William P. Partenheimer.
Class Leaders—G. Gerry White, James Develin, Rev. A. B. Richardson, Mrs. William Bleakly.
Epworth League and Christian Endeavor—Richard G. Develin, Pres.
Ladies' Mite Society—Mrs. B. F. Archer, President; Mrs. S.B. Northrup, Vice President; Mrs. John Turner, Secretary; Mrs. Christian Schrack, Treasurer
Ladies' Aid Society—Mrs. S. B. Northrup, President. Mrs. John Campbell, Jr., 1st Vice-President. Mrs. David Baird, 2nd Vice-President. Mrs. John Turner, Secretary. Mrs. James P. Nieukirk, Treasurer.
Sabbath School Teachers—G. Gerry White, Rev. A. B.
Richardson, H. M. Sharp, Miss V. Browning, Miss Helen Bleakly, Miss R. B. Michellon, Christian Schrack, Elwood
Prickett, Harris Graffen, John T. Seymour, Miss A. B. Brown, Miss Carrie Develin, Miss Mary Campbell, Mrs. H.
Jackson, C. P. Byrne, Miss M. B. Bowden, P. Frank Atkins, Miss Ida Seymour, Miss Bessie Sharp,
Mrs. R. G. Develin, Miss Helen Richardson, Mrs. A. B. Sutton, Miss F. Sharp,
William P. Partenheimer, Mrs. John Turner, Mrs. W.
The Church, during its entire history of forty-four years, has quietly gone forward in the work it was called upon to do. In its benevolences, that bear favorable comparison with its sister churches, there has been a spirit of generous liberality in responding to all claims made, and in the offerings for missions, the average per member is on a par with the best in the Conference.
The church, has been most fortunate in the pastors who have served during this period, men, all of them of character and ability; and while we cannot mention all in detail, yet we feel that we may refer to the first pastor, the Rev. Henry Baker, who as a young man came to the church serving it but one year; yet in that short period, by his eloquent preaching and faithful ministry, added largely to the membership and handed over to his successor, the Rev. William V. Kelly, D. D., now editor of the Methodist Review, a church firmly established. Under the pastorate of the Rev. William V. Kelly, the church developed most wonderfully. A revival of great power took place, and into the church as a result was gathered a large number of men and women, heads of families. This gave stability to the spiritual life and force of the church, and its influence was and is felt today. Under the pastorate of the Rev. Thomas H. Stockton, another revival of more than ordinary character occurred and the church life deepened in its spiritual force, widened in its social influence, and at the end of his pastorate was perhaps more prosperous in all of its departments than at any time in its previous history. Mr. Stockton was succeeded by the Rev. John Y. Dobbins, then a young man of rare ability as a preacher, who filled the pulpit with great acceptability, and accomplished a good work.
Before the expiration of his third year, Mr. Dobbins was transferred to a large church in Covington, Kentucky.
To mention the name of John E. Adams, is to speak of a man most painstaking in all his work, and one whose sermons were of a character that were a charm as well as a benediction to all who heard them.
In naming A. B. Richardson his work stands incarnated in stone, in the church on the corner of Fifth and Cooper streets, and because of his faith, his zeal, his energy, we have our church.
Rev. John S. Heisler, a saint of God was our pastor beloved. His spirit dwells with us still, and his memory remains fragrant and beautiful as the character exemplified by his life.
Through the church there has passed into the land of eternal brightness, men and women whose devoted services and consecrated lives added to its spiritual force, and established firmly that spirit of unity and brotherly kindness which has always characterized the intercourse of its membership. Among the many who have thus gone from us we may recall : Charles Sloan, a man quiet and strong in the faith; John Titus, Nathan T. Mulliner, John Little, Samuel Finney, Joshua Peacock, William Bleakly, Benjamin H. Browning, John T. Seymour, Benjamin F. Archer, Horace M. Sharp, Christian Schrack, Mrs. David Baird, Mrs. John Campbell, Mrs. William Bleakly, all these and many more that might be mentioned, though dead yet live.
The history of the church is marked by a steadfast purpose that has never been departed from, all of its efforts have been directed to that one end. Its services of every character have had the same in view, viz:— to bring the Gospel, in its saving power, to the hearts of men, women and children, not so much by special effort at special sessions, but by and through the ministry of the ordinary means of grace. This purpose has not failed of results in the past and the promise for the future, under the blessing of God, is bright.
The following is a record of membership, Pastors serving, and offerings for Missions, during the past decade:—
The Board of Managers of the Methodist Episcopal
Home for the Aged and Infirm of the County of Camden, State of New Jersey, from Centenary Church: Mrs.
Mary Baird Fox, Pres. ; Mrs. Lavinia Wentling, Financial Secretary Mrs. Annie Jefferis,
Secretary; Mrs. Esther Mason, Treasurer; Mrs. Emma Seymour, Mrs. Anna Parker, Mrs. Jennie
Johnson, Mrs. Joanna Peacock, Mrs. Jessie Clow, Mrs.
Inmates from Centenary Church living in the Home — Mrs. Mary Lanning, Miss Jennie Hare.
The Pastors of the church and the years of service have been as follows:—Rev. Henry Baker, 1866-1867 ; Rev. William V. Kelley, 1868-1870; Rev. David H. Schock, 1870-1871; Rev. Joseph B. Dobbins, 1872-1874; Rev. Thomas H. Stockton, 1874-1877; Rev. John Y. Dobbins, 1877-1879; Rev. John E. Adams, 1880-1883; Rev. J. Leander Sooy 1883-1885; Rev. John S. Heisler, 1885-1888; Rev. David H. Schock, 1888-1889 ; Rev. A. B. Richardson, 1889-1894; Rev. James W. Marshall, 1894-1897; Rev. Henry R. Robinson 1897-1899; Rev. William P. Davis, 1899-1901; Rev. J. B. Wescott, a part of 1901—Dr. Davis being appointed Presiding Elder; Rev. George Humason, 1901-1904; Rev. Marshall Owens, 1904-1909 ; Rev. Percy Perinchief , 1909.
|Philadelphia Inquirer - October 20, 1891|
|Philadelphia Inquirer - June 22, 1896|
A.G. Lawson - Rev. J.W. Marshall
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church - North Baptist Church
January 28, 1928
Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1933
Moss-Simmons Wedding to Be Held Tonight
Miss Virginia Foulds Simmons will become the bride of Eric Leonard Moss of this city, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Simmons, of 27 North Thirty-fifth Street, this evening. Mr. Moss is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Moss of Jamaica, W.I.
Rev. John Pemberton, Jr., pastor of Centenary-Tabernacle Church, of this city, will perform the ceremony, which will take place at seven-thirty o'clock. The wedding march will be played by Howard Tussey.
The bride, who will be given in marriage by her father, has selected a gown of white satin trimmed in lace and beaded. Her veil is of tulle and she will carry roses, sweet peas and baby's breath.
There will be two attendants, Miss Mary Hicks and. Miss Elizabeth Jump, both of this city. Miss Hicks, as maid of honor, will wear a frock of yellow organdie with matching accessories. Miss Jump, as bride's-maid, will wear a similar costume in a peculiar green shade. They will carry bouquets of mixed Spring flowers. Stuart Smith of Camden will be best man.
After July 1, Mr. Moss and his bride will be at home in the Bellevue Apartments, Bellevue Terrace and Haddon Avenue, Collingswood.
Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933
Soroptimists to Hold Informal Weekly Luncheons
These informal get-togethers were begun last Summer and proved such a success that they are being repeated this season.
Mrs. Mary A. Koch is the president, of the club composed of business and professional women of Camden and vicinity.
A picnic supper in the basement of Centenary-Tabernacle M. E. Church, this week, for the Girl Scouts of Camden Troop No. 28, was the final social event on the calendar.
Mrs. Clara Anthony, a member of the club; who is captain of the troop, arranged the affair.
At this time, the annual awards were made to the scouts. Miss Betty Starliper and Miss Isabel McMorrow were presented with gold stars for perfect attendance and Miss Joyce Smith and Miss Sarah Molotsky, silver stars for 90 percent attendance. A medal for good behavior was won by Miss Betty Jones and for neatness, by Miss Marguerite Heritage. Honorable mention for neatness was given Miss Virginia Hahn and Miss Ruth Elaine Sharp.
George Anderson To Wed Mary Ferat In Camden Church
The marriage of Miss Mary Eloise Ferat, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Ferat, of 1476 Kaighn avenue, and George Henry Anderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Anderson, of 496 Newton avenue, will take place this evening in the Centenary-Tabernacle Church, Fifth and Cooper streets.
The ceremony will be performed at seven o'clock by Rev. John Pemberton, Jr., pastor of the church. Grant Harden, of this city, will play the wedding march and accompany Mrs. Vernon Jorgenson, of Philadelphia, in vocal solos.
The bride will be given in marriage by her father. She will wear a lovely gown of ivory-toned wedding ring velvet made entrain. Her veil of ivory toned tulle falls from a coronet and she will carry a shower bouquet of chrysanthemums.
Mrs. John Bachman, of Harrisburg, Pa., will be her cousin's matron of honor while Miss Margaret Jones, of Merchantville, will be maid of honor and Mrs. George A. Restrick and Miss Anne Anderson, sister of the bridegroom, both of Camden, will be bridesmaids. They will wear velvet gowns with matching accessories, Mrs. Bachman in sapphire blue and carrying maize chrysanthemums; Miss Jones in rust and carrying bronze chrysanthemums and the bridesmaids in emerald green and carrying orchid chrysanthemums. Mary Ann Tweedy, of this city, as flower, girl will wear a frock of yellow pleated net and carry a basket of baby chrysanthemums.
Mr. Anderson will be best man for his son and ushers will include: Solomon Walls, of Dover, Del., uncle of the bridegroom; John Bachman, of Harrisburg, and George Restrick, of this city.
Mrs. Ferat will be gowned in wine colored velvet and wear a corsage of gardenias, while Mrs. Anderson will wear sapphire blue velvet with gardenias.
A reception will be held at the Hotel Walt Whitman, which also will be in observance of the silver wedding anniversary of the bride's parents. Following, Mr. Anderson and his bride will leave on a tour of the Southern States. They will be at home after November 15, at the Kaighn avenue address..
Camden Courier-Post - February 3, 1938
MINSTREL ARRANGED BY CHURCH PLAYERS
Rev. Elwood A. Harrar
Rev. Carlton R. Van Hook
Camden Courier-Post * April 15, 1950
Methodist Episcopal Church
Centenary-Tabernacle Baptist Church
State Street Methodist Episcopal Church
as seen from
seen from Northwest Corner
February 7, 2004
Click on Image to Enlarge
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