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McKendree 127th Anniversary, 1981

McKendree 1981 Anniversary Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Cumberland, Maryland
(as of 1981)

The church, now known as McKendree United Methodist Church was known as McKendree M.E. Chapel Congregation and composed of colored people, who formerly worshipped with the congregation of the Centre Street M.E. Church. They were under the government of the Baltimore Conference, as their white brethren. In the fall of 1854, the colored portion of the Centre Street M.E., who had been seated in the balcony of the church, withdrew from the whites and organized a separate congregation. They purchased their house of worship on Centre Street in 1854 and occupied it until 1962. The building, a modern structure of brick was originally 30 feet by 40 feet. During the pastorate of Reverend M. Spreddles it was lengthened eight feet. It was finished as a two-story building

Among the first trustees of this church we find the names of Lewis Graham, Joseph Taper, James Tibbs, and Eli Robinson. The congregation, at the time of its organization, numbered about forty. The first pastor was Reverend Henry Matthews, according to Will H. Lowdermilk's "History of Cumberland," printed in 1878 and reprinted in 1971

Reverend Matthews was succeeded by Reverend W. S. Wilson, who served three years and his succedent was Reverend E. Lawson who served only one year and was followed by Reverend Thomas Davis in 1873. After a brief ministry Reverend Davis withdrew from this conference. The unexpired term was filled by Reverend A. B. Wilson ion 1874. He remained with us until February 1875, and was succeeded by Reverend Henry Cellers. The number of communicants at this time was 90

The Washington Annual Conference was organized in the Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, October 27, 1864. Bishop Levi Scott opened the Conference. The Conference had six districts. The districts were: The Charleston, North Baltimore, South Baltimore, West Baltimore, Virginia-Washington, and the Washington Districts. McKendree was a part of the Charleston District, which included parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. McKendree hosted the 35th Washington Annual Conference on March 10, 1898. The presiding Bishop was Bishop Andrews. The merger of the Washington Annual Conference and the Baltimore Annual Conference took place in 1965. Once again McKendree was in the Baltimore Conference and located in the Hagerstown District

For many years McKendree was on the Cumberland and Frostburg Circuit with John Wesley Methodist Church of Frostburg. In 1969 John Wesley Methodist church merged with First Methodist Church of Frostburg

McKendree was yoked with Park Place United Methodist Church in LaVale in 1970, with Reverend Hubert L. Patrick as the pastor for three years. Reverend Patrick was succeeded by Reverend Clifford H. Kelang in 1974 who served as pastor of Park Place and McKendree for two years. In 1977 McKendree was yoked with Potomac Park United — Methodist Church and-Reverend William-H. Heslop-was-the pastor from 1976--l977. Reverend Heslop was succeeded by Reverend William M. Balderson who was appointed in 1978 and is the present pastor (as of 1981) of McKendree United Methodist Church

On February 16, 1888 the sacred Cantata "Mary of Bethany" was presented at McKendree Methodist Episcopal Church. On March 3, 1899 the McKendree Episcopal Church gave a reception in honor of the "Tonsorial Artist" and the "Knights Of the Tray" of this city. A musical and literary program was rendered in the church auditorium. A delightful banquet was served just before midnight in the lecture room of the church. One table was arranged by waiters of the Windsor Hotel, and was especially attractive. The Queen City Hotel waiters also had a beautifully arranged table, as had also the barbers. The McKendree Methodist Episcopal Church was located on North Centre Street, near Gramlich Alley. The parsonage was located on 132 Polk Street Cumberland, Maryland. McKendree received the deed for the parsonage on July 19, 1926. The mortgage was paid on July 9, 1950. Irene Valentine of LaVale held the first mortgage on the parsonage.

The parsonage was remodeled in 1954 at the cost of $5,587.08. When John Wesley Methodist Church of Frostburg merged with First United Methodist Church of Frostburg, McKendree was yoked with Park Place Methodist Church in 1970. The parsonage on Polk Street was then sold on December 1, 1972 for $7,227.56 to the Urban Renewal of the city of Cumberland. The money is in escrow to be used for repairs on the church

During the ministry of Reverend George T. C. Bell, the church on Centre Street was badly in need of repairs. The walls were pulling away from the floor. The fire marshal made a list of needed repairs for safety regulations. After much consideration, the congregation decided the repairs would be too costly and a new church was a better choice. The congregation of McKendree sold the church on Centre Street to Centre Street Methodist Church while Reverend C.E. Johnson was pastor. The congregation was invited to join with Centre Street Church but they decided to purchase land and build a church on Paca and Smallwood Streets, in 1961. The cornerstone was laid in 1962. Much of the church furnishings were moved from the Centre Street location and used in the present church. Among the furnishings moved are the pulpit, pulpit chairs. The pews were shortened and used. Some of the stained glass windows are in the present building. Some of the trustees were John Trimble, Robert Holmes, Earl Bracy, and John Bates. A treasure, a silver communion set, is still in the possession of the church. Once again the McKendree United Methodist Church is experiencing new life. Palm Sunday 1980, a choir was formed with Mrs. Jo-Jacqueline Cooper as President and Mr. James Darr as organist. The choir has added much to the life of the church and its growth. New choir robes and hymnals were purchased this Easter season, 1981. A choir from Hall United Methodist Church, Glen Burnie, Maryland presented a concert in 1980 and Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Annapolis, Md. presented a concert at McKendree in March 1981. McKendree joins with Ebenezer Baptist and Metropolitan A.M.E. churches in an Annual Thanksgiving Service

McKendree is named after Bishop William McKendree. The first American-born bishop of the Methodist Church, William McKendree was closely associated with the establishment of the Methodist Church in Tennessee. Born in Virginia in 1757, McKendree visited Nashville as early as 1797. Three years later, he became the church's Western District field marshal and took on the responsibility of organizing new churches and circuits and recruiting new preachers. McKendree proved to be "the superintendent who most significantly influenced the development of Methodism in Tennessee." Elected bishop in 1808, McKendree moved to Nashville permanently and lived there until his death. In 1812, with Bishop Francis Asbury, McKendree organized the Tennessee Conference, the general governing organization for Methodism in Tennessee. His last sermon came at Nashville's McKendree Methodist Church upon its dedication on November 23, 1834. McKendree died in 1835 and was buried in Sumner County; later his remains were reinterred at Vanderbilt University.

Cumberland, Maryland 1981

1854 - 56 Reverend Henry Matthews
1856 - 59 Reverend W. S. Wilson
1869 - 71 Reverend Spreddles
1872 - 75 Reverend E. Lawson
1873 - Reverend Thomas Davis / Reverend William A. Waters
1874 - Reverend A. B. Wilson / Reverend Joseph Wheeler
1902 - Reverend Joseph Wheeler
1911- 14 Reverend Daniel Shaw
1914- 16 Reverend Charles S. Briggs
1923 - Reverend Nathaniel Minor
1933 - 34 Reverend Hailing
1934- 36 Reverend Bashua Jordon
1936 - Reverend Lofton
1937- 42 Reverend Leslie A. Dyson
1943 - 46 Reverend Ramsey Bridges
1946 - 48 Reverend Julius O. Williams
1948 - 51 Reverend George Tate
1952 - 59 Reverend George T. C. Bell
1960 - Reverend Samuel M. Carter
1961 - 63 Reverend C. E. Johnson
1964 - 66 Reverend Joseph Louis Gibson
1967 - 68 Reverend Lucius Lee Mosley
1970 - 73 Reverend Hubert L. Patrick
1974 - 75 Reverend Clifford H. Kelbaugh
1976 - 77 Reverend William H. Heslop
1978 - 82 Reverend William M. Balderson
1982 - 83 Reverend Charles Baskerville
1988 - 89 Reverend Charles Johnson
1989 - 92 Reverend Hollis
1992 - 94 Reverend Morrison
1990 - Reverend Dickie
1990 - 94 Reverend Boyd Walton, Visiting Pastor from Hagerstown
1996 - Reverend William Merki
1997 - 2001 Reverend Theodore Higby
2001- 04 Reverend Dan Wright
2004 - Reverend Alicia Blake


Photograph: Courtesy of McKendree United Methodist Church of Potomac Park.

Note the interior views of both the former Centre Street and Paca Street McKendree Church sites.


Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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