Atco United Methodist Church

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Our History

Take a journey back in time with us....

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One Spring morning – early in the 20th century – both men and women came early to begin clearing a wooded site for the building of a church.

 

There were no tractors or bulldozers then so everyone used picks, axes, and shovels.  It is understood church members dug the basement themselves.  As they worked, other prepared a chicken dinner to keep up their strength.

 

Contract for construction was given to Benjamin Rennard.  The cornerstone for the new church was laid during a special ceremony in 1904.  Among its contents are a Bible, several testaments, an Epworth League pin, the town paper of Atco and samples of currency.  There are no plans to open the cornerstone.

 

The Rev. Harold P. Sloan became the first pastor for the new church during its construction.  The first organist and choir director was Rebecca Naudain and the first choir was made up of Mrs. Lawrence Duble, Robert Wood, Jessie Cain, Bertha and Blanche Brown and Lena Ware.  Miss Ware later became the only church member to ever go into foreign mission work.  She was sent to Rome (Why Rome, we now ask?), in 1919 sponsored by the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society.

 

The first baptism was that of Blanche Watson, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Horace Watson, Sr., the first couple married was Blanche Brown and Frank Reinhard and the first funeral was that of Rebecca Naudain.

 

The new church was a frame structure consisting of the church sanctuary, Sunday School Room, another small classroom and a library.  When the Sunday School grew too large for the original room, the primary department was moved to the basement.

 

Stained glass windows were donated in memory of the people whose names appear on them.  A quick scan around the church today reveals eleven windows with the following names enshrined in a monument of multi-colored hue:  Mrs. Elizabeth Tusy; John J. Githens and wife; Mrs. Emma Kline, Deborah Richards; Marjorie Chambosse; Fernley C. Van Schoick; Joseph, Elisha, Katie and Joly Cook and Mrs. Joseph Eldridge.  To the left and right of the pulpit, as if in special placement, are two stained glass windows bearing the names of Sarah A. Richards and “In Memory” of John Richards.  The window near the choir loft – with the names of Thomas J. and Helen M. Baizley – is different from the others because it is older and was taken from the Universalist Church.

 

The Church furnishings came from many different sources.  The pulpit furniture and chancel rail were brought from the Universalist Church.  These remained until the mid-1960’s when the altar area was redone with a new rail, table and pulpit.  The pews were purchased when the church was built and remain in use today.  The first organ was a pump organ.  In the late 1930’s a woman’s group called the big Sisters purchased the church’s first electric organ which was in the memory of Mrs. William Cain and Linford Crawford.  The next electric organ was donated in 1957 by Richard Ewan, Sr.  Mr. Ewan was a member of a family who has continuously supported the church’s music program as choir directors and church organists.  They also donated the echo speakers in memory of Irwina Ewan.  The latest organ was purchased in 1983 in memory of Marthabelle Anning and Dr. Edward Stanko.

Read the rest of the story....

Full History of Atco UMC

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Atco UMC 2128 Atco Ave. Atco NJ 08004