History Of Wesley United Methodist Church


Our History

John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, west of the corporate limits of the town of Vienna, Maryland is situated within a historically African-American neighborhood along Old Ocean Gateway, Old Route 50 and Vienna Back Street, has history which dates back to the antebellum period of the 1830’s to the1850’s. During this era a settlement of blacks were seeking a place to purchase land, to raise their families, and to worship and praise their God.

The absence of a church led these families to assemble in homes in order to give praise and thanks to the glory of God. As the families grew larger and their zeal to worship God continued, the idea to build a church was born.

In fulfillment of their goal, the first John Wesley Episcopal Church was built during the 1840’s. The exact date cannot be pinpointed since very few records were recorded prior to the existence of the Delaware Annual Conference, which was the source of the Methodist Episcopal Church information.

The Delaware Conference, consisting of black pastors only, was organized in 1864. Local preachers who attended the conference were granted a license to preach and serve in the black Methodist Churches. According to the Delaware Conference records one of these preachers was Wesley J. Parker, son of Robert and Milly Parker, born in Vienna, Dorchester County, Maryland on April 15, 1828. Beginning in his childhood and continuing throughout his early adult life, he demonstrated devout faith as a worshipper at John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church in Vienna, Maryland. Further demonstrating his inclination to serve God he at the early age of 36, joined the Delaware Annual Conference as an official when it was first organized in 1864. This was also the year that John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, his home church, became a part of the Delaware Annual Conference.

According to a map of Dorchester County , Maryland by Simon J. Martenet dated 1865, the location of John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church was then on Back Street on the site where the Vienna Black Community Cemetery is now located.

The church, still in stages of infancy, was beginning to witness physical changes and organizational changes. Physically, an improvement was made to the church in 1871, Then, nine years later, the church was remodeled. According to the certificate of incorporation dated August 25, 1896, an organizational change was made. On this date, John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church became an incorporated entity. In this document the following persons were recorded as Trustees:

Benjamin L. Miller – Minister in charge

Robert M. Parker – Secretary

Samuel Dockins                         Spry Davis                 Ephraim Stewart

Stephen W. Hill                          John Henry                 David Pinkett

Robert W. Parker

.Several changes also occurred between 1903 and 1932. The first church, was small and was soon to be declared over crowded; so the second church was built in 1903 on the road now called Old Route 50 at a cost of $1800.00. This church burned down in 1931; however another church was built the following year (1932) at a cost of $3800.00 on the parcel of land that had been donated to John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, by Sarah Baltimore in 1921. This parcel of land is the site on which the church now stands.

Pastor’s Name Date of Pastoral Service
Rev. Mathias H. Horsey 1879 – ?
Rev. J. H. Harman 1883 – 1884
Rev. Marshall William Taylor 1884 – 1887
Rev. G. B. Coleman 1887 – 1892
Rev. Josiah Collins 1892 – ?
Rev. A. S. Amos 1893 – ?
Rev. Benjamin L. Miller 1896 – 1904
Rev. W. C. West 1904 – 1905
Rev. L. H. Martin 1905 – 1913
Rev. D. S. Quillen 1913 – 1917

In 1965 the Delaware Conference, consisting of Black Methodist Preachers, and the Peninsula Conference consisting of White Methodist Preachers merged into one conference called the Peninsula Annual Conference. An Organization called “Black Methodist for Christian Renewal (BMCR)” was formed. This organization expressed the concern of the word “Delaware” being omitted from the Annual Conference name. because of the efforts of BMCR, the new Conference name became Peninsula Delaware Conference. At the time of the name change, Susan Morrison was the Bishop. Not only was there a name change for the conference, but also during the same year, the name of John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church was changed to the name as we know it today, “Wesley United Methodist Church


Rev. V. W. Clark 1917 – 1923
Rev. J. O. Stanley 1923 – 1929
Rev. Jose Angulo 1929 – 1934
Rev. A. A. McDowell 1934 – 1960
Rev. Roland Dennis Sr. 1960 – 1972
Rev. Harvey Chase 1972 – 1975
Rev. John Ringgold 1975 – 1977
Rev. Roland Dennis, Jr. 1977 – 1998
Rev. Darlene Dixon 1998 – 2003
Rev. Yvonne Wallace Penn 2003 – Present