The history of Zoar United Methodist Church goes back to 1915 according to the records. The names of the first trustees were: James & Fannie Goodman, Louis & Nona Rideout, Thomas & Rosie Cye, Hooper & Roxie Cephas, Edward E. & Janie Camper, Mitchell & Hattie Wongus, and Francis & Sarah Wongus.
A clear deed was issued in March 25, 1918. The sum of the purchase was $100.00 in cash plus other valuable considerations that was accepted for payment.
The church building was a plain wooden frame building of small size. This building was occupied by congregation under the leadership of the first preacher named, Theodore A. Johnson.
In 1922, under the pastoral leader of Rev. James A. Fassett plans were made to upgrade the church. Rev Fassett formed the Young People’s Group. He believed the church should be a place to provide for the development of all individuals, socially, intellectually and financially.
In 1925 under the leadership of Rev. E. H. Nichols, the congregation was still working diligently to raise the money necessary to upgrade the church and complete the plans of their previous pastor. But in 1929 and 1930, there was a rapid growth of children in the community and surrounding area, forcing members, parents and trusted of the church to seek a building to educate their children. Members of this community met with the members of the board of education to discuss the education for their children. The board of education agreed to provide a teacher for that school. The teacher appointed was named Mildred Harris.
In 1940, Zoar Methodist Episcopal began progressing slowing. Spiritual growth by way of a gracious revival greatly strengthened the church under the direction of Rev. G.T. Townsend. Then in 1941, Reids Grove was separated from East New Market and Vienna. Rev. G. T. Townsend was preceded by the Rev. O’Connell Milbourne.
Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church as it as once called was formerly deeded as “John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church” of Reids Grove, Maryland. The name changed in April 1941 to “Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church “ when the merger of Wesley Vienna and Zoar in Reids Grove churches were authorized by the Delaware Wesley Conference.
Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church continued a successful year with the painting of the church and the re-organization of the Sunday School. The Rev. Abraham A. McDowell was appointed pastor following the Rev. Milbourne. He and his wife Ida were exceptionally active in the church and community. The Rev. Abraham McDowell completed twenty seven years on this charge before moving to another charge.
Zoar was engaged in having camp meetings during the summer months as were many other churches in the area. These events served as a social and spiritual attraction. This along with other social activities were annual events for several years. Camp meetings were held to draw a crowd, make money, and to have a good time regardless of the moral and spiritual effect upon the community. The conference reformed the structure of theses events and eventually they were discontinued.
Zoar continued to move forward with the purchase of an abandoned public school building from Vienna School. This building was used as a parish hall until 1995. The Rev. Roland Dennis Sr. was appointed to the Zoar and Wesley Churches. In 1961 a new parsonage was built at a cost of $10,000 in Vienna, Maryland. Rev. Dennis served as the spiritual leader until 1972.
The merger of the Peninsula Conference and The Delaware Conference took place in 1965. Congregations from both conferences accepted the merger gracious and courteously. With the merger of the two conferences Zoar’s name was changed to Zoar United Methodist Church.
In 1972 the Rev Harvey G. Chase replaced the retiring Rev. Dennis, Sr. Rev. Chase continued to lead the congregation in Christian Stewardship on the church.
In spite of economic adversities, people continued to sing, pray and work together. Zoar United Methodist Church continued to maintain the previous record growth and spiritual development of Rev. John Ringgold, who followed Rev. Harvey G. Chase.
Rev. Ronald Dennis, Jr. the son of Rev. Ronald Dennis Sr. was appointed pastor of the Cambridge / Vienna Charge and continued the work of others who had preceded him. After the retirement of Rev. Roland Dennis Jr. , Rev. Darlene Dixon became our Pastor in 1998 and served until her reappointment in 2003. In July of 2003 Rev Yvonne Penn was assigned to continue the work of all others that has preceded her.
This is a short history of Zoar United Methodist Church. Lots of progress has been made. Zoar will continue to move forward in worship, fellowship and it’s love for others.
Excerpts From the Booklet Preserving