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Zoar UM Church

 History OF Zoar UM Church

Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church of Reids Grove, Maryland, was called and deeded in April 1941. Zoar Is a Biblical name, a safe place called “Zoar” where Lot took his family when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. The history of this church goes back to 1915 according to the records. The names of the first Negro trustees were: James & Fannie Goodman, Louis & Nona Rideout, Thomas & Rosie Cye, Hooper & Roxie Cephas, Edward & Janie Camper, Mitchell & Hattie Wongus, and Francis & Sarah Wongus. Several (x’s) were made as there were some trustees who could not read or write their names.

A clear deed was issued in March 25, 1918. The sum of $100, other goods and valuable considerations were accepted for payment. The church building was a plain wooden frame of small size. The first local preacher was named, Theodore Johnson. In 1922, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. James Fassett, plans were being made to upgrade the church. In 1925, the plans for another church building were talked about under the pastoral leadership of Rev. E.H. Nichols. He wanted to complete the plans of his predecessor.

But in 1929 and 1930, there was a rapid growth of children In the community and the surrounding area forcing members, parents, and trustees 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 members granted permission for parents to use the church for the purpose of educating their children. The Board of Education agreed to provide a teacher for that school. The teacher appointed was Mildred Harris, she taught there for seven years.

The moral and spiritual strength of the church began to weaken between 1932 and 1939, because members were deprived of work because of crop failure. This made It impossible for members to do very much toward the growth of the church and the community.

In 1940, the church began progressing slowly. Spiritual growth by way of a gracious revival greatly strengthened the church under the leadership of Rev. G.T. Townsend. Then in 1941, a grievous loss resulted from the death of Rev. Townsend who was succeeded by Rev. O’Connell Melbourne.

Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church continued with a successful year. The Rev. Abraham McDowell was appointed pastor following Rev. Melbourne. He and his wife (Ida) were exceptionally active in the church and community. The Rev. Abraham McDowell completed more than twenty-five years on the charge before moving to another charge. In 1946 and 1947, the church was remodeled at a cost of $2300. Many churches were engaged in having camp meetings during the Summer months as a social and spiritual attraction. This along with other social activities were annual events for several years. Camp meetings would draw a crowd, make money to have a good time regardless of the moral and spiritual
effect upon the community. The conference reformed the structure of camp meetings and eventually they were discontinued.  

The Rev. Wayne Dennis and his wife were appointed in 1960. The merger of the Peninsula Conference and the Delaware Conference took place in 1965. Then came the name change to Zoar United Methodist Church with the merging of the two conferences in 1965. The Rev. Harvey Chase and his wife served as pastor in 1972 after the Rev. Wayne Dennis retired. Zoar United Methodist continued to maintain the previous record of growth and spiritual development under the pastorate of Rev. John Ringgold in 1975, who followed Rev. Harvey Chase. Rev. Roland Dennis, son of Rev. Wayne Dennis, was appointed pastor of the charge in 1977. Under Rev. Roland Dennis, a new hall was built and the church was renovated. After Rev. Roland Dennis retirement, we had our first woman pastor, Rev. Darlene Dixon in 1998 until 2003. In 2003 Rev Yvonne Wallace-Penn was appointed. Rev. Yvonne Wallace-Penn pastored until 2015. In 2015 Rev. Jerome E. Tilghman, Sr. was appointed to pastor the Cambridge-Vienna Ministries later renamed (Cambridge-Reids Grove-Vienna Ministries) which include Zoar United Methodist Church.