| In the spring of 1886, prayer-meetings were held in a private house on Maxwell Street. These drew interest and moved to a grove on Pine Hill, Maxwell Street. In response to a demand for a church building, a lot was secured and a church planned to be built in the Queen Anne style, sixty-five by forty feet. The building was opened in July, 1887, as the Stanton Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of Stanton and Evans Streets. In 2003 a drive-by indicated that the building is now used by the Zion Temple Holy Church.
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The pastors and their periods of tenure were:
Thomas Corwin Watkins, 1886-1889
John Russell Cushing, 1890-1892
Arthur Page Sharp, 1893-1894
Joseph Patterson Kennedy, 1895-1897
Charles Henry Stackpole, 1898-1900
Austin Henrie Herrick, 1901
Leopold Adolph Nies, 1902-1911
Charles Wesley Blackett, 1912-1915
Oliver Wertz Hutchinson, 1916-1917
Wilbur George Chaffee, 1918-1922
Wallace Hayes, 1923-1926
Robert Leroy Taylor, 1927-1930
Joseph McGuire Shepler, 1931-1934,
Herbert Thomas Coontz, 1935-
William E. Ramsden was pastor in 1962.
For more information, consult:
Chaffee, John R. The History of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1917.
Chapman, Grace Olive. Stanton Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, Dorchester (Boston) Massachusetts, 1886-1936. Published by the Author? 1937.
Forty Years of Stanton-Av[enue] M.E. Church Pass into History
[newspaper article, probably from the Dorchester Beacon, probably from 1928]
Has Photo of Church with inset of Rev. Wallace Hayes, pastor.
First the trees, then the tent, then the temple. These three periods are representative of the four decades in the history of Stanton Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church of Dorchester, which will begin the observance of its 40th anniversary next Sunday, under direction of the pastor, Rev. Wallace Hayes. He is the 10th to occupy the pulpit there and is now on the fourth year of his pastorate.
First Sermon to Pioneers
In June, 1888, Rev. T. Corwin Watkins, then pastor of the Dorchester M.E. Church, began to preach in the pine grove near Capen St. on Sunday afternoons. These services were continued for 11 successive Sabbaths. Preceding the ceremony in the grove a Sabbath school was conducted in a new unoccupied building on Maxwell St. with an average attendance of about 35.
When the weather became too cold for outdoor meetings, a tent was pitched on a vacant lot near where the church now stands, and meetings were held there two successive Sabbaths and on the evening of intervening weekdays. At the last ceremony held in the tent, after an eloquent sermon by Rev. Dr. J.W. Hamilton (now bishop), a subscription was taken up amounting to $1500. During the next two weeks $1000 was added by friends outside the congregation.
A lot was purchased for $1860, and ground was broken, the pastor holding the plow with which he made a cross on the spot where the edifice now stands.
A board of trustees was organized and incorporated consisting of D.J. Haines, R.C. Downs, Charles B. Fox, E.R. Downs, A.T. Twombly, Joseph Whitney and Charles Woodbury, the latter, at his own request was soon after succeeded by Charles DeW. Marcy and Frank W. Carter and John F. Brown were added to the Board.
Corner Stone Laying in 1886
The corner stone was laid Dec. 27, 1886, with addresses by Bishop Mallalien, presiding Elder Lindsay and Rev. E.N. Packard. The ceremony was conducted by the acting pastor.
There were services during the winter in the house on Maxwell St., Ev. J.P. kennedy alternating with the pastor in preaching and superintending the Sabbath school. When the pastor?s term expired in April 1887 at the Dorchester church, the structure on Stanton Av. was barely enclosed. To leave it at this point in the history of the enterprise seemed to those most interested disastrous. Consequently at his own request Mr. Watkins was appointed from the conference to this ?charge? although there was then no edifice in which to worship, no parsonage, no stated salary and only 12 members.
July 10, 1887, the church was opened for service with a sermon by Bishop R. S. Foster. The entire property cost nearly $12,000 including the organ and furnishings. When the edifice was completed there was a mortgage of $5000 upon it and during 1888,$200 was paid on that. In December, 1889, a woman member offered to contribute $500 if the trustees would raise enough to reduce the debt to $500 by Jan. 10. The trustees decided to undertake the whole debt provided the Church Extension Society would donate $1000, and this was voted.
Jan. 19, next year, after an able sermon by Rev. Dr. George S. Chadbourne, subscriptions were sent in sufficient in addition to what had already been placed to cover the entire mortgage debt.
Dedicatory Ceremony in 1890
The social then had as an active working force 5 members, 140 Sunday school scholars, a young people?s society of 40, juvenile temperance society of 55, a children?s class with an average attendance of more than 59 and a Ladies? Aid Society.
The dedication took place April 8, 1890, with sermon by Rev. Dr. Chadbourne, presentation of the church in behalf of the trustees by Charles D.W. Marcy, declaration and dedication by the pastor, Dr. Watkins. The church has an unbroken worship since those pioneer days.
Rev. Dr. Watkins, who was the first pastor up to 1890, died Sept. 11, 1924; Rev. John R. Cushing, 1890-93, died Feb. 8, 1906; Rev. Arthur P. Sharp, 1893-95, now a patient in Palmer Memorial Hospital; Rev. Joseph P. Kennedy, 1895-98, died Oct. 10, 1923; Rev. Charles H. Stackpole, 1898-1901, now pastor at Danvers; Rev. Leopold A. Nies, 1901-12, now district superintendent at Springfield; Rev. Charles W. Blackett, 1912-16, died Sept. , 1920; Rev. Oliver W. Hutchinson, 1916-18, died May 19, 1922; Rev. Wilbur R. Chance, 1918-23, now pastor of Grace Church in Cambridge; Rev. Wallace Hayes, appointed in 1923.
The church membership now numbers about 300, and the general business is directed by an official board. The many activities are under the control of the Men?s Club, of which Charles D. Wilson is president; Ladies? Aid Society with four subordinate circles, Mrs. Emma J. Banister, president; the Epworth League, Women?s Home and Foreign Missionary Society, Delta Alpha Class, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and there is a large Sunday school of more than 200.
There will be two services conducted by the pastor on Sunday. His morning theme to adults will be ?Link Hands with the Four Corners of the World.? To the juvenile section the subject of his address will be ?Adding a Second Story to the Junior Church.? In the evening his topic will be ?Methodist Foundations.? The singing will be by the surpliced choir, under the direction of Mrs. A.W. Blair, and there will be solos by Mrs. Harold S. Robie.
In the afternoon a large deputation from the congregation led by Mr. Hayes, will go to Mt. Hope Cemetery to assist at ceremonies in connection with the honoring of five Methodist clergymen interred there. These are Rev. Garrett Beekman, 36 years in the ministry; John William Fletcher Barnes, 46 years a pastor, 28 years of which he was chaplain of the State Prison; Rev. Thomas W. Bishop, 42 years; Rev. Sanford Benton, who occupied his pulpit many years; and Rev. E. P. Taylor, better known as ?Father Taylor?, who had a period of 42 years to his credit. He had been a sailor. In the story of his conversion, which took place in Bromfield Street M.E. Church, Mr. Taylor told that as a waif he floated into Boston Harbor in 1811. ?As I walked along Bromfield St., I heard a singing in the church. I crept in through the porthole and stowed myself upon the gun deck, when a broadside from the pulpit stove me to pieces, and in a sinking condition I hauled down my colors and cried for quarter.?
Reader's Comment from Craig on Feb. 13, 2006
I don't think I ever knew what denomination it was. I do remember they had a little carnival on the side lot on Stanton Street when I was very young. No rides just games like a bean bag toss and such. The woman who lived across from the church on Evans Street (Mrs. Nye I think) who every one thought was a witch (she was old, grey and lived alone) must have belonged because she chased the kids off the grounds. In latter years (about 1970) it became an Irish Social Club and you couldn't park your car for blocks on Sunday night when they had their meetings. I got a peek in the front door just once but can't remember more than a lot of woodwork. Another note is when the Nuns at St. Matthews referred to the ?Protestant Church? from Kindergarten on, that was my mental picture of ?THE PROTESTANT CHURCH?. Still is today to some extent in much the same manor as my father?s mental picture of an airplane when ever the word popped was something like the Wright brothers flew and he confessed remained that way until his death.
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Created: September 28, 2003 Modified: July 4, 2006