A Summary of the History
Evangelical United Methodist Church
of Clarksboro, New Jersey
Evangelical United Methodist traces our history back to as early as 1750. When from 1750 to 1850 many German people settled in Eastern PA and Southern NJ.
Between 1855 and 1859 The Evangelical Association as the organization was known, extended its missionary efforts into Camden and Glassboro. The minister from Glassboro preached to the German speaking people in Clarksboro area.
In March 1879 a congregation was organized and was incorporated in March 1880 as the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association.
Three days later they purchased a lot on Cohawkin Road and it is still our home today. Our first corner stone was from stones brought by the farmer’s from their fields to the site and in April of 1880 the corner stone of the first church was laid.
In the early years from 1880 to 1902 the Pastor would travel by horse and buggy from Glassboro for a morning service.
During the 1920 and 1930’s may changes in worship practices tool place, The German language had been used exclusively, but after WW1 the German and English services were scheduled. By the late 193o’s the sermons were entirely in English. With this came the change to the long standing custom of the men sitting on the right of the center aisle and the women and children sitting on the left. Now the family could sit and worship together.
Palm Sunday April 2nd 1944 was a cloudy and rainy day. The morning services were held as usual. Scarcely one hour after the last worshipper left the alarm sounded – FIRE! It was an all consuming and destructive blaze. Valiant efforts by fireman were not enough to save the building and hopes seems as black as the beams of the ruined church.
The fire was not the end of Evangelical, but a new beginning. A meeting was held the next evening, where it was decided that since the build was damaged beyond repair, the old church would be torn down and they would build anew.
Sympathy, goodwill and gifts poured in as work began. With the generosity of the East Greenwich Fire Company the congregation continued to meet in the fire hall. It was at that time the invitation was extended to Zion Methodist Church to come join in worship. The combined worship continued until 1954.
The corner stone of the new church was laid on April 22, 1945 and on June 9th 1946 the new church with its land mark steeple was dedicated.
It was in November of 1954 the Evangelical Church merged with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Our name became Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church.
It was during this time two women’s groups were formed the Joy Circle and Chit Chats. More than 60 years later both are still vibrant groups within Evangelical today.
In 1955 additional land was purchased and by 1963 Evangelical had an expanded Sanctuary and a new education building for Sunday School classes.
In April 1968 a conference between the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church was held in Dallas TX. The result of that conference was the merger of the two bodies to become the United Methodist Church.
With this merger Zion Evangelical was faced with a problem. There was already an older and established congregation in Clarksboro – Zion Methodist Church.
The congregation chose Evangelical United Methodist Church to denote and honor the church’s heritage and as a constant reminder of God’s mission for us.
Since that time the Church has purchased additional land for a recreational field, torn down the old parsonage to make room for a larger parking lot, purchased a newer parsonage and purchased a second parsonage for a youth / assistant pastor.
Today Evangelical United Methodist Church continues to do God’s work and follow his commandment in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
Members of the Choir – 1893
Conrad Geitz, president
John Wagner, vice president
Charles Rode, secretary
Harry Frischolz, treasurer
Pastors that have served this charge:
Rev. C. Philipbar – 1879
Rev. S. Stelz – 1880 first assigned pastor
Rev. H.P. Boll 1881
Rev. A. L. Yeakel 1882-1884
Rev. J. Keller 1884-1887
Rev. Rev. J.H. Fenner 1887-1890
Rev. G. Hauser 1890-1893
Rev. Theodore Weber 1893-1897
Rev. J. Etjen 1897-1899
Rev. C. Benseler 1899-1902
Rev. J. M. Hoezler 1902-1905
Rev. F. Kurtz 1905-1906
Rev. D. Bast 1906-1910
Rev. C.C. Weber 1910-1914
Rev. S. K. Meister 1914-1918
Rev. H, P. Boll 1918-1924
Rev. J. G. Hagelstein 1924-1928
Rev. E. A Merian 1928-1934
Rev. F. M. Ohms 1934-1938
Rev. H. Heine 1938-1941
Rev. C. Bast 1941-1942
Rev. Richard Kunz 1942-1949
Rev. A.W. Lucas 1949-1952
Rev. E. Sturzenacker 1952-1960
Rev. Burton Bosworth 1960-1968
Rev. Keith Wise 1968-1972
Rev. A. Keyes Layton 1972-1974
Rev. William A. Davis 1974-1976
Rev. Gary L. Turk 1976-2012
Rev. Thomas F. Austin 2012-2015
Rev. Mark O’Shields 2015-