Held at: Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church [Contact Us]235 N. Fourth Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Methodism is a protestant Christian faith based in the teachings of John Wesley (1703-1791), who preached "practical divinity," emphasis on Christian living, and putting faith and love into action. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1784 in Baltimore, Maryland with Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke as its first bishops and held its first general conference in 1792. In May of 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church; the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the Methodist Protestant Church united to form the Methodist Church (U.S.). In 1946 the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (New constitution) and the Evangelical Church united to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968 the Methodist Church (U.S.) and the Evangelical United Brethren Church united, forming the United Methodist Church (U.S.).
In 1881, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Ardmore, PA) had several members who lived in nearby Elm, PA (today known as Narberth, Montgomery County) and who wished to establish a congregation in their own community. Under the auspices that it would be part of the Lutheran Church, land and materials were secured to build a church, but due to a setback, this plan was cancelled in 1882. In 1884, these same residents of Elm decided to try again, but this time they decided to establish their congregation as part of the Methodist Church. The first Board of Trustees was organized in November of that same year, and the church became part of the Merion Square Circuit. The name Beth-Raffen Methodist Episcopal Church was selected in 1885 and its first constitution was adopted in 1886.
After receiving a donation in 1889 from one of the church members, a lot on the corner of Price and Essex Avenues was purchased and construction of a new church building began. When construction was almost complete in 1893, the structure was destroyed by a fire and had to be re-built. The new church building was dedicated in 1895, the same year that Beth-Raffen's charter was approved. In 1897 the congregation changed its name, reflecting the new name of their community, to Narberth Methodist Episcopal Church, and became a separate station (a single congregation, no longer part of the Merion Square Circuit) under the Philadelphia Conference. In 1929, a new church building, designed by Alexander Mackie Adams, was erected and remained in use until the United Methodist Church of Narberth was discontinued in 2013. After the discontinuance, some, if not all, members transferred to St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr, PA.
White, Dorothy E. "Historical Background." 1951. Document viewed in collection.
This collection, dating from 1840 to 2011, consists largely of membership and vital records such as baptisms, marriages, deaths, and transfers; and minutes of the Board of Trustees, Official Board, Quarterly Conference, membership meetings, and Building Committee. Also included are a small amount of photographs, anniversary programs, correspondence, historical materials, directories, bulletins, and other documents. A folder-level inventory for the collection is available.
A majority of the records in this collection are from Narberth United Methodist Church and its various predecessors (including St. Paul's Lutheran Chapel), but there is also a small amount of materials from Merion Square Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as Lower Merion Methodist Episcopal Church and Gladwyne United Methodist Church in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania).
Some church records at the Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, particularly membership and vital records, are available in digital form through Ancestry.com or on microfilm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and/or the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.
The Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church is the repository for records of member churches when they close.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church directly for more information.
- Merion Square Methodist Episcopal Church (Lower Merion, Pa.)
- United Methodist Church (U.S.)
- United Methodist Church of Narberth (Narberth, Pa.)
- Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Historical Society of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church for information about accessing this collection.