In March 1736, John Wesley, an Anglican priest from England, came to the colony of Georgia as a missionary with his musically inclined brother, Charles. Both returned to England shortly but led a religious revival out of which grew the Methodist Church that focused on "methods" for attaining personal piety and social holiness.
Without surprise, the American Revolution affected the connection that the early Methodists had with England so in 1784, the Methodist Episcopal Church of the Americas was created. This Protestant denomination was led by preachers who constantly traveled between towns on horseback to lead worship and offer Communion thus gaining the titles, "circuit riders."
On March 20, 1823, Manning Force, a Methodist circuit rider, conducted religious services in a schoolhouse for five Methodists in Pine Brook, NJ. Within twenty years, the congregation grew to include almost 80 members who decided to build a church. On September 14, 1843, the first Methodist Episcopal Church at Pine Brook was completed and dedicated. This was the first of three church buildings in our history including the second in 1874 and the third in 1961, one year after our first full-time pastor was appointed.
The Lum-Eastburn Memorial Window
In 1858, another Methodist Episcopal congregation was growing and began to build a church at the cost of $1,860.87. The first burial lots were sold on March 20, 1860 for $5.00 to five of the trustees. By 1905, the church became known as the "Whitehall Methodist Church of Towaco, New Jersey." On April 16, 1933, the Lum-Eastburn Memorial Window was dedicated with its theme of "immortality" showing an angel holding the Scriptures to John 11:25, "I am the resurection and the life." After having sixty ministers, all of them students at Drew University, our first full-time pastor was hired in 1957. This congregation thrived with the addition of an education building, a handbell choir and a number of small groups including United Methodist Women, the Couples' Club and the Methodist Men's Club.
On January 5, 1972 the Pine Brook Methodist Episcopal Church and Whitehall Methodist Episcopal Church joined together to create Montville United Methodist Church.
Seven years later, the Montville United Methodist Nursery School (MUMNS) opened in the Education Building on May 29, 1979 which served the local community for over three decades under the leadership of Renee Gilbert. It started with 16 students enrolled and grew to include over 100 students providing a service to the community and exposure for the church.
Today we are an active congregation with a praise band in worship, new small groups developing and ample opportunities to give or be involved in hands-on mission work.
You can learn more about the history of our United Methodist denomination here.