A Brief History of Colesville United Methodist Church
Methodists were in the Colesville area as early as 1775. Until recently it was believed that the first Methodist Church was built in 1784-85 and located in what is now known as Meadowood. We know that prior to this date a tenement house belonging to one Henry Baggerly was remodeled into a meeting house by him. His son, Everett Baggerly, said his father furnished the first church for worship in Montgomery County. The meeting house was located on his property, a land grant called The Garden, which is west of Kemp Mill Road on property now part of Wheaton Regional Park.
Henry Baggerly was a Methodist, a friend of Bishop Francis Asbury, and was mentioned in Asbury's journal. He attended the Christmas conference in Baltimore in 1784, where the Methodist Church in America was officially formed.
The church in Meadowood was known as The Federal Methodist Episcopal Churchor the Federal Chapel/Meeting House, terms used to describe Methodist Churches during that period.
Our present church, organized in 1866, is an outgrowth or continuation of that church. A group was selected on July 31, 1869 as a "Building Committee of Federal Methodist Episcopal Church, South." On completion of the new church, it was dedicated as Andrew Chapel Methodist Church, South, on November 7, 1869. This church was built on the property now the southwest corner of the Colesville Cemetery fronting on Randolph Road. It was a frame building heated by a wood-burning stove (later, an oil-burning one). It consisted of a single large room with a platform for the pulpit and choir, and a vestibule. The church was used for both Sunday School and church services until 1938.
In 1938, a brick building was erected that would better serve the community. It contained a basement that was divided into classrooms by curtains that could be opened when it was used for a large group. The front end of the basement had a stage that was used for programs and plays. There was also a kitchen used by the ladies to serve dinners. This brick building was erected on the same site as the frame building. With the uniting of three branches of Methodism in 1939, the name was changed to Andrew Chapel Methodist Church.
The Sunday School outgrew the brick building so, around 1953, the house to the east of the present parsonage was bought and used for some of the Sunday School classes. Even then, we used the basements of nearby church members and the parsonage for several classes.
The church and community continued to grow, and it was decided to build again, this time across the road from Andrew Chapel. Property was purchased on the west side of the present parsonage. We held consecration services in the new sanctuary on May 3, 1959. On the following Sunday the first worship services were held. The congregation met in Andrew Chapel, and the choir led a procession to the new church. The names Andrew Chapel and Colesvillewere used interchangeably for the frame and brick church until 1962. At that time it was agreed that a more appropriate name for the new church would be Colesville Methodist Church, and since 1968, Colesville United Methodist Church. The change in 1968 was the result of the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Larger Sunday School facilities became necessary, and in 1961 plans were drawn up to build an educational wing. This wing, including a connecting section called "the Link," was completed in April 1964. After moving the classes from the other buildings, the house east of the parsonage was used again as a home. After much thought, it was decided to tear down the brick building (across from the parsonage) that had served us from 1938. The building was razed in January 1965, and the property became part of the Colesville Cemetery.
Steps were taken in 1965 to end segregation in the churches. Since 1966 the membership of our church has included all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, or economic condition.
Our church today is the result of the dedication of many people who have chosen to follow in the Master's steps: our ministers who - each in his or her own individual way - have seen our need and reached out to minister to us; our trustees; teachers and officers of the church school; the music department with its children's, youth, and adult choirs; and in recent years, the gospel choir; lay leaders; officers and members of the Administrative Council which includes work areas and committee chairpersons; the United Methodist Men; the Ladies' Fellowship Group; and staff members. All these people have contributed to our heritage.
Eveleen H. Carter, Chairperson, Records and History, Colesville UMC
EDITOR'S NOTE: Eveleen Carter was an active member of Colesville UMC from 1929 to her death in 2004. Due greatly to her dedication and efforts over the years, we have hard-bound volumes of church bulletins, newsletters and administrative records going back to 1939, as well as a Heritage Center which displays interesting church memorabilia.