History of Union Memorial Methodist Church, formerly Whatcoat Methodist Church
The Whatcoat Methodist Church was organized December 10, 1889 by the late Rev. C. G. Keys, pastor of Metropolitan Church. It started in the basement of a private home in the 1000 block of Vincent Street. Sabbath School was begun with Bro. Major Smith, first superintendent.
Sabbath School grew so large until it was necessary to secure larger quarters. A house in the 1000 block of Whatcoat Street was purchased. All partitions were removed from the first floor and the second floor was converted into a hall for the church entertainments.
Rev. Keys sent the following local preachers to supply the work:
- Rev. David Johnson
- Rev. Thomas Garder
- Rev. Matthew Johnson
- Rev. Elijah Sterling
Regular assignments from the Washington Conference began in 1900:
- 1900 – Rev. W. C. Thompson
- 1903 – Rev. William Brown
- 1904 – Rev. R. R. Riggs
- 1907 – Rev. W. N. Holt
- 1908 – Rev. Alfred Young
- 1914 – Rev. Singleton Hughes
- 1915 – Rev. John A. Holmes
- 1921 – Dr. Pezzaria O’Connell
- 1922 – Rev. R. F. Coates
- 1925 – Rev. M. J. Naylor
- 1929 – Rev. J. D. Carroll
- 1932 – Rev. T. S. Tildon
- 1940 – Rev. J. H. Jenkins
- 1941 – Rev. A. J. Mitchell
- 1942 – Rev. V. T. Key
- 1947 – Rev. S. W. Fields
- 1953 – Rev. N. B. Carrington
Each of the above mentioned pastors rendered some valuable contribution to the church. The late Reverend Alfred Young who preached the famous “Rail Road Sermon” during the early part of the century was quite a figure around Baltimore and drew large crowds to the church through his spectacular preaching. He called the church “King’s Hill”.
During the pastorate of the late Rev. R. F. Coates, the church had a disastrous fire, but was soon rebuilt.
In 1950, during the pastorate of the Rev. S. W. Fields, and under the administration of Bishop A. P. Shaw and District Superintendent Kelly Jackson, the church moved to Madison and North Avenues in the old Babcock Memorial Church. The name was changed to Union Memorial Methodist Church.
With the opening of the large area in West Baltimore to colored people, as far north as Gwynns Falls Parkway, Franklin Street on the south, Bentalou Street on the east and Franklintown Road on the west, Bishop Edgar A. Love ordered a survey made. This survey was conducted by the Rev. Samuel Carter and revealed that 90 per cent of the area had colored residents. Three white schools had already been turned over to the colored children, and were even then overcrowded. The survey further revealed that there was no colored church in the area.
Bishop Love began negotiations with the Harlem Park Methodist Church for the purchase of their building at Harlem and Warwick Avenues which was for sale. He further solicited the aid of the Baltimore Methodist Churches in the endeavor to relocate one of the churches in the Harlem Park edifice. As a result, the congregation of Union Memorial which had been in the Madison Avenue edifice only three years, decided to change its location to the Warwick and Harlem Avenue location. The Quarterly Conference under the leadership of the late Dr. Ely Lofton, District Superintendent, and S. W. Fields, pastor directed this move.
During this same brief period, Bishop Love transferred the Rev. N. B. Carrington from Catonsville charge to be pastor of the Union Memorial Church.
The Board of Missions of the Methodist Church assisted the Bishop to the extent of lending Union Memorial Church $50,000 and giving an outright donation of $10,000 provided the Washington Conference would raise a similar amount within thirty days. Bishop Love called an adjourned session of the Conference July 10, 1953. The conference not only accepted the responsibility of raising the $10,000 but also assumed the further responsibility of $90,000 on the project.
Within the thirty-day period Union Memorial Church raised its apportionment of $2,000 and the Conference its $8,000. The building at North and Madison Avenues was sold to the Union Temple Baptist Church. On October 18, 1953, Union Memorial Methodist Church held its first service in the new edifice, with Bishop Love, preaching the first sermon.
From that Sunday on people have been joining the church and a check up after two months showed an increase of sixty children and sixty-five adults. New members are joining every week. The goal set for Easter Sunday is one hundred new members and $1,000. Services will be held during Lent on Wednesday nights 8 to 9 p.m.
The pastor, the Rev. N. B. Carrington is also secretary of the Washington Annual Conference, appointed by Bishop Love at the 1953 session. Rev. Carrington is a product of Baltimore, and likes to inform the people that he played all over that area before there were any houses or churches built there.
He entered the Washington Conference in 1924 and has held three other pastorates, Gettysburg, Pa., one year; New Market Md., six years; Catonsville, Md., twenty-two years.
The picture on this page shows that he likes Baptizing children and he boasts of having held more than a hundred babies in his arms.
The church plans a community program, and the building with its gymnasium, educational department, social hall, and sanctuary are at the disposal of the community. Plans for a nursery school or day nursery are being worked out and should be ready for opening in the very near future.
The above article was reported in the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper dated February 27, 1954
Union Memorial United Methodist Church:
Union Memorial Methodist Church opened its doors at the Harlem Avenue edifice on October 18, 1953. In 1968 and with the merger of the United Evangelical Brethren Church and the Methodist Church, Union Memorial Methodist Church became known as Union Memorial United Methodist Church.
On December 10, 1989, Union Memorial United Methodist Church celebrated 100 years of commitment, dedication and service to building up God’s kingdom in the church community. December 14, 2014 was a memorable day in the life of Union Memorial United Methodist Church as she celebrated her Quasquicentennial Anniversary (125 years). Union Memorial continues to be a shining beacon of love sharing God’s Word to all willing to hear.
For the last 25 years, only three pastors have served God and the congregation:
- Rev. Dr. Lovell Parham
- Rev. Esther M. Holimon
- Rev. William E. Butler
Rev. Dr. Lovell Parham, the only pastor to serve more than one term as spiritual leader, served Union Memorial from 1968 – 1975 and again from 1989 – 2000. Rev. Esther M. Holimon, the only female pastor to lead in the recent years, served from 2000 – 2013. Rev. William E. Butler is the current pastor and has served since July 2013.
Facing many trials that reached triumphant victories, it is obvious that the Lord has continued to bless the church and its ministry. Since 1990, the church successfully completed many major renovations including:
- Installation of air conditioning 1998
- Pointing up project in 2005
- Kitchen upgrade in 2008
- Sanctuary roof replacement in 2008
- Educational building roof replacement in 2010
- Replacement of oil furnace to gas furnace in 2011
- Mold eradication in 2012
Although there is still much to be done, the church awaits God’s direction.
Since 1990, Union Memorial Church has continued to house the neighborhood community organization, which meets monthly. In addition to the neighborhood meetings, the church housed a community “7-11” group, whose members met to support one another’s efforts to beat substance abuse. For several years, the church was the meeting site for the Thomas McLloyd Memorial VFW Unit.
As an integral part of the community, Union Memorial stands firm in her commitment to God’s people. In December, 2007, Pastor Holimon, Roderick Harden and Cathy Harden met to formulate plans to create the Discipleship Adventure Team. The Team of 25 individuals became very active in the community. Forging throughout the neighborhood, the Team members publicized a food giveaway and in November 2009, the Pastor prayed with the community members assembled and the Team gave away 25 bags of food. In May 2010, the Team again invited the community into the church for a light meal and a food, clothing, shoes and Bible give-away. And for a third year, bags of food were given to members of the community. For two months, several families in the community were invited into the church for an evening meal.
In order to further its efforts in the community and the world, Union Memorial United Methodist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. William E. Butler, has adopted God’s vision for the church.
Chronological History of Whatcoat Methodist Church/Union Memorial United Methodist Church
12/10/1889 – Whatcoat Methodist Episcopal Church (one of four missions listed in the record of the Orchard Street Church) was organized by the late Rev. C. G.Keyes. Housed in the rented basement of a house located in the 1000 block of North Vincent Street, the mission began as a Sunday School. Sunday School grew so large until it was necessary to secure larger quarters. A house in the 1000 block of Whatcoat Street was purchased
1901 – An ordained preacher, Rev. W. C. Thompson, was appointed by the Washington Conference as the first regular pastor of Whatcoat and Mt. Zion missions
1902 – Whatcoat separated from Orchard Street (Metropolitan Church) and Mt. Zion Mission
1903 – Whatcoat became a station with its own minister, William C. Brown
1904 – The congregation purchased the building on the southwest corner of Pine and Franklin Streets (formerly the Chatsworth Church South) for $10,000
1925 – Disastrous Fire – Members worshipped at neighboring churches until repairs were made
1935 – Another disastrous fire – Constantly in debt, there was a struggle to pay mortgages. The Hooper Sisters, two wealthy sisters who held a mortgage on the church, provided financial assistance. Rev. Julius Carroll was the pastor
2/12/1950 – The church moved to a new location, the former Babcock Memorial Church, at North and Madison Avenues. Rev. Stephen W Fields was the pastor
3/1950 – The old Whatcoat Church was leased to Mt. Hope Baptist Church
7/1950 – The African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church, Inc., of the State of Delaware, purchased the property at Pine and Franklin Streets. The Church was later demolished to make way for the Franklin Street expressway
1953 – The congregation agreed to leave its North and Madison home after three years, to take up residence at a new location on Harlem and Warwick Avenues (the former Harlem Park Methodist Church). The property at North and Madison was sold to Union Temple Baptist Church
9/28/1953 – Whatcoat Methodist Church was renamed Union Memorial Methodist Church
10/18/1953 – Union Memorial Methodist Church held its first service in the new edifice. Rev. N. B. Carrington was the pastor and Bishop Edgar A Love preached the first sermon
1968 – Name changed to Union Memorial United Methodist Church when the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical Brethren Church