St. John’s United Methodist Church is a Bible believing church with a heart for people. We consider it a privilege to minister to God’s people.
How We Came to Be
The year was 1922— the month was September, the place was West Berlin, NJ and a few faithful men wanted to worship the Lord every Sunday in their own community. Brother Israel Quan, an itinerant preacher suggested that they start a church school and hold the services in the homes of: Edgar Moore,George Hudson, Charles Horde and Larry Purnell. These men were inspired with a hope and a vision for the future, they wanted the pure word of God preached and the sacraments administered within the community of West Berlin, so thus, the path was set and St. John’s Methodist Church was founded.
They started having their service of praise and worship at each other’s homes. In time, Mr. Leonard Heath suggested to Purnell that if he would build a church on the top of the present Fairview Avenue (formerly Leonard Ave.) that he would donate the land to the church. The land was contracted with the following trustees of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Berlin Township: Larry Purnell, Edgar & Mary L. Canon for the sum of one dollar and recorded in the registrar office in Berlin Township, NJ.
The parishioners were close-knit and often fellowshipped together after their services. They even sponsored suppers to raise money for wood for the pot belly stove and kerosene oil for the lamp as there was no central heating or electricity in the little church. In addition to this, they also had sell suppers in order to help pay their living expenses.
St. John’s became a part of a three-church circuit with Davistown and Sattlertown. That was the beginning of almost a century of service to this community by the church. Miss Pauline Stevenson said the little church was also her first classroom—the two room church/school facilitated eight grades, four grade levels in each room. This little church on the hill was an integral part of the community.
From 1922 through 1964 nineteen pastors served this church on the hill in West Berlin, NJ. In 1965, Rev. Calvin R. Woods came and served through June 26, 2011. During the early years of his tenure, Pastor Woods received concurrent charges at St. John’s Methodist in Berlin and Solomon Wesley Methodist in Blackwood, NJ. In 1967 Woods was appointed to Parkside Methodist Church in Camden, NJ and in 1970 he pastored both St. John’s and Parkside Methodist Churches. In 1968 St. John’s became a member of the United Methodist Conference.
In July 2013, Rev. Dr. Stafford J. Miller was appointed to serve at St. John’s and Mt. Zion Wesley United Methodist Churches.
St. John’s is committed to the command of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to be “witnesses unto me in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world”. We invite each of you to share this ministry of love.
We are happy to tell you that, in God’s Kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, and a role to fulfill and this give your life great significance and value.
Let us extend to you a personal invitation to fellowship with us at St. John’s United Methodist Church. We are a friendly, loving church where your whole family will be loved, valued, and nurtured. If we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.