The History of Mount Calvary United Methodist Church
Redden Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1871 under the direction of Reverend Joshua Brinkley.
The same church edifice was made larger under the administration of Reverend Daniel J. Waters (1872). During Reverend Waters' administration, he had the rear wall removed and a recess pulpit put in, which gave a little more room.
Redden was a very small church when Reverend William Johnson became pastor (1875).
Rev. Hopkins In the summer of 1908, Redden Methodist Episcopal Church was completely torn down, and Mt. Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church) was built. The new two-story structure was built, which was a very much-enlarged building. This was done under the administration of Reverend J.W. Fenderson.
Mount Calvary had its corner stone laid on the fourth Sunday in July of 1908 by the Reverend John H.B. Hubbard of Milford, Delaware. The contents of the stone are a Discipline of the Methodist. Episcopal Church, a list of the officers of the church, and the names of the contractors.
A new organization was formed and Mount Calvary Church was taken from the Bridgeville Circuit at the Annual Conference that convened in Cambridge in 1909.
Reverend Dr. D.W. Henry became the next pastor (1914). The mortgage was lifted. The old parsonage was sold and a new parsonage was built.
The next pastor was Reverend F.O.T. Laws and under his administration, the tabernacle ground was purchased, the heater in cellar of the church was installed and the electric light system was put in the parsonage.
Through the efforts of Reverend E. M. Hurley, the tabernacle was built. It served as a very pleasant place for religious worship services for adults, and as a religious training center for younger groups.
Reverend Daniel G. Waters (1937-1946), through his untiring efforts, skill, zeal and courage "to do and dare" began to rebuild the beautiful structure by digging out the cellar. The mortgage was also paid under Reverend Waters' leadership.
During Reverend Charles E. Kiah's tenure (1946-1959), asbestos shingles was put on the parsonage, an oil heater was installed in the church, and a new gas range was purchased for the kitchen. Asbestos shingles were also put on the church. Three and one fifth acres of land was purchased for a new cemetery (Middleford Cemetery).
Mt. Calvary's Fellowship Hall was built during the administration of Reverend Calvin Byrd (1972-1977). Several women of the church (Alice Skinner, Glendora Jackson, Myrna Neal, Corine Crockett, Mary Taylor, Helen Carey and Estella Price established a building fund. The Building Fund Committee contracted Mr. Nelson B. Crockett as the architect to draw up the plans for the Fellowship Hall. Mr. Crockett drew up the plans and presented it to the Building Fund Committee. The Building Fund Committee accepted the plans. The Building Fund Committee began a vigorous campaign to raise the necessary funds to build the Hall. They sponsored many programs to meet their goal. The Committee employed Mr. Crockett to construct the Hall. Mr. Crockett contracted several men of the church to work on the construction of the Hall. The men were Bradford Cannon, Emory Nichols, Charles Smack Sr, Ernest Robins Sr, Thelton Smith, James Taylor Sr., Reverend Dennis from Vienna, Maryland, Olin Lee Brummell from John Wesley in Seaford, Reverend Charles Smith Sr. of Williams Chapel Church in Bridgeville, Reverend Albert Dredden and James Evans Sr. from Trinity United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, The Briggs Heating Company from Federalsburg, Maryland installed the heating system. The men refused payment for their labor, only asking to be fed a hot meal during the lunch hour. Many of the women of Mt. Calvary donated food and served the workers during the lunch hour. Mr. Louis Grinage installed the carpet and linoleum. The Hall was dedicated in 1976. Masonic members of the surrounding communities sealed the papers in the corner stone.
Mt. Calvary experienced our first female pastor when Rev. Tina Miles was appointed to the Bridgeville Charge on July 1, 1985. Under her administration the old parsonage on North Cannon Street was sold and a new parsonage was built on the old tabernacle grounds on Church Street.
Rev. Hopkins Our small congregation has seen many changes. On July 1, 2006, Rev. Baron N. Hopkins Sr. was appointed to pastor at Mt. Calvary.
In 2007, under the leadership of Pastor Baron N. Hopkins Sr, Trustee President Hollis Smack Sr and Secretary-Treasurer, Mary E. Jones, a handicap ramp was added to the church which allowed the church to become accessible to those with disabilities.
On July 11, 2007, one of the most dedicated members of Mt. Calvary and the Father of the Church, Philip N. Davis, died and bequeathed to the Trustees of Mt. Calvary his apartment building which was a rental property.
In 2008, the dirt and gravel parking lot was paved to allow for more parking and easier access to the church. Mt. Calvary now has parking for the general congregation and guests, as well as handicapped parking for those with disabilities. This was all done through the hard work and determination of Pastor Baron N. Hopkins, Trustee Hollis Smack Sr. and Secretary-Treasurer of the Trustees, Mary E. Jones.
In 2009, under the leadership of Pastor Hopkins and newly elected Trustee President Mary E. Jones, central air conditioning was added to the Fellowship Hall to ensure our congregation and guests are comfortable in winter and summer. New, energy efficient windows were installed in the Fellowship Hall. In addition, new fencing around the parking lot was installed and lights were added to the ceiling fans.
We have purchased new drums, a keyboard, computer, fax, email, internet, big screen TV, projector, screen, dvd/tape recorder, video camera and other tools to help us spread the word of God while holding fast to the traditional teachings through Bible Study.
We know that with our faith in God, we will see growth and prosperity for Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church. As the word of God is proclaimed, lives are being saved and new members are joining our fellowship.
To God be the glory for the marvelous things He has done. We thank God for those whose shoulders we now stand. We thank God for those in leadership positions as they guide us into a new era of praising and worshiping God.
We are a church purposed to educate, equip and empower the people of God to operate in life and in ministry in a spirit of excellence.
Mt. Calvary and the Delaware Conference
Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church was a part of the old Delaware Conference, which was formed in 1800s to authorize the ordaining of colored men as deacons. In 1808 the quarterly conference was given the right to recommend local preachers for ordination subject to the examination of character and approval of the Annual Conference. The Delaware Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1864 under a directive of the General Conference of that year which designated the name, the boundaries, and the qualifications for membership. The resolution allowed the "bishop to organize into one or more annual conferences such local elders as have traveled two or more years under a presiding elder, and shall be recommended by a quarterly conference, and by at least ten elders who are members of an annual conference.
On July 28, Bishop Edmund S. Janes met the twenty-seven colored preachers who had been traveling within the bounds of the Philadelphia and New Jersey Annual Conferences in little, unattractive John Wesley Chapel (now Tindley Temple) in South Philadelphia. The following day, the Bishop having found ten preachers eligible, declared them to be the Delaware Annual Conference. The Delaware Conference was small and its geographical area was limited. It should be understood that the main reason for organization of the Conference and its continuation for a century was race.
Local preachers rendered a great service to the people of the Delaware Conference. The local preacher was from the people and he lived among the people. He knew them and their weaknesses. If he had a will to go straight and a teachable mind, he proved himself on the way up. He was used as a supply, and in that way he demonstrated whether he merited admission into the Conference as a traveling preacher. One hundred seventy-eight of the 1,978 local preachers were admitted to the ranks of itinerancy during the history of the conference. In its 101 years, the Delaware Conference had 72 presiding elders and district superintendents. In June 1964, the Delaware Conference, under the permissive legislation of the General Conference transferred to the New York and Newark conferences nineteen churches with their pastor. On April 28, 1965, in preparation for the transfer of the remaining 239 charges and pastors to the New Jersey, Peninsula, and Philadelphia conferences, Bishop John Wesley Lord declared the Delaware Annual Conference liquidated. Thus, race as expressed in Methodist Conference organizations disappears, and our Methodism moves on toward the more excellent way of oneness in Christ's church.
The history of the Delaware Annual Conference spanned 101 significant years in the life of our United Methodist Church. It was the first black Conference to be organized under the directive of General Conference and the first one to voluntarily merge with white conferences. It set high standards of faithfulness to Jesus Christ as it witnessed to the world the larger church of the power of God in a bitter society.
On July 1, 1965 the merger of the Delaware Annual Conference and the Peninsula Annual Conference became effective. Throughout the history of Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church from the old Delaware Conference until our present Peninsula-Delaware Conference, we have been privileged to be lead by dynamic and God fearing Pastors. Their names are listed on the following page. Through their leadership and devotion to spreading God's word, we know that the best is yet to come for our church.
- Former Pastors
- Joshua Brinkley - 1871 (Founder)
- Daniel J. Waters - 1872
- William H. Johnson - 1875
- A.R. Shockley - 1878-1879
- G.T. Townsend - 1883-1886
- C. H. Hall - 1888-1890
- Robert G. Waters -
- G.B. Coleman - 1891-1893
- Littleton Robbins - 1894-1896
- J.M. Whittington - 1901-1902
- J.W. Parker - 1904-1906
- J.W. Fenderson - 1908
- William Johnson -
- D.W. Henry - 1914 -
- F.O.T. Laws
- E.M. Hurley
- B.B. Carson - 1919-1924
- J. R. Waters
- Daniel G. Waters - 1937-1946
- Charles Kiah - 1946-1959
- Roland Grant - 1959-1961
- Carlton Parker - 1962-1967
- Charles L. Willis - 1969-1971
- Calvin C. Byrd - 1972-1977
- George Taylor - 1977-1978
- John Shockley - 1978
- Gary L. Meekins - 1978-1980
- Donald Hamilton - 1980-1982
- Paul R. Hilton - 1982-1983
- Ashley Maxell - 1984-1985
- Tina M. Miles - 1985-1994
- Homer W. Minus - 1994-1996
- Sherrol James - 1996-1997
- Purnell A. Moody - 1997-2004
- Marie Robinson - 2004-2005
- Terrance Briggs - 2005-2006
- Baron N. Hopkins, Sr. - 2006-2012
- Rev. Gary L. Meekins - 2022
- Rev. Frances Fitchett - 2022-Present