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early churches of New Jersey
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Glassboro, Gloucester County
large frame church, now the Trinity Bible Church, was probably erected
in the 1880s. It is located on a major thorofare, Union Street. There
is a large burial ground adjacent, but the addition to the church
is one of the most tastless, architecturally-ignorant structures
I have encountered. I do not want to know the name of the architect,
but I would appreciate learning the original affiliation of the church
and the date it was erected. A former member of the church, Herb Wescott, contacted me in June 2011, writing that the church
may have been known as the Methodist Protestant Church.The town had an MP church, and an ME church. This breach developed into a class difference. The MP church denounced the ME church as the church of the “swells.” As a boy, that seemed a reasonable qualification. My family was split between the two, my father an MP; my mother, ME. I do not recall when the “MP” was discarded, and it became the “Trinity Protestant Church”. I recall, as a boy, the TPC was considered evangelical, with strict Biblical interpretations. I was “christened” in this church about 1944-45. The Pastor was one William A Robbins. The church was inclusive in a conference based in a small town in Southern New Jersey. We were not to have Catholic friends, play cards, dance, whatever. There were even allusions that it was our “duty” to peer into homes and report instances of unchristian like behavior. Entrance to Heaven was based on a public affirmation of a born again experience, with public confession of sin, and a promise to bring others to God. The Town of Glassboro could not, itself, sustain the church, and it drew widely from Williamstown, Monroe Township and other areas. The “outsiders” were deemed “fanatics” by the core group. When Robbins left, he was succeeded by a younger family man, Howard Keefer, and his pastorate returned the church to a more traditional stance. His pastorate was short lived. I cannot recall the name of his successor, but my sister and I were pulled from the church after a fascinating Sunday evening wherein a converted ex-con, a converted born again, gave testimony of dying, going to Heaven, and then re-sent to Earth to spread the good news. I remember having the Hell scared out of me, but I was assured, that heavenly streets were, indeed, paved with gold. The inhabitant therein were not identifiable by their earthly forms, but family, etc., would i.d. us, and make us comfortable. I began attending the Methodist Church.
When the Methodists merged with the Dutch Reformed church, whatever, becoming the United Methodist Church, it seems to me that a younger group of adults assumed dominance in the old yellow raw-boned church, and it became a more progressive congregation. The Church building itself was enlarged, the old parsonage became a church house, and the Parsonage was moved to a more fashionable house directly across from the sanctuary. The burial grounds date from at least the early 19th century. Many of the earlier burials were families associated with the glass industry that migrated from the Batsto River area as the glass industry there began phasing out.