History

Who Are the Methodists?
Our Heritage
Our Connection

Who Are the Methodists?

When the Methodist movement began in England about 275 years ago the followers of this movement desired to have an experience with God.

They experienced God through a strong personal faith which then led them to communal action. Reforming prisons, building schools and reaching those who had been ignored by the church were all hallmarks of the Methodist movement as led by the Spirit of God.

Today you will find United Methodists gathering in small groups to encourage and challenge each other in their faith. You will find us on mission trips throughout the world and you will find us at our local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

If you would like to have a deeper experience with God through Jesus Christ and if you would like to make a difference by serving your community then you are already a Methodist!

 

Our Heritage

Cokesbury Memorial  United  Methodist  Church is a caring and welcoming congregation with a  storied past. The church grounds are the site of the first Methodist college in the world, and Cokesbury has the oldest ongoing Methodist congregation in Harford County still worshipping in its original location.

Abingdon Methodist Chapel

Cokesbury was first called the Abingdon Methodist Chapel. It was built on land purchased in 1782 from John Paca, the brother of the Governor of Maryland. By 1784 it was opened for worship. This Methodist church has served its community faithfully for more than 200 years and is the oldest Methodist church in Harford County that rests on its original foundation with an on-going service to its parishoners.

Chapel Fire

The original church of 1784, a partially brick, mostly wooden structure, burned in 1896. Immediately, upon its original foundation, the present little brick church was erected. Services were held in the autumn of 1896; concern for the community at no time was interrupted; and the church today serves the needs of the extended Abingdon community.

Cokesbury  College

cokesbury-collegeThe first Methodist college in the world was built in the area now occupied by Cokesbury's cemetery. Two of John Wesley's hardest working ministers in America since 1772, Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke, had long dreamed of establishing a college for the training of Methodist ministers in America. They were given permission to do so and chose Abingdon for this honor. On June 5, 1785, the cornerstone was laid, and Asbury, the newly appointed bishop at the famous Christmas Conference of 1784 at Lovely Lane Church in Baltimore, delivered the Foundation Stone sermon.

Abingdon was chosen as the site of the college for a number of reasons: The community was on the main post road between Baltimore and Philadelphia, Maryland was in the center of the thirteen original colonies, a working church was on the premises, and the site itself "on a grassy knoll overlooking the Bay (the arm now known as Bush River) was a most pleasant and pleasing place."

College Fire

However, the college had a very short life, for it was burned to the ground in December of 1795. Only the brick foundation of the college and the tower bell were left intact among the ruins, and there was no attempt to rebuild the college in Abingdon. A smaller college was built on Pratt Street in Baltimore but it burned in 1797 and no further plans for a college were made. It is worthy of note, and indeed is almost miraculous, that the little Abingdon chapel -- only 40 feet from the college -- did not burn when the college did.

Abingdon should be justly proud of its place in the history of Methodism. Cokesbury Memorial UMC is living testimony to the dreams of Asbury and Coke in proclaiming and spreading the Methodist faith as a part of God's plan for us.

For more information, see the Global Commission on Archives and History page at http://www.gcah.org/Heritage_Landmarks/Cokesbury.htm 

 

 

Our Connections

CokesburyMemorial United  Methodist  Church is part of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, which is made up of about 650 churches in Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling presides over the Conference.

Of the eight districts of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, we belong to the Baltimore-Suburban District, which is made up of about 100 churches in Baltimore County and Harford County. The District Superintendent is Rev. Ann LaPrade.

The Baltimore-Suburban District, together with the Baltimore-Metropolitan District, make up the Baltimore Region of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.