Epworth’s History is in God’s time

United Methodist Church Palmyra NJHistory is ever changing, ever growing, ever born anew, never dying.  We talk about pre-history, history, and recent history, but what does that mean?  What counts as history?  In reality, all that has already happened is history.  Writing this article is history by the time you read it.  Epworth's history is in God's time.  The birth, growth, and changes in Epworth have happened under His guidance.  The road of time has not always been smooth, but it is travelling that road with God that has brought us to today.  Today we are a church, a people who strive to change the lives of others and the community by being invitational, responding to needs, and being God focused.  We are a people who have not forgotten our history, but are not content to live there.

Epworth's history is important in its own right, but we must recognize that Epworth is also an important part of Palmyra's history.  It was the first incorporated entity in Palmyra.  Epworth's beginnings date to 1840, when Palmyra did not yet exist and the community was known as Texas.  The town of Palmyra was laid out in 1850 and only 3 years later, Epworth was incorporated and opened the doors of the first church building.  One of the founding fathers of Epworth, Isaiah Toy, is the man who gave the town its name.

Epworth has played a part in our nation's history too.  During the Civil War, trains carrying troops, wounded, and fallen heroes passed our door.  Our members joined the rest of the country in supporting them any way possible.  Men and women of Epworth have defended our country in every war and military action since our founding.

Men and women have left the walls of Epworth, taking God's love that they learned of and experienced here into ministry around the world.  We have been a source of ministers, missionaries, and Christian educators since our beginning.  Today we not only send our own, but we support others entering the ministry through a scholarship.

Let's not forget personal history.  Over the years, Epworth has been part of the personal history of thousands of people, helping to mold their understanding of God and His love.  Indeed, Epworth has helped mold many people into who they are/were.  I am one of many who can say they have been blessed by God through contact with Epworth.  I grew up here.  I have been challenged and supported here.  Epworth will always be my home church.

It has been my great honor and joy to serve as Epworth's historian since 2007/8.  I have been humbled to walk in the footsteps of Lloyd Griscom and Marvin Snow.  Epworth is a rare and unique church in its support of preserving its history.  While many churches have no cohesive record of their history and offer no support to people who would change it, Epworth has fully supported everything I have sought to do.  Because of this, our records are better protected and more accessible than at any time in our past.  Thank you!

Learning about and sharing Epworth's history with you has been a source of joy for me.  There is so much more to be learned, to be done, to be shared, but I will no longer be here to be part of the process.  Fear not, it will not be forgotten and it will not end.  History is ever changing, ever growing, ever born anew, never dying.

Thank you for your support and for caring about Epworth.  I am moving away with joy, but I will always care about Epworth and will miss you.

With God’s love,
Joy Malessa

Please contact Pastor Soper if you are interested in being a part of the History Committee and continuing its ministry.

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