Broadway United Methodist Church Cemetery

This post will be a two-parter. I will hopefully get back to the area very soon so I can include the church.

First off, I would like to thank Pastor Evan Rohrs-Dodge in responding to an email asking if the church is affiliated with the cemetery down the road. He gave me a little history of the original church, which was located on the grounds of the cemetery. There is a large, empty square-shaped section in the cemetery, and he confirmed that is where the original church once sat. We emailed back and forth, and he was so kind to mail me a booklet about the history of the church. It was printed in 1975, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the building of the present church.

The booklet explains the first conference in the U.S. of the Methodist Church was held Christmas Eve in 1784. Methodism came to Broadway in 1843, just 59 years later! Several men got together to plan the building of their church, how to raise funds, and elected a Board of Trustees.

100 years later, new plans were laid to build a new church building. However, it was not an easy task to raise funds. I admire everyone’s determination who was involved, as it took 12 years finally have the new church building open its doors on May 1, 1955 for the first service there. Actually, there were 3 services held that day with a total of 700 who attended. The booklet explains many pledges, sales, suppers, etc. were done out of faith and love for their church and community. Unfortunately, this not something we all see often enough today.

So I bet you’re wondering what happened to the original church, as I was. The building was sold in 1957 (to help pay off the debt of the remaining balance of the building of the new church) to a contractor, with the agreement that after 10 years, the building be torn down. 10 years later, the building was dismantled “piece by piece so as to avoid damage to the surrounding cemetery.” On May 3, 1964, the debt was finally paid in full, with 2 services held that day in celebration.

The booklet ends with a list of church organizations, prior ministers, and a members of the church at the time.

Needless to say again, I would like to go back soon and take pictures of the new church. I am in awe of the history and those who worked so hard for what they believed in and loved. Without getting too sentimental, it truly is remarkable and inspires me to never give up. Even viewing the church website, you sense the feeling of community.

Since I only have pictures of the cemetery, I’ll describe what I found. Unfortunately, there are a few smashed headstone and quite a few that are toppled-over. However, the landscaping is still being kept. There are quite a few members of the Willever and Baylor families resting here. You can also find a few Civil War veterans and, unfortunately, children. It’s kind of sweet though, that a little girl named Viola is buried where little purple flowers happen to grow.

Once again, thank you SO very much, Pastor Evan. I enjoyed reading the booklet and am grateful that you sent it to me. I hope you and your congregation enjoy this post. Of course, I also hope all readers enjoy this post too. Not only did I learn about this specific church history, but also a little bit about  Methodist history.



















10 thoughts on “Broadway United Methodist Church Cemetery

  1. Thank you for the post. The Methodist Church in America actually began slightly before the 1784 date submitted by your Pastor friend and helper. 1760 is the year that two locations, Maryland and New York, report early Methodist involvement. In 1771, a twenty-six year old, Francis Asbury, (Asbury Park, NJ is named after him), came to Philadelphia to spread the Methodist message. Asbury was not the first Methodist from England or Ireland, the 1760 arrivals were. But with Asbury, his work had the most enduring effect.

    For more on Francis Asbury. I would like to invite you to the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on the life of Francis Asbury opens with the book, Black Country. The opening novel in this three-book series details the amazing movement of John Wesley and George Whitefield in England and Ireland. The book richly brings to life the life-changing effects on a Great Britain steeped in addiction to gin and illiteracy. Black Country also details the Wesleyan movement’s effect on the future leader of Christianity in the American colonies, Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is Again, thank you, for the post.

  2. Thanks so much for your input/information, Al. I’ll definitely be checking out the website you told me about. As far as the dates go, I very well could have typed them incorrectly.

    Also, I was in Belvidere this morning and came across Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Would that be names for John Wesley? (Probably not, but funny you mention his name today.)

    Thank you for reading the post, and once again, for the information. I look forward to to reading the website.

    • No problem on the date mix up. Happens to me all the time. On the Wesley Chapel in Belvidere, I would guess it is named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in England. His efforts sending men like Francis Asbury to America inspired many towns to name their Methodist chapels after him. Maybe you can do some digging around locally, (no pun intended). I noticed online that the cemetery is located near some buildings. Perhaps one of these buildings could offer a clue. Have fun and bless someone.

  3. Thanks for the blog post! I sent it along via email to many of the Broadway congregants today. Al is correct regarding dates; 1784 stands out as the official founding of the Methodist Episcopal Church (a predecessor body of The United Methodist Church) at the “Christmas Conference” in Baltimore, MD at Lovely Lane Chapel.

    150by70, the Asbury United Methodist Church, just a few miles south of Broadway, also has an old cemetery and is so named for Bishop Francis Asbury. He was very active in spreading Methodism in NW/Central NJ in the latter 18th century, and that particular church is so named for him since he laid the cornerstone of the original building (which is no longer standing). Perhaps that can be added to your travel itinerary!


    • I’m so sorry for date mix-up! But thank you for (both) for correcting me. I am writing the cemetery down as I type. Definitely would like to check it out.

      • I would interest in anything Asbury. I am currently finalizing the second book in the Asbury Triptych. Beggar Bishop features much about early New Jersey, (East and West Jersey to be more accurate).

      • I’m in Bergen County. Unfortunately, there is not a strong sense of historical preservation as it seems out in Western NJ.

        Haven’t gotten a chance to check out the website yet, but I am looking forward to it.

  4. Al, send me an email and let me know what particular Asbury stuff you’re interested in. One of my best friends is an archivist working for the United Methodist archives housed at Drew University in Madison NJ. I can get you in contact with folks who can help you with research requests.

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