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Our History

The ForumUntil 1844 Methodists in the Red Bank area were served by circuit riders and local preachers, and meetings were held in private homes. In 1822 a building, in what is now called Rumson, was built and became a place of worship for Methodists. In 1832 the "Forum" was built on Mechanic Street in Red Bank, and was used by both Protestants and Catholics. It was also used as a schoolhouse.

In 1844 a Methodist Episcopal society was organized and then incorporated in 1845. Their first church was built on Broad Street, directly opposite Mechanic Street. The cornerstone was laid in October of 1845, and the new church was dedicated in August of 1846. The church was expanded in 1867. In November of 1882 a fire broke out in a nearby alley, and the church was burned to the ground. While in this building, the congregation was served by 18 pastors.

Less than a month after the fire, the congregation bought a plot for a new church on the corner of Broad and Monmouth streets. The new building was dedicated in March of 1884. During the period between 1884 and 1922 the church saw 16 pastors.

First Methodist During this time a second Methodist church was begun. The Grace Methodist Episcopal church was officially organized in May of 1880. Some of its members were from the First Methodist Episcopal. The Grace Methodists built their first church in 1881 on the corner of Broad and Canal streets. A second larger one was built and dedicated in June of 1889 on the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road. In 1920 a movement was begun to reunite with the First Methodist Episcopal church. In February of 1923 the membership voted to reunite, by a vote of 34 to 2.

Eisner mansionIn 1940 the church that had been home since 1884 was condemned. Services were held in the Mechanic Street school, and in the spring of 1941 the congregation began worshipping in the first part of the current church building, the former mansion of J. Lester Eisner.

The current sanctuary was dedicated in November of 1944. In 1950 a religious education annex was built. In 1952 the Squire family moved into the parsonage at 235 Broad. A second parsonage at 257 Broad was bought in 1957. In 1959 the Squire Chapel and more education rooms were added. A third parsonage on Hudson Avenue was purchased in 1969. In 1975 our world-class Hradetsky organ was installed. A Memorial Garden was constructed and dedicated in 1990. In 1995 a capital campaign was conducted to renovate and modernize the facilities. Another capital campaign for air-conditioning and other modernization was completed in 2005.

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