Who Are We?
Circuit rider Francis Asbury recorded in his journal, “I set out for Calvert, preached on the way at West River. I spoke to about 100 people.” This was the first visit to the area by a leader of the Methodist Church.
The first historical reference to our church. There were regular reports of class-meeting collections from a group meeting in a small building used for Sunday School and prayer meetings that became known as Swamp Chapel – later becoming West River Church. (Two other Swamp Chapels were to appear during this period.) And then known as West River Mission Church.
October quarterly conference appointed a building committee for West River Mission Church.
A church member heard that the Chapel of St. James the Less of the Episcopal Church (located in Owensville) was not being used and was available. Arrangements were made to acquire the building, but it is not known whether it was given or sold to us.
The church was disassembled, loaded onto an ox cart, and brought to Galesville. It was loaded onto a barge and delivered to Mill Point (located at the end of Steamboat Road) in Shady Side. The church was reconstructed on property donated by Augustus and Martha Lerch. The church was renamed Centenary Methodist Church in recognition of the first hundred years of Methodism in America.
The Ladies Society gave new pews and pulpit furniture. New floors and a cellar to house the furnace were added.
The young men’s class worked nights to remodel the church. Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas donated two acres of land lying between St. Matthews U.M. Church and Centenary U.M. Church.
The bell was given a new belfry and a new steeple pointed to the heavens. The cellar was enlarged; an oil burning steam furnace and modern restrooms were installed; and a larger parking lot was built. New pulpit furniture and a silver communion service were given by the Somerville family, a Manuel Everett Orgatron organ gave music to the House of God; a new fence surrounding the church yard was installed. On October 28, 1941, the Cornerstone was laid – the Pastor at this time was Everett W. Culp.
As the church continued to grow in faith and number, the church became a single charge/station and left the West River Circuit. The Rev. Raymond Cook was the first full-time pastor at Centenary.
Work on the new parsonage began.
A library was established by the Dorcas Circle and dedicated in honor of the Rev. Raymond W. Cooke.
The parsonage was dedicated.
The old chancel area was widened and an educational building was added. In keeping with the colonial architecture, mahogany and white pews were installed. The round stained glass window in memory of Erisby Bast was added by donations and efforts of Esther Hallock of Jesus and the little children was set in front of the chancel area. New red carpet emphasized the central altar with a backdrop of a red dossal cloth. A small kitchen, restroom, classrooms, fellowship hall, and a large foyer were added. The William Thomas Educational Building was dedicated.
Centennial Celebration – Centenary is 100 years old!
On the evening of April 12, 2000 an hour or so following choir rehearsal, an accidental fire destroyed the church. A contractor was almost finished replacing the shingles on the roof over the sanctuary and steeple area. Thanks to the people at Oakland UMC, the Centenary congregation had a place to call “home” and worship during the years of re-building.
Rebuilding begins. Alleluia!!
First service held in the re-built Centenary UMC. Members of most of the area churches were invited and attended. There were so many people that a TV monitor was set up in the fellowship hall where over 45 people watched and participated in the service in addition to the packed sanctuary.
Pastor Emily Skorupinski is a provisional elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference with a Master of Divinity with honors from Wesley Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts from Bucknell University. She was appointed as pastor of Galesville UMC in 2021 after previously serving as pastor at Lansdowne UMC and as a pastoral intern at Pasadena UMC. Prior to answering the call to ministry, she worked in investment operations at T. Rowe Price and BNY Mellon in Owings Mills, MD.
Pastor Emily, her husband Brad, and daughters Elizabeth (3) and Anna (1) are excited to become a part of the Centenary UMC family. They live in Davidsonville.