Manahawkin Baptist Church
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Manahawkin Baptist Church
|Location||N. Main St. (US 9) and Lehigh Avenue, Manahawkin, New Jersey|
|Area||1.5 acres (0.61 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||73001131|
|Added to NRHP||April 3, 1973|
The deed for the first church was dated August 24, 1758, but according to the early settlers of the region, there was a house of worship being used as early as 1745. A building was erected at this time and a tract of land given as a gift of the John Haywood family who had settled in the area in 1743, after leaving their ancestral home in Coventry England. At that time, it was the only church building in the area that is now known as Ocean County. The first missionary, Reverend Thomas Thompson served the area from 1745 - 1751. He was assigned to Stafford Township by the "English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts". A spirit of tolerance was evident in the early church, as it ministered to people of several different Protestant faiths.
In 1770, Captain Thomas Webb is reported to have visited the village, preached at the church, and formed a Baptist Society with nine members. In 1774, when the church called its first pastor, the Reverend H. Crossley, the congregation numbered 19.
During the Revolutionary War, in the "Skirmish at Manahawken", between Captain Rueben Randolphs's Manahawkin Militia and John Beacon's "Band of Pine Pirates" or "Refugees", wounded members of the Manahawkin Militia were treated and cared for in the church. Several veterans of the Revolution are buried in the cemetery surrounding the church along with local citizens at the time and several shipwreck victims. As services had been discontinued during the War, the Baptist Society was not reorganized until 1801.
In 1805, the church baptized forty-four people and the membership increased to sixty-eight. On April 27, 1857 the church was incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. There were five trustees at that time. By 1864, weakening of the walls prompted the appointment of a committee to start remodeling and rebuilding the structure. The rebuilt church with the original within it, was completed under the leadership of Reverend A. H. Folwell. A series of different pastors served in the pulpit of the new church building.
On July 10, 1867 during the pastorate of Reverend E.S. Browe, the dedication service was held. The cost of rebuilding and redecorating the church building cost $2776.00. The records show that all but $200.00 had come from church members and interested friends in the community. The centennial anniversary of the founding as a Baptist Society was held on August 25, 1870. It should be noted that the church building was the only school building in Stafford until after 1800 and the Bible was the only textbook. The Reverend E.L. Stager became pastor in February of 1880, but died 2 years later at the age of 35. There followed various ministers who usually stayed for one year. The first parsonage was built in 1882 near the church on Route 9.
On January 12, 1884, Reverend W.W. Eldridge was unanimously called as pastor. The women of the church cleaned the parsonage each week, as Eldridge was a single man. In September 1885, the Reverend Warren N. Walden was called as pastor of the church and remained in the position until his death in December 1893. The pastoral call was then extended to the Reverend E.F. Partridge in February of 1898. The congregation voted to pay him a yearly sum of $300.00. a new organ was purchased in 1898, and most likely was the one that remained in the church until the Hammond electric organ was purchased in 1948.
1900 saw the resignation of Pastor Partridge and in 1901, the pastoral call was offered to Herman Joorman, who eventually left the church to serve in the mission field.
From 1901 until 1948, many different pastors served the church, with several serving only part time. In 1916, several small rooms and a baptistry were added to the original church structure. Sometime between 1920- 1925 the church spire was struck by lightning and the spire, roof, and bell were damaged. It was at that time the steeple was lowered to its present height. In 1938, church member Jim Shanklin and Jack Kilbert, a seminary student who had just moved to the area, led worship services at 3:00pm on Sunday afternoons. The practice continued until 1943 when Mr Kilbert was unfortunately killed by a mortar round that landed near his tent during the Battle of the Bulge.
Reverend Lauren D Rhine was extended the call to begin the charge here in April 1948. Prior to the call Pastor Rhine, the faithful of the church had entirely redecorated the church. A new roof was installed and the entire building was painted inside and out.On Mothers Day 1948 the bible school was started with 8 present. By 1952 the number had grown to 115. During the summer of 1949, the first daily vacation bible school was started with eight teachers and thirty nine pupils. By 1950, vacation bile school enrollment had increased to twelve teachers and sixty eight pupils. At the annual meeting in 1950, the church voted to become one of the charter churches in fellowship with the Association.
In the winter of 1952, a new parsonage was bought on the corner of Main and Beach Streets in Manahawkin. Reverend and Mrs Lauren Rhine were the first occupants. Beginner and primary school were held each week. The total church membership was fifty-eight and the church supported two foreign missionaries.
From 1952 - 1955, the congregation bought 100 feet of land on Route 9 across from the existing building and proposed to build a 32 foot by 60 foot Sunday school on the property. According to the plans, the building would have abasement and one floor. The building committee chose Bill Shinn, a church member and a local builder, to oversee the construction that was completed with volunteer labor. Mr John Erwin was called to the pulpit on July 6, 1953. Pastor Erwin was the first full time pastor, as he did not need another job to supplement the income provided by the church. IN 1955, according to the records from church treasurer Althea Fredrickson, $3500.00 of the church budget, which totaled, $4984.00, went to the pastors salary.
The Reverend Earl Comfort was called to be pastor in January of 1959. The parsonage was sold for $7500.00 and anew parsonage was built next to the Sunday School building and was dedicated in JUne 1961. Between 1962 and 1965 two pieces of property were acquired on the north side of the original church. Both were used for parking. The congregation decided to build a new sanctuary perpendicular to the Sunday Schiol building.. The addition would have Sunday School rooms in the basement. The church has been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.xxxxa
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