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The History of the Lusby Charge ...
Methodism advanced in southern Calvert County before the end of the eighteenth century, a chapel being built in the Lusby region as early as 1789.  This date was based on a brief account of the Solomon’s Charge written in 1914.  U.S.A. Heavener the pastor of the Solomons Methodist Episcopal Church wrote in that account that “the old St. John’s Church located midway between Lusby and Sollers was preceded by Richardson’s Chapel built about 125 years ago”.  Also a survey commissioned by the Department of the Secretary of War, of the Patuxent and St. Mary’s rivers in 1824 also identifies a meeting house in the vicinity of the present St. John’s United Methodist Church.  From this information we can deduce that the original St. John’s Church was built around 1829.  Ruins of that church can still be seen today.  This would also indicate that St. John’s Church was probably the oldest Methodist church erected in Calvert County.

The majority of the Methodist membership in Calvert County from 1789 up to the Civil War was African-American.  Blacks and Whites both attended St. Johns until after the Civil War when separate churches were formed.  The ministers who served during that time were itinerant or circuit preachers who would spend time at a particular charge, oversee the services of the churches of that charge, while staying at the homes of its members.  They would then move on to other churches, the mode of travel usually being horseback or horse drawn carriage.  It was not unusual at all to have services in barns to accommodate the people.

In 1869 the White membership of St. Johns withdrew and formed what is now St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.  They became a part of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  How ironic it is that St. John’s is the mother church of St. Paul.  This happened with other congregations.  The White membership of Plum Point UMC started Emmanuel Methodist Church while the Black congregation remained at Plum Point.  As indicated by these examples the African-American congregation “inherited” the original historic church.  Blacks continued to worship in the “old” St. John’s Church until the present church was built—completed in 1882.

In 1880 a group of Christian brothers undertook the task of building the new church.  At that time the tools of the day consisted of a saw, axe, hammer, rule and square.  Determined to build a new church these hard working brothers labored together.  They went into the woods to cut down timber, hewed and carried it to the present location by ox cart.  A few of the men responsible for the construction of St. Johns were Brothers Benjamin Foote, Elijah Johnson, John Frank Gross, William Jefferson and John Gray.  Brother Augustus Hutchins was the head carpenter.  And Elijah Johnson the head Trustee.  The Original rough-hewn floor joist and girders are still supporting us today.

During this time ministers were not sent from the Conference.  However, the church was well supplied with local preachers.  Reverend George Gross a lovely speaker and teacher was the first minister.  He was from Cove Point.  Some of the other lay ministers that followed included John Frank Gross, Augustus Hutchins, and William Jefferson.  Rev. Johnny Jackson was the first minister sent from Conference in 1902.

On February 23, 1885 (NOTE THE DATE!  IT’S THE SAME DAY OF THIS PRESENT CELEBRATION!)  The Trustees of St. John’s Mission Church was granted 1 acre of ground from the Masonic Lodge (Howard Lodge N. 3194 of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows).  This is the property upon which Eastern UMC now stands.  The Trustees included Eli Weems, Major Johnson, Virgil Watts, Benjamin Foote, John H. Johnson, Walter Howard, David Frost, and William Dawkins.  Eastern UMC was built in 1891 and was a part of the St. John’s Charge until 1919.  Eastern became a part of the Lusby Charge in 1920.

In 1920, St. John’s was remodeled to include a bell tower.  In 1933, all of the Methodist Churches in Calvert County were grouped in the Washington District.  In 1939 the Methodist Protestant Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church North, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South were united to form the United Methodist Church.

In 1953 St. John UMC was remodeled to include the rear wings and a basement.

In 1953 Eastern UMC was rebuilt.

The ministers who served us through the period of time when we were under the St. John’s Charge (1902-1919) included: Reverends J.W. Jackson, D.L. Washington, A.L. Jenkins, J. Henry, J.J. Cecil and G.H. Booze.

The ministers that served us under the Lusby Charge (1920 to present) included:  Reverends T.A. Thomas, W.E. Williams, R.L. Ball, G.A. Thomas, R.R. Robinson, L.C. Chase, C.B. LaGrange, L. Sherman Mason, Mervin C. Gray, Burton L. Mack, Samson Y. Nortey, William E. Butler, and Marvin R. Wamble.

Truly it can be said that the growth in our churches is marked by or forbearers.  The members of the Lusby Charge today should recognize what they accomplished and the circumstances of the time.  Great was their faithfulness for their labors.  They were truly servants of the Lord which each one of us today recognize as our relatives who set for us the example to follow in our service to the Lord.

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