"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."
Newtonville United Methodist Church
When the Methodist movement in America was barely 33 years old, seven people gathered on the last day of January, 1799, in what was called South Watervliet. They voted to build a meeting house near the north-east corner of the present-day County airport; completed in 1802 at a cost of $550.00, and located at the fork of Sicker and Old Niskayuna Roads. About the same time, two other churches were being built. One was located in the town of Watervliet and was dedicated in 1831 at a cost of $960.00. The other church held its services of worship in the Loudonville schoolhouse.
In 1828, a local preacher named Selah Ireland withdrew from the Watervliet church and organized an "Independent Methodist Episcopal Church" at the "Crossroads," now the present site of our church. In 1858 it was decided that these churches of the circuit should merge into the one located at the present site. On June 2nd, 1859, the merger was completed and called Asbury Chapel.
The church grew until it exceeded its physical limitations, necessitating a new building in 1892. This new structure, built for a cost of $11,150.00 and paid for in 3 years, was called "Asbury Methodist Church" and is our existing sanctuary building today. In 1916, the church was incorporated under the name First Methodist Episcopal Church of Newtonville.
As the years passed, many additions and improvements were made to our facilities, including building a Church School wing in 1959, and our Parsonage in 1963. In 1968, our name changed slightly when our denomination became known as The United Methodist Church as the result of nationwide merger between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Today, we are the living legacy of countless spirits; our church is much more than the building they bequeathed to us. We hope you find these people called "Methodists" an inspiration and blessing to you.
History of the United Methodist Church
A number of intenet resources exist that help trace the history of Methodism. The UMC.org website includes a chapter by chapter history of the Methodist movement its inception with the Wesley Brothers through the current day. The following links will take you to specific chapters at that website:
Roots (1736-1816) | Español
The United Methodist Church shares a common history and heritage with other Methodist and Wesleyan bodies. The lives and ministries of John Wesley (1703–1791) and of his brother, Charles (1707–1788), mark the origin of their common roots.
The Churches Grow (1817-1843) | Español
The Second Great Awakening was the dominant religious development among Protestants in America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Through revivals and camp meetings sinners were brought to an experience of conversion. Circuit riding preachers and lay pastors knit them into a connection.
The Slavery Question and Civil War (1844-1865) | Español
John Wesley was an ardent opponent of slavery. Many of the leaders of early American Methodism shared his hatred for this form of human bondage. As the nineteenth century progressed, it became apparent that tensions were deepening in Methodism over the slavery question.
Reconstruction, Prosperity, and New Issues (1866-1913) | Español
The Civil War dealt an especially harsh blow to The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Its membership fell to two-thirds its pre-war strength. Many of its churches lay in ruins or were seriously damaged.
World War and More Change, 1914–1939 | Español
In the years immediately prior to World War I, there was much sympathy in the churches for negotiation and arbitration as visible alternatives to international armed conflict. Many church members and clergy openly professed pacifism.
Movement Toward Union (1940-1967) | Español
Although Methodists, Evangelicals, and United Brethren each had published strong statements condemning war and advocating peaceful reconciliation among the nations, the strength of their positions was largely lost with American involvement in the hostilities of World War II.
Developments and Changes Since 1968 | Español
When The United Methodist Church was created in 1968, it had approximately 11 million members, making it one of the largest Protestant churches in the world.
Additional Resource on the History of Methodism
The General Commission on Archives and History- Untied Methodist Church - was developed to promote and care for the historical interest of The United Methodist Church. their Website can connect you to a wealth of resources on the History of the Church, Genealogical Resources, biographical information on important figures in our history, the Works of John Wesley and many other resources.
John Wesley - was the founder of the Methodist Movement and its driving force in the earlier years. John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life is one of a series of spiritual growth studies produced annually by the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church that provides information on Wesley and examines his teachings.
Charles Wesley - John's brother, was one of the original "Methodists" was also one of the forces behind the Hymns that have become standards. The Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church has created a website that focuses on the Hymns of Charles Wesley
More information on the Wesley Brothers and their mother, Susanna Wesely, can be reached through the website on The Wesleys and Their Times