Brief History of
New London Methodist Church
Bishop Francis Gerald Ensley, son of Reverend L. A. Ensley,
who served this church from 1915-1920, will open our 15Oth Anniversary
year November 20, 1966 when he will be the guest speaker at the morning
The first Methodist Society, organized in 1816 by John
Haney, an elder from Haneytown (Savannah), was the forerunner of the
present First Methodist Church located at 54-58 East Main Street, New
History records the society started meeting in 1814 at
the school, on Lot #13, third section of New London taught by Miss Sophia
Case, the year after the first permanent New London township resident
. The first church, a wooden structure, was built around 1845. According
to legend the lumber for it was cut free of charge on Sundays, through
the courtesy of the owner of the sawmill, the local Baptist minister.
It was later sold and moved to a lot on the North side of West Main
Street, between the New York Central Railroad and the square.
The church was served during the years 1816-1832 by a number of circuit
riders. They started at Fitchville, the head of the circuit, and required
from two to six weeks to serve the territory.
Work on the second and present brick church, on the original lot, was
started in October 1878 and completed fourteen months later. Reverend
C. H. Payne DD, LLD, president of Ohio Wesleyan University conducted
the dedication service.
Shortly after the decision to build the church, a petition
was circulated to place a tax levy on all property in the village for
the purpose of purchasing a town clock, to be place in the spire of
the new Methodist Church.
In order to have the levy placed on the ballot a bill was passed by
the general assembly of Ohio. The Howard Tower Clock, which cost $750.00
was installed in November and started December 2,1879. It is still running
and keeping almost perfect time.
Funds for a 2005 pound bell in the tower of the church were raised by
public subscription, a home talent concert and a social. The bell was
used for funerals, weddings, days of rejoicing and national celebrations.
The present church building was redecorated and extensively repaired
five times in its history: in 1898, 1923, 1938, 1947, and 1965.
The Oberlin Glee Club presented a sacred and secular program
of music for the semi-centennial celebration December 8, 1929.
The first addition to the church, rooms for church school education
and the ladies aid, was started in 1937.
The Maas Cathedral Chimes, paid for by the youth choir
from funds received at special services conduccted by them, were installed
In 1956 a second unit, Wesley Hall, was built and dedicated November
26, 1961 by Bishop Hazen Werner .
Ground was broken for a new parsonage March 22, 1962 and consecrated
October 7, 1962.