In the early days, a barter system prevailed.  The giving of food, goods and money was paid to the pastor by the community in exchange for his service to the Lord.  Most people in the area were farmers, watermen, maids and/or cooks and they shared their blessings with the pastor.  The members of the church took delight in inviting the pastor and his family for Sunday dinner.

The churches on Kent Island were listed under the Stevensville Charge.  Ezion, Wesley, and Union were once the three churches on the charge which were an affiliate of the Delaware ConferenceThe late Ruth McDaniel served as a delegate from Union Methodist Episcopal Church of Chester at the 75th Session.  The late Nettie Jobes served as a delegate many years for the charge. Currently, Barbara Hayes serves as our delegate at the Peninsula Delaware Annual Conference.

Ezion remains as the original church from that conference. All three churches were served by the same pastor during his stay on the charge.  

In 1960, ‘Union’ Church burned to the ground and a new church was built.  Tragically the church was once again destroyed by fire on February 28, 1967.  While the church building was under construction, Kent Island Methodist Church offered Union the use of the vacant Kingsley Methodist Church.  It no longer stands but was located on the corner of Dominion and Kirwan Landings Roads in Chester.     

Wesley Church always had the smaller membership and as the years passed the membership had even a greater decline.  Finally, after several meetings the decision to merge was reached.  Some of the people were undecided about the merger and were uncomfortable with the decision.  Others saw the merger as a way for Wesley members to grow, continue their faithful walk, and change their direction. Thus, having an opportunity to reach out and embrace a new challenge, to have faith in the power of God’s word and to trust and lean on God’s promises.

Union and Wesley Methodist Episcopal Churches merged in 1967 after the completion of construction at Union.  The name then became “Union Wesley Methodist Church” (New Name, New beginning).

After the merger in 1967, Wesley was no longer open for regular service; every picture, the beautiful stained glass windows and pews were removed without the knowledge of the members and its trustees.  After the merge, due to hazardous conditions the Kent Island Fire Company burned the remainder of the building down in 1980. However, the Wesley Cemetery is still in use. 

Batt’s Neck Church, Ezion was known for its “Singing and Praying Band.”  The members were: Rev. Edward Johnson, Albert Pierce, Rosebury Wright, George Johns, Sopie Lewis, Maud Johns, Sadie Sheppard-Bordley, Bertha Aytch, Sarah Dodd, Virginia Lewis, Mary Riley, Nettie Riley, Alice Bailey, and Roland Bailey.  Roland Bailey was the Captain and drove most of the members to and from in his station wagon along with Rev. Johnson.  After Brother Bailey’s death, Rev. Edward Johnson became and remained Captain until his death. The band had three weeks of camp meetings.  The last week of service would be Friday, Saturday, and all night Sunday of singing and praying until Monday morning.  There were tents under which they cooked all the food on wood stoves for the services.  A booth, built by the Trustees and men, where plenty of sodas, candy, ice cream,  cracker jacks, and watermelons were available for sale.  This good food could be consumed in the fellowship hall.  Everyone would come from near and far to be a part of the Batts Neck Camp Meetings.  It would be a joyous time.

We can remember Aunt Maud Johns, who had a program called “The Three Nights In The Wilderness.”  She would decorate the church with trees to look like the outdoors and would have different speakers each night to preach the word.  Refreshments, such as pies, cakes, hot dogs, crab cakes, and sodas were provided.  Aunt Maud always had a joyous time with the Lord.  She sponsored famous groups and quartets from all over to fellowship at Ezion.  We will never forget how she loved and praised God, praying and singing, “I Want to be at the Meeting” and “Remember Me.”

Batt’s Neck had a large choir known as the Gospel Travelers.  Vivian Ryans was the last president of that group.  This choir sang for over fifteen years.  They sang praises to God from New York to Virginia.  Family and Friends would travel along.  There is a 2-track CD record of the Gospel Travelers singing in Oyster Bay, New York in 1965.  The CD can be found in the church files.  

Frances Cooper organized a young adult group called the Gospel Echoes.  The group departed and then came back together in 1977 under the same name.  

The church building and fellowship hall at Ezion had been through some renovations over the years.  In 1985, the fellowship hall was erected to the church.  The bathrooms were added by the Gospel Travelers.  The walls were paneled, the ceilings lowered and a new altar rail was installed.  The Gospel Echoes provided the installation of the handicap ramp.  In the 1970’s, a new charge parsonage was built.  We extend a special thanks to Mrs. Barbara Kettler-Mills for having the church painted, for purchasing a new refrigerator and for blessing the church financially with monetary gifts over the years.  During 2006, Mr. & Mrs. Montro Wright donated siding for the church.

Union and Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church merged during 1967 under the leadership of Rev. Isaac H. White.  The word, “United” was added to the names of all Methodist Churches in the Peninsula Conference in 1968.  The name of our church then became “Union Wesley United Methodist Church.”  The members of both churches – Union and Ezion toiled and labored to build a new parsonage on property across from the church.  The late McCauley Jobes and James Blaine Brown were trustees of the church in those days.

The Pastors of the Chester-Stevensville Charge over the decades are as follows:                                     

Rev. J. A. Fassett, Rev. Cuffee, Rev. S. I. Miles, Rev. George H. MacMurray, Rev. W. J. Mills, Rev. Hayward Green, Rev. Edgar C. Jordan, Rev. C. Martin Stafford, Rev. Isaac White, Rev. A.D. Anderson and Rev. Lewis S. Jones.  Rev. Robert M. Brown served as the faithful shepherd of the charge for twenty-two consecutive years, being the longest pastor to serve from June 1981 through June 2003. 

Over the years the pastors of the charge were all men; but on July 1, 2003, for the first time in history, the Pastor Parish Relations Committee agreed and the bishop appointed the first woman clergy on the charge. Rev. Marjorie E. Burns, an ordained woman of God who has been clergy for over twenty years.  Under her leadership the charge was headed in a new direction along with her ability to encourage others to use their gifts and talents to serve the Lord.


Through the years, members of Ezion United Methodist Church and Union Wesley United Methodist Church (as Union finally was named) worshipped and fellowshipped with each other on Sunday mornings and on special events.  One could hear the two congregations praising God in a mighty way on any given Sunday.  Testimonies, tears of joy and shouts of praise and thanksgiving enriched and uplifted the spirit of the congregation.  Members from both churches attended each others’ services; Homecoming, Communion, Three Nights in the Wilderness and Harvest Home with the auctioneer being Leroy Griffin most of the time.  Camp meetings as they were called and Family and Friends’ Day were also enjoyed by all.  Everyone seemed to also be blessed by the melodist songs by the Gospel Echoes on their anniversary.  Batt’s Neck Day, Camp Pecometh gatherings and revivals were attended by both churches as well as friends from surrounding communities.

Just as Wesley’s congregation declined in the number, so did Ezion. To set goals and expectations for our church in order for it to continue to be a beacon of light; a new committee was formed called the Transition Committee. A lot of praying, confessing, and compassion took place during many of our meetings for we understood that unless God is in the center of our discussions, thoughts and actions, our efforts would be fruitless.  Several of the devoted members did everything they could to keep Ezion’s doors open.   With its rich heritage, everyone wanted to see Ezion remain open; but after many discussions, with bowed heads and deep spiritual memories, the trustees decided to close the doors of the little church alongside the road on December 31, 2013, leaving Ezion and Union Wesley’s members to embark on a new beginning.  With the joining of the two churches also came a new name.  In the month of February 2014, the “new” congregation voted to rename Union Wesley as “NEW United Methodist Church.”

Today, the NEW United Methodist Church has many ministries to serve the members and the community. As you read the lists of ministries and officials located in this homecoming sovereign booklet, hopefully you will conclude that we are one big family working together striving to do God’s will.

In the 1900’s, Beulah Dunn Green was known as our Lay Speaker. Today, NEW United Methodist Church Lay Servants are committed to supporting the pastor, lead the Sunday morning worship and share the word of God. They are: Barbara Hayes, Shirley Green, Toni Pulley, Tina Trice, Vernetta Sherman, Carolyn Brooks, Don Bush, Ronald Lynch, Victor Middleton, and George Wright. Roberta Price serves as the Lay Leader and Mary Fisher serves as Associate Lay Leader. They along with our pastor graciously informs us of various services, workshops and conferences to attend that will enhance our spiritual growth.  Ardina Hamilton serves as a Certified Candidate for Ministry and Director of Young Adult Ministry.  Lumont Johnson serves as a Candidate for Ministry.  Bernadette Wright serves as Certified Lay Minister.  George and Bernadette Wright were the first to be sponsored by members of Kent Island United Methodist Church to go on the Walk to Emmaus. Lay servants Barbara Hayes, Tina Trice, Roberta Price, Mary Fisher, and Sis. Debbie Reed have also experienced the Walk to Emmaus.

One of the oldest organizations formed in the church was a society of women known as the “Ladies aide.”  This organization provided a two-fold purpose; perform Christian duties in the church and community as well as raising money to support the church.  Thank God for Shirley Green who is the last living member.  She has served as President of the Ladies Aide, President of the Women’s Society, and President of the United Methodist Women.  Joyce Green Pace currently serves as President. The United Methodist Women’s Unit continues to serve women and children in need.

The Usher Board is another organization within the church organized under the leadership of the church’s first oil burners.  The Usher Board has re-organized and is presently active within our church.  Deborah (Dunn) Lawrence currently serves as President.

The trustees of Union church at that time were the late “Capt” Ernest E. Lee, George Sullivan, Jacob Brown, Daniel R. Dunn (Buddy), Rufus Dunn, Oscar Green, James McDaniel, Oscar Dunn, Alexander Watson, “Captain” Gilmore Green Sr., and “Captain” Russell J. Cornish. The church trustees, the door keepers of the church work diligently to preserve the church. Prior year trustees included: George Wright, Timothy Pinkett, Lloyd Price Jr., Barbara Hayes, Paulette Jones Middleton, Bruce Pulley, Rondal Baynard and Carl Pinkett Jr. who serves as President.  

The “Gospel Chorus” was organized under the leadership of the late Mrs. Reffa Fassett; while Reba Reid served as President.  The choir assisted the church with its finances by traveling and rendering services for donations.  Today, two choirs exist.  Leadership for the Senior Choir was provided previously by our director, Doreen Bowser-Fassett and assistant director, Bernadette Wright.  Leadership for the Men’s Choir was provided by President, Clarence Graham, and director, Bernadette Wright.  The church musicians included: James Fisher, Lumont Johnson, James Brown and Lloyd Price, Jr.

Our Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) is also doing an outstanding job in educating the youth about the teachings of Christ.  The yearly basketball tournament is enjoyed by all who attend.  It is doubted that our youth will ever forget the wonderful trip they took to Washington D.C. by Mr. George Starkey; now a professional charter bus driver as well as an active member of our church.  Moreover, the youth each winter with several adults visit the sick and shut –in as well as those who love for them to visit in order to hear them sing beautiful Christmas carols.  Mrs. Sharon Starkey and Mrs. Iwonya Brown are working diligently to be able to take the youth to Ocean City in January to the Methodist Youth Rally. 

One of the first Sunday School Superintendents was the late Ruth McDaniel.  The Union Church property had a separate building that was used as a school also.  The children in the area would attend regular school during the week and church school on Sunday.  This was the center of the social activities for the area! Every Sunday, we are grateful to Mrs. Debbie Lawrence for teaching so enthusiastically the Children’s Moment.  Vacation Bible School made history last year by the number of children and youth who attended.  Between thirty to fifty children attended this year with members and friends helping. We expect more children and youth to attend next summer.  Mr. Fisher, another professional bus driver and one of our talented musicians, the teachers and the Sunshine Kitchen Ministry all contributed to VBS’s success under the leadership of our Christian Education Director, Minister Bernadette Wright.

     Another ministry that has grown tremendously is our communion stewardship committee.  We have been blessed by the communion stewards who have been serving faithfully for many years and we thank God for our newly called stewards. Toni Pulley serves as the President.

     The United Methodist Men’s Ministry under the leadership of Carl Pinkett Jr., is serving the community and church in various ways.  As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home,” and this ministry knows how to show love and compassion to those in need. The men’s Bible study lead by George Wright is also amazing. It has been in full force for many years now and many of the men have confessed that the knowledge they have gained about Christ and who he is has truly changed their lives for the better.

Since 1967 many improvements have been made at NEW United Methodist Church (formerly known as Union Wesley United Methodist Church). A new parsonage has been built with a handicap ramp, a fellowship hall with a handicap ramp, and black top the driveway under the leadership of the late Thomas H. Pauls.  The MYF had a Basketball court installed under the leadership of Lay Servant George Wright and Trustee Bruce Pulley.  Sidewalks have been laid, a new roof, a hood installed over the kitchen range with a fire suppressant system, and central air has been installed.  The parsonage has been updated with central air, hardwood floors, new appliances, a deck on the front and side, and an additional concrete sidewalk.  On June 20, 1999, the church burned the mortgage for the parsonage.  The late Russell J. Cornish was the oldest trustee present at this ceremony.

During 2013, new carpeting was installed in the sanctuary, a wired microphone system was replaced with a cordless system, and a set of drums was donated by the MYF.

For more than 15 years, Dorothy Williams served as Church Clerk, Recording Secretary, and Custodian of Vital Membership Records, and Joan P. Wilmer served as Treasurer.

Once again we are presently dealing with challenges of life.  Our parsonage is being refurbished.  But we continue to move forward by trusting the Lord.  

Father God knows the plans he has for all of his children.  On June 30, 2015, Rev. Marjorie E. Burns completed her assignment here, and move to Delaware.  She is pursuing her dreams and is allowing the Lord to use her according to his will within her new appointment.

On July 1, 2015, Rev. Turhan L. Potter Sr. and his family became a vital part of our church family.  Rev. Turhan Potter Sr. began his appointment as our pastor.  

Under his leadership, the sanctuary was upgraded with audio/video equipment to include a camera, a big pull-down screen and the ability to record the morning sermons and have CD’s ready for purchase immediately after service.  New inside doors were installed leading into the sanctuary and safety equipment placed within the church complex.   In preparation for the Homecoming Campaign for Calendar Year 2019, the Virtual Bus Tour was launched (during November 2018) which brought much joy to our hearts.   On June 30, 2019 Rev. Potter and his family ventured on to his next appointment.


Only July 1, 2019, we received our energetic and creative pastor, Rev. Cornelius D. Berry. During his tenure, Rev. Berry recreated our logo and branding for the church, launched a new website, re-designed the youth ministry (i.e., the ‘Saturday Night Live’ initiative), and launched the free community hot meal ministry.  Even though we were

challenged by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic during CY 2020, Sunday Morning Worship, the Noon Day  and Wednesday Night Intercessory Prayer Time were initiated electronically to help our church family and friends to stay connected and to receive God’s Word!  The COVID Compliance Team and procedures were established and implemented.  On June 30, 2022 Rev. Cornelius Berry and his family ventured on to his next appointment.

On July 1, 2022, Pastor Sterling T Harris embarked on a transformative journey from South Carolina to Maryland, igniting a spiritual revolution within our congregation. Under his visionary leadership, we have grown in numbers, baptized infants, and extended our outreach to the community.With unwavering faith and dedication, Pastor Harris challenged us to pay off our parsonage by December 2023. Through his guidance, we joyously celebrated the burning of the mortgage on February 11th, 2024.

Embracing the motto “A church on the shore that loves everybody,” Pastor Harris has inspired us to build a sanctuary for God’s people, uniting current and future generations in faith and love. His unwavering commitment and boundless love for God’s people continue to guide us towards a brighter spiritual future.