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Expanded History of John Wesley

         In 1784, twenty-nine years after the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the famous Christmas Conference held at the Lovely Lane Chapel, Baltimore, Maryland, where Francis Asbury and Thomas Cake were elected the first Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, our Church had its beginning.


         In 1813, on the corner of Sharp and Montgomery Streets – the Northeast corner –stood an old carpenter shop.  Directly across from a small milk dairy.  This milk was sold loose in large cans; when the housewife heard the familiar ring of the milkman’s bell, she carried a pitcher to the door to get whatever amount of milk was needed.


         Brother Samuel Greenwood, a wood sawyer could be seen every day trudging along with his wood horse on his back, on the way to someone’s house to saw wood.  In that period, there was little if any coal burned in the home.


         It occurred to Bro. Greenwood that the old carpenter’s shop would be a good meeting house for his small band of people whom he had talked with while sawing wood in their homes.  He made arrangements with the owner of the building to allow it to be used on Sundays for the purpose of holding services.


         Every Saturday he swept the place clear of wood shavings and got things in order for the meetings that would be held the following Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.    He arranged for one of the white carpenters to attend the meeting - this was done to make the meeting legal.  The law made every meeting of colored people  illegal unless a white man was in attendance.  It made no difference as to the type of white man, the important thing was that the man was white.


         This small group listened to the “Word” from the mouth of Bro. Greenwood, by the light of kerosene lamps.  Within a few years, the membership grew and Bro. Greenwood became a Class Leader.  Services were now being held on Sunday mornings as well as Sunday evenings, and this place of worship was named “Frog Eye Mission”.  The name Frog Eye Mission was given because the removal of clay left holes filled with water which were inhabited with frogs.


         In 1838, a small number of people from the Sharp Street Church along with Bro. Samuel Greenwood and Mr. Grinage, a neighbor, purchased the carpenter shop for religious worship only and renamed the mission John Wesley Chapel.  Bro. Greenwood organized about 25 people into a Praying Band.  Meetings were held in the homes of friends and members to sing hymns in their own fashion.


         The carpenter shop was remodeled in 1842.  One-half was built of brick, benches were installed, and wooden steps built along the front of the building leading to the entrance.  To get into the main entrance one had to go into the street and climb a huge stairway which covered the entire front.  On the side of this stairway were doors which led into the rooms used for fuel.  An iron rail, part of which is still in use ran to the end of the building on Hughes Street, thus forming a narrow strip of a yard which ran the entire length of the church.  On the north side was another alley into which two doors opened.  The first opened to the downstairs rooms, the second was a small room used for class meetings.  It was in this room that the John Wesley Sunday School had its early beginnings.  All meetings had to close at 9:00 P.M.


         From its origin until 1864, the John Wesley Chapel was not officially connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, although this Mission was guided by the Methodist principles.  From 1838 to 1864, years of trials, tribulations and obscurity were endured.


         In 1864 the Washington Annual Conference was created. Our Conference had its beginning at Sharp Street Methodist Church on Thursday, October 27, 1864.  Bishop Levi Scott presided.  Members were Benjamin Brown and James Peck from Sharp Street Station, which included John Wesley and James H. Harper and Elijah Gressem from Dallas Street Station.


         In June of1864, the first Quarterly Conference for John Wesley was held.  Rev. N. J. B. Morgan was the presiding Elder.  Preachers present were:  Rev. J. P. Bowser, Rev. Garrison Thomas and Rev. James Ockney.  The Exhorters were:  Bro. Samuel Greenwood and Elder Brown.  Stewards:  George D. Lester, Alexander Brown, Jacob Hooper, J. T. Johnson, Lewis Maddox, George E. Johnson and William B. Draper.  Mr. George W. Lester was appointed the first secretary of the church, having acted as secretary of the first Quarterly Conference.  At that time the Presiding Elder was paid $3.00 for his services.  There were nine classes.


         The old shop was again remodeled in 1871, under the pastorate of the Reverend Nathaniel Carroll.  He had the front of the building knocked out and a new brick front built. The cumbersome wooden steps were removed and a complete new entrance built.


         The Rev. N. M. Carroll, with his brothers and parents, attended the Sunday School class of Mr. Grinage.  Mr. Grinatge succeeded Mr. Samuel Greenwood, who passed into Eternity, as the Leader of Sunday’s Class.  Reverend Carroll was a great leader.  He introduced to the Church the new Sunday School Journal, maps of the Holy Lands and blackboards and books on Biblical and Church history.


         In 1878, the Rev. Robert Steele drew plans for the former church structure.  The congregation had increased so that a bigger and finer building became a necessity.  In 1881 during the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Waters, Sr., the plans were adopted and carried out and the present structure was built. The architects that designed the building were Charles Ogle and Frank Davis.  The cost of the project was $22,000.00.  The church was lighted by a large reflector of 36 burners, and was built to accommodate 1,500 persons.  The pulpit furniture was donated by a group of young men called “The Dashaway Association” at the cost of $125.00.  The vestibule and stair covering was donated by the Ladies Aid Society.


         In 1882, dedication services were held.  Bishop Wiley of Cincinnati, Ohio, officiated in the main auditorium. Other guests present were Bishop John M. Brown of the A.M.E.Church, Rev. J. Emory Rounds of the Centenary Institute and the Rev. E. W. S. Peck, Presiding Elder.  The afternoon services were conducted by Rev. Benjamin Brown, due to the immense crowd; those who could not gain admission to the main sanctuary were directed into the Sunday School room where prayer meeting was conducted by Rev. Julius C. Love, father of the deceased Bishop E. A. Love.  The financial contributions collected for the day exceeded the balance of the building fund.


         Goodwill for this new church edifice and its people existed throughout the City.  When the morning services had closed Police Captain Delanty, whose station house was on the opposite corner, slipped into the vestibule and smilingly asked one of the Stewards if they were taking up a collection?  As the Steward replied in the affirmative the Captain handed him a canvas bag with the request that it be placed in the plate — then he disappeared.  The astonished Steward ascertained that the bag contained $27.00 and a note which read:  “A contribution from the Police of the Southern District.”  This was evidence of the good will which existed among the people of this community.


         Years of popularity came to the Church between 1863–1885.  It grew spiritually as well as financially.  Hundreds of new members united and great times were enjoyed by all.

Rev. E. W. S. Peck became the minister in 1891.  He conducted the greatest revival in the history of the Church.  Hundreds of souls were added to both church and Sunday School.  Rev. Peck was a great churchman, and he had represented the Washington Annual Conference as a delegate to General, Jurisdictional and the Ecumenical Conference in London, England in 1881.  Incidentally, in 1882, the South Baltimore District of the Washington Annual Conference was formed as Sharp Street Church.  In 1884, John Wesley entertained the Quarter Century Anniversary of the Washington Annual Conference.


1897 – 1903 – Rev. Ernest Lyon, A.M.D.D., came to pastor this Church.  Improvements to the Church and the parsonage were made.  The Church continued to grow and was made proud in 1903 when the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, appointed Dr. Lyon as Minister Resident and Consul General for the country of Liberia.


1903 – 1910 – Rev. S. H. Brown and Rev. William Gaines served as ministers of the Church and continued its success.


1910 – 1922 – Dr. Ernest Lyon returned to the pastorate of this Church, after serving seven years in the Diplomatic Corps of the State Department of the United States Government.  With the integrity that was innately a part of Dr. Lyon, John Wesley Church reached a new mark of distinction.  Outstanding during these years were the improvements made to Church and parsonage.  A chapel was added, as was a finance room; the rest rooms were rebuilt and the steam heating system was installed.  Dr. Lyon served this Church a total of 18 years, during which time there were 805 conversions, 150 marriages, 200 funerals and 2,800 visits to the sick and shut-in members.


1922 – 1924:  Rev. Joseph H. Jenkins.  During the efficient pastorate of Rev. Joseph Jenkins, the first Female Communion Stewards were appointed, namely: – Mrs. Mary F. Smith, Mrs. Grace Marshall, Mrs. Ada Thomas, and Mrs. Ella Henson.


1924-1926: Rev. R. W. S. Thomas.  Rev. R. W. S. Thomas, preacher, educator, church-builder and financier, received his education by private instructors; he was also trained in the Monrovian Schools in Antiqua and Bassterre, B.W.L.  He studied pharmacy at the Colonial Dispensary and was assistant pharmacist of said institution for several years.  He later graduated from Shaw University, North Carolina, and joined the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was secretary for four years.  He was appointed professor of Sciences to Bennett College, Greensboro, N.C., afterward disciplinary teacher of English and acting president of Cookman Institute, Jacksonville, FL. for four years; also principal of Haven Academy.  He has held important charges in both the North Carolina and Washington conferences; was District Superintendent of the Cumberland District three years.  He served as pastor of the Metropolitan M. E. Church, Washington, D.C. and from 1924-1926 served as pastor of JohnWesleyMethodistChurch.


1926-1931 – Reverends John W. Waters, Jr. and Walter A. English, respectively, served as ministers and the Church continued its forward movement.


1931 – 1933 – Rev. Edgar A. Love, an energetic young man, was called to serve John Wesley.  He was a young man who put his entire interest into the welfare of the Church.  Rev. Love had served the Conference for 18 years, two of which were spent in the U.S. Army during World War I as Chaplain, serving 14 months overseas and earning the rank of Captain.  For two years he was Professor of History at Morgan State College, (now Morgan State University).  He graduated from Howard and Boston Universities.  In his sermons he followed closely the teachings of Christ.  “I believe the function of the church is to teach personal integrity through the ideals of Jesus Christ.  All our preaching ought to be Christocentric.  We are not here merely to preach a social gospel; it must be centered around Christ.” Rev. Love was deeply interested in the program of religious education. He reduced the indebtedness of the Church and increased its membership.

After leaving John Wesley he was promoted to Superintendent of the Washington District; then to the Executive Secretary of the General Board of Church Extension; and later to Resident Bishop of the Baltimore Area of the Methodist Church.


1933 – 1940 – Upon the arrival of Rev. William H. Dean in 1933, the church had a large mortgage and a number of smaller bills.  The bills were liquidated quickly and the mortgage was greatly reduced.    During these years over 100 persons were baptized by immersion at Brown’s Grove.  This baptizing service was shared by 995 persons, including those baptized.  Numerous souls were saved and many members added to the Church.   One of his outstanding features was reorganizing the Adult Bible Class most successfully; all the while working vigorously to carry his message of God’s Goodness to all the people in the community as well as in his own Church.  He organized the first “Young People’s Day” (now known as “Youth Day”).  On July 27, 1940 he entered into his eternal rest.


1940 – 1949 – Rev. Frank J. Frye was appointed to succeed the late Rev. William H. Dean.  He was a dedicated minister.  His sermons were soul-stirring.  He organized the Women’s Society of Christian Service (now known as the United Methodist Women) on December 1, 1940.  During Rev. Frye’s pastorate, the Methodist Brotherhood, Junior Choir, Young People’s Choir, Hudson Chorus and Father Along Male Chorus were organized, too.  Two years after Rev. Frye’s appointment, the Church was freed from a $3,751.00 indebtedness which was owed when he arrived.  The mortgage burning ceremonies were held on Sunday, August 2, 1942.  During Rev. Frye’s administration an excess of $100,000.00 was raised for all purposes; more than 300 new members were added to the church roll, and the Church was renovated throughout.  Rev. Frye was interested only in his parishioners – adult and youth.  He was involved actively in civic and community endeavors.  A favorite saying of his was: “Don’t let any man turn you around.”  After nine years of loyal and unselfish service to John Wesley Methodist Church, Rev. Frye was elevated to the position of Superintendent of the South Baltimore District.


1949 – 1959 – Rev. Charles E. Johnson was appointed as the minister of this Church after completing service as the District Superintendent of the South Baltimore District of the Conference.  As a very dynamic speaker, many persons were converted by his forceful exposition of the Scriptures.  He will be remembered forever for his fondness of such great hymns of the Church as:  “Fairest Lord Jesus,” “O, Holy Saviour, Friend Unseen,” “Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know?” and “God Leads His Dear Children Along.”  During the pastorate of Rev. Johnson the Church experienced growth.  Baltimore City was planning a revitalization and reconstruction program for the area of South Baltimore where the church was located.  Plans were made by the church to seek a new site, a committee was formed to find a new church location.  This committee was named the “Church Finding Committee.” The following persons comprised the Committee:  *Mrs. Pearl Brown, Chairman; *Mrs. Odessa Gross, Co-Chairman; *Mrs. Claudenia Brown, Secretary; *Miss Mamie Joynes, *Miss Cynthia House, *Mrs. Maud Hill, Messrs *Sumner U. Davis, *Delmar Gross and *Leroy Morsell.  (*Deceased)  They found and selected the church building we now occupy, located on the corner of West North Avenue and Bloomingdale Road.  Acquisition of this church site was made possible by committees set up to raise funds, the sacrificial and liberal contributions of many dedicated and loyal members and friends and other means.


1959 – 1978 – After serving as District Superintendent for the South Baltimore District of the Washington Conference, Rev. J. Lloyd Garrison was appointed pastor of John Wesley Methodist Church (now known as JohnWesley United Methodist Church) on June 1, 1959.

From his many assets we highlight the following of Rev. Garrison’s ministry which include the following:  Church membership increased from 360 to 1490.   The original church mortgage of $108,000.00 was paid off in 1969. Organized “The John Wesley Fellowship Club”, “The Elizabeth A. Nalle Memorial Choir”, brought and paid for a new organ, brought and paid cash for new piano.  Set up a church Scholarship Fund to aid our young people entering college. “The Identical” morning worship service of special days was started. He began the 8:30 morning worship services on Communion Sunday.  Adopted the “Unified Budget System”; thus eliminating all rallies and special collections.  $90,000.00 was spent for improvements on the church and parsonage.  Introduced “The Triplex Envelope System: of giving to support the church.  Gave to The Methodist Church for Missions, Colleges and church administration $152,786.78.  The Annual Budget increased from $11,000 to $62,000.  Raised for all causes $824,358.78.  Rev. Garrison organized “The Welcome Committee.”

He was a dynamic speaker who showed a keen interest and concern for the sick and shut-in, distressed and the bereaved members of our church and the surrounding community, and made frequent visits to homes, hospitals, institutions, etc.  Whenever called upon, he was depended upon to give his service.


Upon the retirement of Rev. Garrison in 1978, Rev. Calvin P. Crosson was assigned to pastor John Wesley.  Under his leadership the Restoration and Renovation Committee was formed in February, 1979 to restore and renovate the interior and exterior of our church.  Consecration Services for the completion of our renovated sanctuary was held June 16, 1985 which ended Phase I of the Restoration and Renovation Project.  Rev. Crosson organized the Altar Guild and reorganized several other committees.  He also introduced the quadruplex envelopes.  Rev. Crosson placed great emphasis on tithing and stewardship.  Mrs. Bessie Crosson  instituted the “Every Body’s Birthday Party.”  He worked dutifully with several of the Baltimore Conference Boards and Committees; especially the Board of Ordained Ministry and served as Chairperson of the Board of Health, Education and Welfare.  Under his pastorate the church began Wednesday evening Bible Study and he also taught an Adult Bible Class on Sunday mornings. The church extended its outreach to the community through the distribution of Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets.  A Hypertension Screening Program was operated by certified Blood Pressure Measurement Specialist during his pastorate.  Also assistance was given to many persons in dire need — those facing eviction, hunger and other needs.


After the retirement of Rev. Calvin P. Crosson, another dynamic minister was appointed to John Wesley in 1989,  the late, Dr. DePriest W. Whye, Sr.  He had served for six years as District Superintendent of Washington East District of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  Under his administration the Phase I debt of the Renovation and Restoration of the sanctuary was paid off, Women’s Day and Men’s Day was reactivated, Family and Friends Day had become an annual activity, a 25-passenger coach was purchased, the Altar Guild made banners for each organization and Christian event of the year, began transferring record keeping to the computer, a campus minister was employed for a year, three Bible classes were being conducted (one on Friday and two on Wednesday), and a Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Commission on Education was presented annually honoring our high school seniors, especially those who were about to become students in universities or professional schools, and giving recognition to those who had completed their college education.

Our church is an integral part of the community, serving Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Neighborhood and Business Committees.  John Wesley became an active member of BUILD (Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development) along with 75 other churches and civic organizations.  Also in March of 1993 we were the first church in BaltimoreCity to join with the Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America, forming John Wesley Dollars for Scholars, to assist our scholarship efforts.

A Leadership Training Workshop was conducted by Dr. Whye and the Commission on Education annually on the fourth Saturday in June to teach and review the responsibilities of officers and leaders of the local church.

Phase II of the Renovation Program began in the Spring of 1993.  A fence was erected around the church, restrooms were installed to accommodate the handicapped, individual glass brick windows were installed in the educational building, the parking lot was paved, and the church roof was replaced.

John Wesley acquired the property opposite the church with the hope that the two buildings would be converted into residential apartments in the future.  A committee entitled The John Wesley Development Corporation, was organized. This non-profit organization would oversee this project.

Members under the pastorate of Dr. Whye answered the call to serve in the ministry:  Rev. Harry Pender, Rev. Sylvester Gaines, Rev. Richard Adams, Rev. William Booker, Rev. John T. Smith, Rev. Vivian L. Jones, Rev. Tina Miles.  The following became candidates for the Ordained Ministry:  Pastor Gertrude Green, Rev. Louise Holley and Minister Rebecca Riley.  Lay Speakers/Lay Leaders:  Edward Brawner, Bryant Holley, Mary Marshall, Ella Mae Lawson, Margie Harvey, Pearl Jackson, Marcine Parrish, Gloria Davis, Leon Riley, William D. Parrish, William E. Dingle and Christine B. Paylor.


Upon the retirement of Rev. Dr. DePriest W. Whye, Sr., in 1994; On January 1, 1995,  Rev. Dr. Alfreda Lynette Wiggins was appointed to serve as the  first female pastor of the historic JohnWesleyUnited Methodist Church and lead the flock of the largest African American United Methodist congregation in Baltimore City. She is actively involved in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference and Community Life.  She currently serves on the Baltimore Metropolitan District Committee on Ministry, having previously served as the Chair of the Baltimore-West District Committee on Ministry.  She was a member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, where she previously served as Chair of the Conference Relations Committee and the Sermon Review Committee. She also serves as a Mentoring Pastor for candidates for ministry in the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference.

She has served as a Trustee and Vice-President of the Old Baltimore and Annapolis Board of Missions of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.  She also served on the Conference Commission on the Role and Status of Women in the Church and the Conference Task Force on Clergy and Congregations as Risk.  Dr. Wiggins has preached in hundreds of churches both nationally and internationally.

The following members answered the call to the ministry under her pastorate:  Pastor Daryl Foster, Reverend Walter Wilson, Reverend A. Orvis Farmer, Minister Mary Robinson, Pastor Rebecca Riley, and Pastor Andrew Solice.  Ministers Barbara Allen, Sheryl C. Morsell and Carolyn Rouse were commissioned from the first Certified Lay Ministers  class in November, 2009.

The following ministries were initiated under the pastorate of Dr. Wiggins: Class Leaders,  Communion Choir, Singles Ministry, Greeters Ministry, Armor Bearers, Rev. Dr. Alfreda L. Wiggins Cultural Academic Saturday Academy, Intermediate Ushers, HIV/AIDS Ministry, Liturgical Dance Ministry, Nu Prayz (Praise Team), Youth Praise Team, Heritage Choir, Boys to Men Ensemble, WEI (Women’s Empowerment Initiative), The Wesleyites (Seniors Ministry), Travel Ministry, Joshua Generation (Middle Adult Ministry), Sister-2-Sister, Discipleship Bible Study, Bereavement Ministry, and Shalom Zone.  The Methodist Youth Fellowship, Steward Board, and Stephen Ministry were re-instituted under her pastorate.

Since that second Sunday in November, 1969, Dr. Wiggins continues to live and exemplify her total commitment to the Gospel Ministry and building the Kingdom of God through these words of the Apostle Paul.  “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13-14)

After sixteen (16) years as Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Alfreda L. Wiggins retired in June, 2011. 


The Conference appointed Rev. Dr. Bruce Franklin Haskins as our new Senior Pastor and Rev. Twanda Prioleau as our Associate Pastor, their tenure at John Wesley began on July 1, 2011.

Rev. Dr. Bruce F. Haskins is a lifetime member of the St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Baltimore where the foundations of the Christian faith that were laid in his home were nurtured and where he fell in love with Christ and His Church.  Licensed as a Local Pastor in 1983, he was ordained Deacon in 1984 and Elder in 1990.

Pastor Haskins was very involved in the connectional ministry of the United Methodist Church.  He was a member of the local, jurisdictional and national Black Methodists for Church Renewal and is a past president of the Baltimore Washington Caucus.  He has taught at the Washington Columbia District School of Christian Growth, led seminars on various topics for several districts’ Leadership Days.  He has led the conference Young Adult Retreat, coordinated the conference’s United Nations Youth Seminars, directed Discovery Camp at the West River Center, and has served as coordinator of the conference’s Leadership Development Seminar for Pastors.  Pastor Haskins served three rotations on the conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM).  He was also a Regional Trainer and past Conference Coordinator for Communities of Shalom.  Along with his wife, Dr. Deborah Gladden Haskins, Pastor Haskins developed and conducted a marriage preparation seminar entitled “Becoming One Flesh.”

Pastor Haskins is widely recognized as an anointed preacher, teacher and administrator.  He also has a passion for developing lay and clergy leadership.  His deep desire for the people of God is “that the Church be the Church.” 

Rev. Haskins has stated that: “We have found John Wesley to be a congregation deeply committed to vital ministry in the community and having a particular desire to be in relevant ministry with children, youth and young adults.”

The Lord gently took his hand and ushered him into eternal life on Thursday, January 21, 2016 with his family close by. 


Rev. Twanda Prioleau was called to preach the gospel in 1997 and has been preaching the gospel for 16 years. Ordained in the Baptist Denomination in May 2001 and after studying United Methodist History and Policy in Seminary, she joined the United Methodist Denomination. In February 2012, The Board of Ordained Ministry of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to recommend Pastor Prioleau to become a provisional member of the Annual Conference and she was commissioned for ministry in the Elder track in May 2012.

As Associate Pastor she had the primary responsibility for the development and strengthening of programs and leadership that will lead to spiritual and numerical growth in professions of faith, worship attendance, mission engagement, and community outreach.  Pastor Prioleau taught Wednesday Noonday Bible Study.  She has taught Advanced Preaching to Lay Speakers in the Baltimore-Washington Conference Discipleship Academy and was a Workshop presenter for the 2012 Baltimore-Washington Leadership Days.  In January 2012, she was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the Congress on Evangelism.

Pastor Prioealu’s primary responsibility here at John Wesley UMC was connecting John Wesley to the community through “Risk-Taking Mission and Service.”  She instituted our Annual “A Day of Hope,”  a day geared towards serving the community through our outreach ministries; as a result each year we have served over 200 individuals in the community.  She has developed our Covenant Life Group Ministry.  A ministry focused on accountability, connecting one with another and growth in our relationship with Christ in a small group setting.  As a result eight (8) small groups in the church have started, that meet on a monthly basis.

She is currently the Senior Pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in East Baltimore.


During their tenure, several new ministries were started, including the Worship Design Team, Mime Ministry, Covenant Life Group Ministry, the A Day of Hope, the One Flesh Couples Ministry, the Prayer Ministry, and the Global Missions Ministry-Volunteers In Ministry (VIM), which saw seven disciples from John Wesley join a group from our sister church, Wesley Freedom UMC, on a mission trip to Belize in Central America.  


In celebration of our 200th Anniversary, the year began with a Watch Night Worship Service that included five of our sister churches, their pastors and congregations: Epworth Chapel, Mt. Zion, Ames Memorial, St. Paul Praise and Worship Center, and Metropolitan United Methodist Churches.

Rev. Haskins and Rev. Prioleau were proud of the way the congregation embraced our mission to “make, nurture, and empower disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our communities and the world through Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity.”

Our previous Pastor, Rev. Dr. LaReesa Smith-Horn entered into retirement on June 30th, 2017.


John Wesley Ministerial Members

Past & Present

Members of John Wesley, who have answered the call to serve in the ministry:



Rev. Thomas H. Lee connected himself with John Wesley M.E. Church at an early age.  On October 25, 1913, he became a licensed Exhorter, under the pastorate of Rev. Ernest Lyon.  Not just being satisfied with Exhorters license, he studies further and became a Local preacher, receiving his license at the Washington M. E. Conference which was held in Hagerstown, MD on September 11, 1920.  He served in John Wesley as Class Leader, Sunday School teacher, President of the Norris Chapter Epworth League, and was accepted as acting pastor of the church, and held the congregation together from August to November 1940, after the passing of the late Rev. William H. Dean.  Rev. Lee also served as pastor of the NorthPointChurch, Baltimore, for two years and also as pastor of GillisMemorialChurch for three years.


Rev. Charles V. Smith, was born in Trinidad, British West Indies, he came to Baltimore from New Orleans, LA., in the year 1920.  During his boyhood he was connected with the Roman Catholic Church.  In June, 1922, under the pastorate of the late Rev. R. W. S. Thomas, he united with John Wesley M. E. Church.

During the pastorate of the late Rev. J. W. Waters, Rev. Smith joined the Adult Bible Class of the Sunday School and also became Leader of Class No.12, and was placed on the nominating committee.  Under the pastorate of the Late Rev. Walter A. English, he received his Exhorters License.  During the pastorate of Rev. E. A. Love, Rev. Smith was appointed to the Trustee Board and became Treasurer of the Sunday School.  In Rev. William H. Dean’s pastorate, he received Local Preachers License, and was elected Assistant Superintendent of the ChurchSchool, Rev. F. J. Frye appointed Rev. Smith as “Charge Lay Leader”, Unit Leader and from 1940-1944 attended the School of Ministerial Training.  He was ordained May 18, 1945 at AmesMethodistChurch, Baltimore, Maryland.


Rev. Mrs. Estelle Brooks was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and was baptized by sprinkling by Rev. E. W. S. Peck.  At an early age was converted, and united with John Wesley M. E. Church, under the pastorate of Rev. S. H. Brown in 1907.  During the pastorate of Rev. R. W. S. Thomas, she was made an Exhorter, and received Local Preachers License through Rev. E. A. Love.


Rev. James W. Parker, a native of Frederick County, Maryland, was converted around 1916, and connected himself with John Wesley M. E. Church.  He served as a Sunday School teacher, and Assistant Secretary.  Rev. Parker received his license as a Local Preacher under the pastorate of Rev. R. W. S. Thomas; served as Class Leader for ten years, also as Lay Delegate to the Washington Annual Conference; attended the ministerial School at Princess Ann, and Morgan State College.  Graduated from the MinisterialSchool at Morristown, and was ordained Local Deacon at Harrisburg, PA., in 1935 by Bishop Edward H. Hughes.  He was also appointed Supply Pastor for two years at the NorthPointMethodistChurch.


Rev. Mrs. Mary Wallace, a Local Preacher in JohnWesleyMethodistChurch, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, and came to Baltimore at the age of 16 and united with John Wesley.  She was then assigned to Class No. 12; Mr. Noah Tolson was the Leader.  Rev. Mrs. Wallace received her first Local Preachers license at Bridgetown, New Jersey, and received license from John Wesley Church in 1935; was appointed leader of Class No. 8 during the pastorate of the late Rev. Wm. H. Dean.


Rev. Henry Campbell, was born in Calvert County, MD and was converted at the age of 17, and connected himself with Brooks Chapel in CalvertCounty.  He came to Baltimore, and united with John Wesley M. E. Church during the pastorate of Rev. Ernest Lyons and was assigned to Class No. 4, of which he became the Leader in later years.  At the death of Bro. Samuel Anderson, Rev. Henry Campbell was appointed the captain of The Praying and Singing Band.  During the pastorate of Rev. Joseph Jenkins, he received Exhorters License; and under Rev. E. A. Love he received his Local Preachers License.  Rev. Campbell was baptized by immersion at Brown’s Grove by Rev. William H. Dean.


Rev. Palestine S. Henry:  The History of John Wesley Methodist Church would not be complete without at least a short outline of the Rev. Palestine Solinity Henry.

He was born in Cambridge, MD., September 23, 1835, and fell asleep in Baltimore, MD., September 3, 1918, after giving years of service in John Wesley Church.  Rev. Palestine S. Henry was a fully ordained minister of then The Methodist Episcopal Church, but was not an itinerary, because he preferred staying in Baltimore on account of his Educational Duties.  The period immediately following the Civil War, found many of our most ambitious, in the race, without any knowledge of reading or writing.  For this reason besides being a minister of the Gospel, Rev. Henry conducted a private school on W. West Street, for adults who were employed during the day.


In this same building a Mission was conducted, also a Semi-monthly News Paper edited by Rev. Henry.  During the pioneer days of John Wesley Church, Rev. Henry never missed a Sunday, unless sick, was always punctual in attendance.  Being rumored in 1897 that the late Rev. Ernest Lyon was scheduled to come to serve John Wesley Church, Rev. Palestine S. Henry was sent to New York as an emissary to welcome Rev. Ernest Lyon.  The selection was voted upon unanimously by the congregation in a standing vote, as he had always most graciously filled the pulpit at all times during the absence from any cause of the minister in charge.


He was one of Baltimore’s first teachers and closely associated with such outstanding citizens as Mr. Jimmie Johnson and his brother, also pioneer educators of South Baltimore.  Also Rev. Harvey Johnson, Rev. Alexander, Mr. Samuel Chase, Mr. George Lester, Mr. John Murphy, Mr. John Thomas, Mr. John

Henry Smith and others.


He acted as secretary and accountant for many movements to help in the advancement and interest of the Colored Race, entirely without pay, only accepting voluntary gifts.


Clarence Brown – Lay Leader – 1958 – Under the pastorate of Rev. Charles E. Johnson



The following is a list of Ministerial Support Staff from 1959 to present:



Under the Pastorate of Rev. J. Lloyd Garrison:


Rev. Janie Elizabeth Harrington served as Assistant Pastor (1959 – 1978)

Rev. Harry Pender, 1965 – 1977

Rev. Sylvester Gaines – served as Associate Pastor (1973), became an Elder in 1979

Under the Pastorate of Rev. Dr.  Calvin P. Crosson: (Ordained an Elder in 1961)

Rev. Richard Adams (1978 – 1980)

Rev. John T. Smith – Ordained an Elder in 1990

Rev. William J. Booker (1981 – 1989)

Rev. Tina Miles

Rev. Dr. Vivian L. Martin-Jones (1987 – 1991)



Under the Pastorate of Rev. Dr. Depriest W. Whye, Sr.: (Ordained an Elder in 1956)


Rev. Tina Miles (1989 – 1992)

Rev. Thomas Moody (1990 – 1994)

Rev. Gertrude Greene (1992 – 1997) – Ordained a Deacon in 1997



Under the Pastorate of Rev. Dr. Alfreda L. Wiggins: (Ordained Elder in 1985)


Rev. Gladys Hawkins (1995 – 1997)

Rev. Gertrude Greene

Rev. Louise Holley

Rev. Rebecca Riley

Rev. Dr. Alfred Vaughn (Retired Resident Minister)

Rev. A. Orvis Farmer

Rev. Dr. Howard Hinson – Assistant to Pastor

Min. Darryl Foster – Candidate for Ordained Ministry

Min. Andrew Solice – Candidate for Ordained Ministry

Min. Mary Robinson – Candidate for Ordained Ministry

Min. Barbara Allen – Candidate for Ordained Ministry

Min. Carolyn P. Owens – Certified Lay Minister-2010

Sheryl C. Morsell – Certified Lay Minister-2010

Min. Michael Parker – Youth Minister

Min. Walter Wilson



Under the Pastorate of Rev. Dr. Bruce F. Haskins


Pastor Michael Parker – Appointed by Bishop John Schol (September 2, 12012) the Lead Pastor of  Fallston Enlarged Charge in  Harford County, MD. (Now New Beginnings Fellowship)

Dr. Mary E. Robinson – Candidate for Deacon in Full Connection

Min. Ettadean Hyman – Certified Lay Minister

Min. Christopher Allen – Candidate for Ordained Ministry

Min. Rebecca Riley

Min. Damion Cooper-Youth Pastor

Rev. Dr. Louise Holley-Retired Local Pastor

Rev. Gertrude M. Greene-Retired

Rev. Dr. Vivian Martin-Jones-Retired

Under the Pastorate of Rev. Dr. LaRessa Smith-Horn

Pastor Mary E. Robinson - Appointed the Lead Pastor of Essex United Methodist Church

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