Zion Church History
The land on which the Church, Cemetery and Social Hall presently stand was donated by the John Porch family (for whom the community is named) for the purpose of worshipping Almighty God. The church became incorporated in 1803. Original historical records of the church were lost when a fire partially destroyed the home of the late Enos Veil of Iona, NJ, where the papers were kept. In an excerpt from the book "History of Counties of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland, New Jersey," in 1828, "the people in the neighborhood determined to erect a house of worship, so they set about felling and hewing the timber and, in due time, the structure was completed." The church traditionally celebrates the date of its founding as April 26, 1834, the date marked on the church when the Zion Methodist Episcopal Church of Franklin Township was started. Among the prominent founders of the church were the families of John Porch, David Beasy, Matthias Crane, Reuben Langley and Pearson Farnesworth.
The present church building was erected after a fire destroyed the initial structure. The church during this period of time was flourishing. When the civil war ended, the nation was once again united and revivals were the most popular media draw of the day. During this pinnacle of activity, the church had two important elements of prosperity: faithfulness & zeal. People from nearby Clayton, Franklinville, Iona, Malaga and Elmer worshiped at this church at all-day meetings. Those coming from a distance were entertained and fed in nearby homes.
The church's sanctuary and open balcony used to be filled with worshippers with the choir and organ in the balcony. It is believed in the early 1890s that the church was closed for a time due to low membership. When the church reopened, Porchtown was on a circuit which included Malaga and Willow Grove.
During the early 1900s, with the advent of the horseless carriage (the car) the horse stable/wagon shed stationed across the street was faded out. It is not known exactly when the crescent moon was replaced with a modern rest room. Around 1927-31, the balcony was enclosed and a heater was installed. Around 1947-50, the enclosed balcony was divided into Sunday School rooms.
Visit www.umc.org to learn more about United Methodist Beliefs
The Mission of the Congregation of Porchtown Zion United Methodist Church is to welcome everyone like family by providing a safe and friendly place of worship and growth so that we might all live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our Vision Statement: As God's Children, We Worship w/Joy; Serve w/Humility & and Love without Condition!
God is bigger and better and closer than we can imagine.
The Bible is God’s perfect guidebook for living.
Jesus is God showing himself to us.
Through His Holy Spirit, God lives in and through us now.
Nothing in creation “just happened.” God made it all.
Grace is the only way to have a relationship with God.
Faith is the only way to grow in our relationship with God.
God has allowed evil to provide us with a choice, God can bring good even out of evil events and God promises victory over evil to those who choose him.
Heaven and hell are real places. Death is a beginning, not the end.
The church is to serve people like Jesus served people..
Jesus is coming again.
We can become more like Jesus.
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: who was conceived of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church**, the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."
The "Jesus" Fish
The Greek initials in the phrase "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior" spells the Greek word for fish: "Ichthus." The "Ichthus" fish is a sign Christians have used to identify themselves throughout history. One believer would draw the top half of the symbol in the sand and the other believer would finish the bottom half. That's when they knew it was safe to talk to one another about their faith.
We at Porchtown are inspired by the Ichthus and
believe God created man to be in fellowship with Him and one another. A
fish is a fish, even out of water -- but soon it will be a dead fish if
it stays out of water. A Christian is still a Christian out of church --
but soon he/she will be a dead Christian if he/she stays out of church.
If you don't already have a church home, we invite you to "jump into our pond" and fellowship with us!
The Gospels tell us of the early disciples being called from their profession as fishermen to become "fishers of men." So the fish is a reminder for us of the Great Commission in Matthew 28, "to go and make disciples of all nations." Every one of us is called to become "fishers of men." We'd love to have you come drop your line in our pond and fish at Porchtown Zion United Methodist Church.