Our History and What We Believe

Read all about the 2015 Annual Conference at http://www.gnjumc.org/news/detail/1080

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.

Turn of the Century

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.
     In 1933, Porchtown was put on the circuit with Franklinville Church; and in October 1956, it was put on the circuit with Friendship Methodist Church in Monroeville. In recent times, it was on the Franklinville Church circuit again. In 2002, the church gained its own identity and flourished once again with the faithfulness and zeal of its original members. Current members celebrate their Shared Ministry with Malaga United Methodist Church - all to the glory of God and His Great Grace.
     Over the years, the church and social hall buildings were maintained, painted and  upgraded including new siding, a white picket fence, front porch, paved driveway and landscaping adding to its quaint beauty. With the purchase of the trailer plus the home and land adjacent to the social hall, we share a vision of more growth and prosperity as we continue to faithfully make Disciples for Christ.

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!

What We Believe

  • 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.  

The Apostle's Creed

"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.  

Porchtown's Pond

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.
   Fish swim in schools for protection - and the greater good of the group. Just as fish live in schools, so, too, must Christians live in a community.   After their conversion, the early believers in Acts Chapter 2 gathered together to study the word, fellowship, worship and break bread -- all done together to edify, unify and strengthen the body for the glory of God. There is no such thing as an individual Christian or an individual Church; we are all connected through the binding love of Jesus Christ.

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.