Stanhope United Methodist Church (SUMC), also known as the “Church in the Glen,” is located at 2 State Route 183, in the Borough of Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey. It is situated on a large parcel directly across from Lake Musconetcong and is immediately adjacent to the Musconetcong River, which forms the boundary between Netcong in Morris County and the neighboring Borough of Stanhope, which is in Sussex County.
Pastor Lynn Zaremba
Organist: Angelo Benincasa
100 Years of History
Prior to the location of the church in Netcong, the Methodist Episcopal Church at Lockwood was built in 1835. It was located at the current location of the Lockwood Cemetery on Route 206 in Byram, NJ. The church was a large frame building with galleries. As the congregation grew, the house was filled and overflowing during services and ceremonies. In addition, the building was deteriorating due to sustained damage. The Lockwood Church, then considered the center of the community, served area residents for eight years. During this time, Methodist Bible classes were taught in a plaster mill along the Morris Canal. The plaster mill was used from 1835-1843.In 1844, the congregation moved to a location on Linden Avenue in Stanhope. John McGowan and Joseph Crane built the church building. The church was a tall, frame building with a steeple and remained in use until 1920.In the early 1900s, the growth of the community deemed the building of a new church to meet the needs of the congregation. In 1915, the Trustees began soliciting donations. Mr. Abram J. Drake donated the land in Netcong at the dividing line between Netcong and Stanhope. Mr. Drake was one of the founders of Netcong and the Borough’s first mayor. Although the new location was in Netcong, the name was kept as the Stanhope Methodist Episcopal Church to reflect membership from both towns. The laying of the corner stone of the new church took place on July 28, 1917. The construction was completed in October 1920 at a cost of about $20,000. The new building became known within the community as “The Church in the Glen.” The dedicatory services of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Glen were held from October 24 through October 31 in 1920.
In 1939, the Stanhope Methodist Episcopal Church changed its name to the Stanhope Methodist Church after a district-wide union of Methodist churches. The church paid off its mortgage in 1944 but waited until shortly after Rev. Henry Bowen returned from World War II to acknowledge the accomplishment. A celebration of the burning of the mortgage was held on October 20, 1946. On April 23, 1968, the United Methodist Church was created when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church merged at the Uniting Conference in Dallas, Texas. This union changed the church’s name to its present form. The church was designed by Floyd Yard Parsons, an architect whose practice was based in New York City, but was a New Jersey native who resided in Paterson, New Jersey. The building was started in 1917, but was delayed by the onset of World War I; it was completed in 1920, following the end of hostilities. For the design of the SUMC in Netcong, Floyd Parsons elected to work in the Tudor Gothic Revival style, and executed in native fieldstone. The contractor for the new church was the local company of Gallo Brothers Construction Company, based in Netcong. The principals of Gallo Brothers – John and Michael – were prominent businessmen and community leaders in their own right. The green tile roof was donated by Dorson S. Drake, in memory of his father, Abraham J. Drake, who donated the new site for the church. The bell in the tower was fabricated by the Meneely & Company of West Troy (now Watervliet), New York, a well-known and respected bell foundry in North America during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Church histories report that it was originally donated to the first 1844 Stanhope Methodist Episcopal Church by parishioner Andrew Rose of New York City and later installed in the new church in Netcong.
The church organ was built to Mr. Charles Timbrell’s specifications and was first played by him at the opening week’s dedication services. The sanctuary was designed as a large open space without columns or other obstructions that would block the sightlines between the congregation and the chancel. A combination of chestnut, oak and mahogany adorns the sanctuary. The room is cruciform in shape. The space is unified by the arrangement of the wood pews, which gently arc across the nave, focused on the chancel. The dark wood ceiling of varnished bead board installed between the wood beams includes nine original chandeliers, four on each side and one in the center. There are also 10 wall sconces on the interior Sanctuary walls which are also original.
The stained-glass windows depict Christian symbols and scenes from the New Testament. The windows in the sanctuary are tripartite, with substantial mullions dividing the opening into a large central window and two smaller sidelights. The windows that flank the sanctuary list memorials “in dedication” and were donated by prominent area families. The seventeen stained glass windows of SUMC are an important architectural feature of both the interior and exterior. According to Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc., the windows were fabricated using American Cathedral glasses (transparent colored glass with a mechanical finish imparted by a roller) and American opalescent glasses (opaque multi-colored glass). The glass is handmade, mouth-blown antique glass, painted in the traditional “Trace and Matte” technique of glass painting. The Bostedo and Powers families donated the two round windows in the chancel known as “The Good Shepherd” and “In the Garden.” Located in the inner balcony/bell tower above the front entrance of the church is the “Jesus in the Clouds” window. Given in honor of Rev. Normal P. Champlin, Pastor 1916-1919. These two windows and the large window in the inner balcony/bell tower contain 3-dimentional portraits of Jesus of Nazareth achieved by painting on glass. The 1965 school addition was built in such a way as to have minimal impact on the historic church building. Great effort was made to preserve the original structure of the church and make it compatible with the historic appearance of the church.