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early churches of New Jersey
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Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church
Port Republic, Atlantic County
Methodist congregation in Port Republic was an early one, founded
in 1796. By the time this large Wren-Gibbs style church was erected
in 1870, the Methodist church in New Jersey, which had been the largest
for almost half a century, was soon to be eclipsed by the Catholic
church. But Methodism would remain the dominant religion in south
Jersey for decades to come.
The plan of the church bears a strong resemblance
Methodist church in Williamstown (25 miles
away), erected 10 years earlier. Its style follows a long tradition perhaps starting
in London in the 1660s with the designs of Christopher Wren. The tower is rather
unusual in that instead of being multi-tiered as is common, the shaft is interrupted
by a couple of bands before getting to the steeple.
The building is celebrated for its design, although I find it heavy compared
to the soaring Presbyterian church in Westfield, for example.