Newtown United Methodist Church
Our History (provided by Rev. Sue E. Klein)
In 1800, the people called Methodists began to gather across the river on George’s Hill,
led by Sally Curtis. About the same time, there was Methodist preaching at the residence
of Mrs. Phebe Peck on the Brookfield Road. Not long after that, John R. Wheeler moved
into the old house recently purchased as a building spot for the Episcopal Church. He
invited Levi Bronson and Joseph Pierce, the first Methodist preachers in the village.
Samuel Merwin preached the first sermon by an itinerant minister of the Methodist
A class was soon formed, in the Wesleyan tradition, and in 1805, Isaac Sanford was
appointed leader with twelve members under his care. Preaching and other meetings
were held in members’ homes. A continuous succession of preachers led the ‘Newtown
Society’ until 1850, when the Rev. Nathaniel C. Lewis presided over construction of the
church building standing today. The Sandy Hook Church was part of a circuit of the
New York East Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
A parsonage was built on the comer of Walnut Tree Hill and Church Hill Road in 1859.
In 1900 the Sandy Hook Church was made an independent charge and the semi-
centennial of the church was celebrated. In 1917 Deaconess Elsie F. Stowe was
appointed to serve the Newtown charge and later became the first woman ordained by the
Methodist Church in the New York East Conference. In 1935, women of the church led a
fundraising drive to bring electricity to the building, and in 1936 hosted the first united
Lenten service which included the Congregational, Trinity and St. John’s Episcopal:”
The first pastor to serve full time was Rev. Kenneth E. Halcott in 1963. When, on the
national level, the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodists merged in 1968, the
United Methodist Church was formed. The Rev. Eugene Crabb presided over the moving
of the sanctuary building in 1972 across Church Hill Road to the 14 acre site where it is
today. In 1984, a new parsonage was built in the upper meadow of the property, and in
1988 the Sandy Hook fire department conducted a controlled burning of the old Wesley
Hall barn to make way for the new Wesley Hall, which was dedicated by Bishop Forrest
Stith in 1992.
Today the congregation numbers over 600 members, with approximately 150 children in the Church School
and another 150 children attending Wesley Learning Center, a nursery school and
kindergarten. A strong dedication to God, a close commitment to Christ, and openness to
the power of the Holy Spirit are all undergirded by continuing prayer. Mission Outreach
is important to us as is Education, Worship, Sacred Music, Care and Support. Our monthly Spaghetti Suppers draw the Newtown community together.
The purpose of the Newtown United Methodist Church is to invite all people, as a family, to know and worship God, and to equip them to offer Jesus’ love, forgiveness, healing, and justice to the community and the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In February 2011, Newtown United Methodist Church became a church of Stephen Ministry. In Stephen Ministry congregations, lay caregivers (called Stephen Ministers) provide one-to-one Christian care to the bereaved, hospitalized, terminally ill, separated, divorced, unemployed, relocated, and others facing a crisis or life challenge. Stephen Ministry helps pastors and congregations provide quality caring ministry for as long as people need it.
We invite you to share the vision of ministry with us!
NUMC is a member of the Connecticut Central District – With Christians of other communions we confess belief in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And . . . The New York Annual Conference
The NUMC Staff
Reverend Mel Kawakami, Senior Pastor
Reverend Richard “Dick” Yerrington, Associate Pastor
Reverend Sue E. Klein, Deacon
Rahnna Peck Director, Wesley Learning Center
Barbara Carlson, Church Secretary
About the NY Annual Conference
The New York Annual Conference – “Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church.”
We are a regional unit of United Methodist churches and people. The conference includes all of Long Island, New York City, Connecticut west of the Connecticut River and an area on both sides of the Hudson River as far west as Walton and as far north as Chatham and North Blenheim. More than 144,000 people belong to about 500 United Methodist congregations in this area.
OUR VISION -
The New York Annual Conference through the grace of God embodies a beloved community of hope, building up a healthy Body of Christ, with heart-warmed United Methodists in mission for the transformation of the world.
Who are we?:
We are a diverse people. As United Methodist people of the New York Annual Conference, we trace our ancestry to all but one of the seven continents of the world: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. We have significant ethnic constituencies from South America, Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, Korea and China.
Our conference provides opportunity not only for cross-cultural pastoral appointments, but also opportunity for the laity to gather in multi-cultural settings for a diversity of worship experiences and traditions.
Our music varies from traditional and classical to experimental, praise and gospel. Our prayers are always from the heart, by they formal or spontaneous.
We are a people of the Bible, reading many translations and basing our life decisions on Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. We cherish our 255 year-old heritage initiated in 18th century England by John Wesley. Our faith vision focuses on the future God has opened for the people call United Methodist.