Strawbridge United Methodist Church (SUMC) was named for Robert Strawbridge, the first Methodist lay preacher in America. Strawbridge was the organizer of the first Methodist Society in the Baltimore area in 1753. He formed societies and converted the first native American preachers, including William Watters, Phillip Gatchand and Freeborn Garretson, Methodism’s “Paul Revere.”
The vision for what was to become SUMC began to materialize in 1982 when the Board of Missions purchased a 4.4 acre site for the second Methodist church in Kingwood. The congregation began worshiping February 19, 1984 at Creekwood Middle School, with The Rev. C. J. Taylor as organizing pastor. The church was chartered on May 20, 1984 with 137 members. The church moved into the new facilities at Kingwood Drive and Willow Terrace in August, 1987. A second addition was completed in Spring, 1997.
The Reverend. B.T. Williamson became the pastor of Strawbridge in June, 1992. Dr. Todd Miller joined the staff as Director of Music Ministries in 1994 and built a solid music program that continues today under the leadership of Reverend Laurie Purcell.
The Reverend Dr. Brad Ramsey was appointed Senior Pastor of SUMC in June, 1998. Once again, growth in membership and activities began to strain the limits of the church facilities, and in 1999 the church began planning for the next building expansion. Senior Pastor, The Reverend Ken Archer, and Associate Pastor, The Reverend Jeff Gage, lead the groundbreaking for a new sanctuary in 2000.
By Christmas, 2001, worship services had moved into the new sanctuary and the old sanctuary was converted to the multi-purpose Strawbridge Activity Center. The Reverend R. Winston Goens, Jr. was appointed Senior Pastor of SUMC in June, 2004. The Reverend Dr. James H. (Jim) Reiter was appointed Senior Pastor in September 2008. In November 2012, The Reverend Stanley Warfield was appointed Interim Sr. Pastor. The Rev. Dr. Todd Jordan became the seventh Senior Pastor of Strawbridge UMC on July 1, 2013.
What We Believe
United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. We share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities:
We describe God in three persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are commonly used to refer to the threefold nature of God. Sometimes we use other terms, such as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
• We believe in one God, who created the world and all that is in it.
• We believe that God is sovereign; that is, God is the ruler of the universe.
• We believe that God is loving. We can experience God’s love and grace.
• We believe that Jesus was human. He lived as a man and died when he was crucified.
• We believe that Jesus is divine. He is the Son of God.
• We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. (Christ and messiah mean the same thing—God’s anointed.)
• We believe that Jesus is our Savior. In Christ we receive abundant life and forgiveness of sins.
• We believe that Jesus is our Lord and that we are called to pattern our lives after his.
The Holy Spirit
• We believe that the Holy Spirit is God with us.
• We believe that the Holy Spirit comforts us when we are in need and convicts us when we stray from God.
• We believe that the Holy Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live obediently.
• We believe that God created human beings in God’s image.
• We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship with God.
• We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in order to be fully human.
• We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
• We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
• We believe that the church is “the communion of saints,” a community made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ.
• We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith.
• We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.
• We believe that the Bible is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
• We believe that Christians need to know and study the Old Testament and the New Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures).