Welcome to Church Hill United Methodist Church
Monday, August 21, 2017

Our History

 
In 1807, a circuit was formed incorporating all of the Methodist Churches between Dorchester and Duxbury.  With no formal church buildings, meetings were held in private homes.  The first meeting in Norwell took place in 1844, at the home of Mary and Sam Stetson.  Later meetings were held at the school and the Union Hall on Common Street.  As the meetings grew in size, a decision was made to build a church, The Methodist Episcopal Church of South Scituate.  The present sanctuary was completed in 1852, the money for building it was raised largely through the sale of pews.
 
Following the Civil war and the storm of 1898, the economy of the area declined and the church members found themselves struggling to continue.  Each time, through the grace of God, members such as Melvin Little, Betsey Tolman and the women of the South Scituate Methodist Episcopal Sewing Society dedicated themselves to furthering God’s work and Church Hill was able to go forward.  Melvin Little was Sunday School Superintendent for 43 years. Through the generosity of Betsey Tolman, the sanctuary was raised and a vestry built.  She established an endowment fund and also gave a cottage on Church Street as a parsonage.
 
The church name was changed to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Hanover, probably because of its close connections to Hanover Four Corners.
 
The early 1900s again saw a decline in membership due to the economy and possibly to the lack of continuity of preachers.  They were students from the School of Theology in Boston and usually served only one or two years.  In 1913, the furnace had to be sold to allow the church to pay its bills. Through the efforts of the Ladies Aid Society, with their bake sales, teas, and church suppers, the church was kept solvent.  The arrival of Rev. Mousley in 1927 brought about a positive change.  He chose to live in the parsonage and encouraged Ben Stetson to become Sunday School Superintendent. Attendance grew to 69 children.  Over 100 regularly attended worship.  However, there was still not enough money to afford a new furnace, and during the winter, services were held in the vestry.  By selling the parsonage, the church was able to afford heat in the mid 1930s.
 
By the 1940s the church was moving forward.  Membership was growing, and though there were financial hardships, there were improvements, such as a kitchen and bathroom in the vestry.  The church’s name was changed to The First Methodist of Hanover – Norwell.  In 1954 the church’s name was changed again to the Church Hill Methodist Church.
 
The 1950s and 1960s saw rapid growth in the church.  Being the only Protestant Church in the area, membership climbed to almost 400, with over 100 in the Sunday School in the late 60s. Fellowship Center was completed in 1960, with the work almost entirely contributed by the men of the church.  The church was able to support its first full time minister in 1960. From the 60s until today, ministerial appointments have steadily increased in length.  In 1968 our church name was changed to Church Hill United Methodist Church, after the Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren.
 
From the 1950’s until today, our church’s social, outreach, and educational programs were advanced with mission to local, regional, and national concerns, including Bridgewater State Prison, North River Nursing Home, the Appalachian Service Project, Dominica, North Carolina Mission Team, MainSpring House in Brockton, Long Island Shelter, and many others.  Groups within the church have sponsored educational, philanthropic, and social programs. Plays, talent nights, fairs, and church suppers are a large part of our history.
 
In 1985, our church was able to purchase Melvin Little’s former home, which is adjacent to the church.  This building includes Union Hall, the early meeting hall of the first Methodists in Norwell.  With this purchase, we were able to develop our parking lot, provide housing for our pastor, and build an addition to the Sanctuary that includes a parlor, bathroom, and vestry.