CHURCH HISTORY OF
St. Matthew AUMP Church, Havre de Grace, Maryland
Manley’s Chapel began circa 1880 as a family church and was housed in a much smaller building on its present location. The church was named “Manley’s Chapel” after its pastor, Reverend Manley. From 1820 to the 1900’s was a time of poverty, lack of education, and pursuance of cultural identity and economic equality. There was also a lack of care for the aged and a great deal of concern about deteriorating race relations. Negro churches were important meeting places at that time.
The African Union Methodist Protestant Church was an unincorporated association at that time and was unable to acquire or convey title to real estate. Subsequently, it was incorporated on May 11, 1921 under the name of Manley Chapel African Union Methodist Protestant Church and incorporated among the records of Harford County.
Sometime later, due to the conditions of the building, the members voted to build a new church. The then pastor, R.H. Jenkins, a carpenter by trade, built the present church. The church was dedicated on June 28, 1927 by Reverends J.W. Brown, J.H. Bell, S.C. Blackledge, and R.H. Jenkins and renamed Saint Matthew Memorial African Union Methodist Protestant Church
The growing St. Matthew Church struggled to maintain itself through this era of unrest into which it had been born, though its own debts and disasters made it difficult. Financial records of the church tell of the struggle to pay mortgages and electricity. The ladies, individually and collectively, raised money by having rallies, dinners, bake sales, and entertainments. Special celebration days and the activities of all the members helped make the payment of financial obligations. The help of the community and other churches was a large factor of their success.
Currently, St. Matthew exists as an active, sustaining member of the African Union Methodist Protestant Church and Connection and the community.