Church History

"The Little Church by The Brook"

The founders and early members of Galilee greatly influenced our heritage by enhancing the contributions of African Americans to Methodism. Founded in the year 1913, great sacrifices were garnered by early church members so that God’s given vision would come to fruition.

- In 1905, Rev. Edward L. Pearson Sr. and Rev. Frank D. McQueen, former members of the Mother Church in Bennettsville, South Carolina, began Sunday School classes at the home of Rev. McQueen in Englewood, New Jersey. The ‘Little Mission’ was chartered and named Galilee Methodist Church in 1913.

- From 1914 to 1917, the building of the “Little Church By The Brook’ became a reality as Rev. Pearson, Rev. McQueen and French J. Hines mortgaged their homes and sold personal liberty bonds as collateral for the construction and completion of Galilee. The church steadily progressed until experiencing severe difficulties during the years of the depression. Dedicated ministers in the early years were Rev. M.A. Thomspon, Rev. J.A. Williams, Rev. E.W. Dean, Rev. D.M. Collins, Rev. W.A. Johnson, Rev. F.C. Kershaw.

- In 1937, the church mortgage was liquidated under the pastorate of Rev. A.A. Bolden.

- In 1949, a parsonage was bought on Forest Avenue in Englewood under the ministry of Rev. A.A. McKenzie.

- In 1952, The ministry of Rev. Walter S. Taylor launched an era of broad religious, educational and social change. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by fire in 1958. Local and national assistance in the rebuilding efforts gave new dimensions to Galilee’s growth.

- In 1959, Galilee became the first Negro church to enter the Newark Conference.  

- In 1960, the cornerstone for the new church on Genesee Avenue was laid. Dr. Charles Parlin, known for his outstanding lay leadership, was most supportive in these rebuilding efforts. The building was completed and consecrated on September 25, 1960.

- In 1968, the Methodist churches united with the Evangelical United Brethren churches. Galilee officially became Galilee United Methodist Church.

- From 1972 to 1975, Rev. Walter S. Taylor served as Mayor of Englewood. Extensive programs were instituted to promote social political changes in housing, education, employment and racial segregation. “The Torchbearer of Northern New Jersey,” a black owned and operated newspaper was published weekly b Rev. Taylor and members of the congregation from 1980 to 1984.

- In 1981, “The Good Shepherds” were organized into small closely-knit groups to more adequately address the physical and spiritual needs of the membership. This joint venture of Rev. Taylor and Ms. Alice Benekin resulted in increased spiritual growth at the time. Galilee sadly experienced the loss of Dr. Walter S. Taylor in June of 1984. The internment was held at Galilee, the site of his many years of dedication.

- In July of 1984, a plaque honoring Rev. Taylor was permanently installed in the Hall of Honor at Englewood Hospital through the auspices of the Friends of Dr. W.F. Wiloughby.

- From 1984 to 1985, Dr. Dennis Fletcher served as Interim Pastor. Under his leadership, additional church properties were purchased. On June 16, 1985, Dr. B. Milton Hargrove was appointed as minister after having served as the District Superintendent for the Northern NJ Conference.

- On June 5, 1988, post graduation from Drew University Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Edna Dismus, the first sponsored Galilee member to be ordained a Deacon, was assigned as a missionary to Tobago, West Indies.

- On June 16, 1991, Rev. Fletcher J. Bryant assumed the leadership of Galilee, following the retirement of Dr. Hargrove. The ministry of Rev. Bryant was focused on youth and family. Enhancing the physical, mental, social and spiritual growth of Galilee are community programs to feed the homeless, art, dance, travel, summer bible study for youth and adults.

-In 1995, Rev. Martin was appointed the pastor. During this time he held a fifteen year appointment. During this time, the ministry expanded to worshiping in creative ways such as in the park, and increased evangelism presence in the community. Also, most noted under his leadership a street was re-enamed Rev. Walter S. Taylor Way.

- In 2010, Galilee made another significant stride in it’s legacy. Rev. Sheree Dobbs-Johnson was appointed as the first female pastor since its’ inception. The ministry of Rev. Sheree Dobbs-Johnson cultivated care and nurture within a community that helped to pave the way for others to follow behind her. Rev. Dobbs-Johnson’s ministry lasted at Galilee until her retirement in June 2015.

-In 2015, February 12-22:  Holy Land Tour to San Francisco and Hawaii. June 6:  Rev. Sherrie Dobbs-Johnson, New Life Retirement Celebration honoring her leadership and service from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2015.  She introduced Children's Time, Joys and Concerns to the worship service, Spiritual Growth Studies and the Good Friday Community Walk and witness.  She encouraged expanding community ministries know as "Love in Action."  Galilee's Community Outreach and Development, Inc. held its first annual "Free Market" for people facing financial difficulties. July 1:  Pastor Shivonne McKay was appointed Supply Pastor to Galilee United Methodist Church.  Rev. Betty Horne, retired pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, Paterson, New Jersey supported Pastor McKay as mentor and with administration of Sacraments.  November 22:  Galilee United Methodist Church's 102nd Anniversary celebration.

-In 2016, July 1:  Rev. Elouise Hill-Challenger was appointed Pastor of Galilee United Methodist Church.  July 10: Rev. Hill-Challenger was received as pastor through Holy Communion appointment ceremony.  Following the worship service, a celebration luncheon was held to welcome Pastor Hill-Challenger and her family. December 4:  Galilee United Methodist Church's 103rd Anniversary celebration.

-In 2017:  November 12:  Galilee United Methodist Church's 104th Anniversary celebration.  Theme:  "Rebuilding and Strengthening With Vigor and New Fire"

-In 2018:  November 11:  Galilee United Methodist Church's 105th Anniversary celebration.  Theme:  "Building Bridges of Hope"