We are Historic church in Shipley
As with any good story or novel, an interesting part of it is the "prequel", a word invented by the entertainment industry to create another story from one already successful. And so it is with the story of Zion's beginnings.
Believing we were just 100 years ago, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Zion in 1982-1983, the one hundred years since the deed from Grove A. Shipley and his wife fave the land for Zion Chapel. However, recent discoveries have given us that Zion is older than had been noted in those celebrations.
The History of Zion really begins with Morgan Run Schoolhouse. In all accounts of Zion's history there is reference to Sunday school classes being held in the school before the church was built. However, in looking over letters and information sent to one of our members some years ago by Mary Polster Ditman, we recently discovered that she had listed early ministers of Zion and beside the first one dated 1878, she had written the words "Schoolhouse". So it would seem that not only was Sunday School held in the School house, but church services were also held there with a minister being supplied by the Methodist Conference or perhaps someone in the area being inclined to preach in the community of Shipley.
Much of Zion's early history has been supplied in notes and letters from "Miss Mary", who grew up in the community of Shipley, went to Morgan Run School, taught at Morgan Run, was a member of Zion as well as its first Sunday School Superintendent. From here we tell the story as we have so much times before. In the fall of 1882, Grove A. Shipley and his wife Mary deeded "one acre, 1 rod and 18 perches of land"(1.36 acres) to trustees of Zion Methodist Protestant Church-- the denomination already established in the community. Mr. Shipley's deed reserved one-half of one-quarter acre for public burial and a plot for family burial. The document also specified that the grantor would give $100 in time and money to erect the church provided the building could be used before September 17, 1883. The church was built with a foundation to fieldstone and a brick exterior. It was a one room sanctuary with eight windows and two entrances. Stained glass windows were installed in 1913, donated by the Shipley, Hook, Wagner and Easton families. The Ladies Aid Society and the Sunday School donated the windows above the entrances.
The men of the church built a social hall in 1924. The additional was used for 51 years for church and community activities, scouts, church suppers and the Sunday School. In 1973 the congregation voted unanimously to build a two-story education building to house classrooms, dining room and kitchen. Groundbreaking was held April 1974; consecration, December 1974. After five years of pledging and fundraising, the debt was cleared and a service of dedication was held June 1, 1980. In 1984 an addition was built onto the original sanctuary, which allowed for an office, conference room and restroom.
Five women began the Ladies Aid Society (today's United Methodist Women) in 1897. This group has rendered valuable service through the years by sponsoring fundraising affairs to supplement the church budget and maintain the church plant. Much of the information in this history came from records of the Society left by deceased members. Under the records of one student pastor, the Rev. F. Bailey Phelps, a Methodist Youth Fellowship was organized. This group became strong and active within the district and provided many services to the church.
Today a new group of youth are flourishing under good counseling and pastoral leadership. They have joined other UMYFers in three ROCK retreats in Ocean City and made contributions to local charities. They are supported by the United Methodist Men who, themselves is a new group organized and active at Zion. The UMM has sponsored annual summer bus excursions to all games and theater productions.