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The members of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church are the spiritual descendants of Baltimore’s first African-American congregation, established in 1787. Over two centuries ago a group of African Americans found their dignity compromised in a church where racism existed. These men and women left the Lovely Lane Methodist Church to form a separate fellowship where they could embrace the liberating Spirit of the God they served. Under the direction of leader Jacob Forte, the “Colored Methodist Society” was formed. The members met in their homes until they obtained a building. In 1802, land was conveyed to the Trustees of the Society and they acquired their first building at 112-116 Sharp Street, hence the name Sharp Street Church.
To accommodate a migrating membership, the Reverend Daniel Hayes and the Trustees purchased a lot on Dolphin and Etting Streets to build the first church for an African-American congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. The present edifice was erected and occupied in 1898.
Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church, often referred to as the “Mother Church of African-American Methodism,” has been a leader in the struggle for spiritual development and human dignity. This pioneering church has led the way of religious, educational, humanitarian, social, and political causes. Two Methodist congregations honored the historical significance of our church by taking our name (Sharp Street, Chase, Maryland and Sharp Street, Sandy Springs, Maryland). Another congregation, now known as Mount Winans United Methodist Church, was begun as Sharp Street Mission. The Centenary Biblical Institute, now Morgan State University, began as Sharp Street Church school for ministers in 1867. The N.M. Carroll Home facilities for the aged were conceived by and named for a former Pastor of Sharp Street. The Mount Auburn Cemetery, once known as “The City of the Dead for Colored People,” was the first burial ground of its kind in the State of Maryland. The Community House built in 1921 as a dormitory for women coming to work or attend school in Baltimore, has been the site of many social, recreational, and programming activities. The Archival Center, 1205 Etting Street, was dedicated and opened in 1987 to display documents and artifacts showcasing the history of the church. In addition, the National Association for the Advance of Colored People (NAACP) during their formative years, held their meetings in the sanctuary of the church. Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church and the Community House were entered in the National Registry of Historical Places on July 21, 1987.
Today, we are “Boldly Building Up the Body of Christ” in the Upton Community. We are an active and vital congregation witnessing to the abiding love of God and the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through worship, study, and outreach.
“Making Disciples Who Make a Difference”
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