Mission and History

In November of 2006 Wiseburg celebrated its 135th anniversary. In 1871 the church was built on a piece of land deeded to the church by a Mr. Pleasant Hunter. We officially exist today thanks to Mr. Hunter and the leadership of Reverend J.C. Hagey. He was known as a circuit rider, traveling from church to church on horseback in the Shrewsbury Methodist circuit. When the actual church was built Reverend Charles Cleaver was the pastor of the church. The total price for the building of the church was $2318.32. At the time Wiseburg was included in the Pennsylvania district as boundaries were greatly extended in this period of time.Although the official Wiseburg Methodist church was completed in 1871, groups of people called "classes" were meeting at the Wiseburg Inn some 45 years earlier.

The current social hall of the Wiseburg Methodist Church is a former school hall originally administered by the nondenominational church that was meeting at the Wiseburg Inn in 1826. Churches were instrumental in the establishment of schools so one was built in 1847. Public education was taken over by Baltimore County and in 1871 the schoolhouse was sold to the county. Eventually enrollment at the Wiseburg School became too small for classes to be held there. The Wiseburg Methodist Church bought the Wiseburg School to be used as the social hall in 1921. Originally lighted by kerosene and heated by a pot-bellied stove this building has come a long way.

The original church constructed in 1871 was a brick building that had a steep roof, two doors in the front of the church and four tall glass windows on each side of the church. One of the first major improvements to the church was the addition of the narthex. Cold and rainy days were made more enjoyable in 1968 when the narthex was built. Although the Narthex cost more than the church itself to be built, the church came together and the entire project was paid for in two years.

1987 brought some unfortunate times for the Wiseburg Church, but often during rough times people find strength. At that time Wiseburg Methodist was part of the Parke Memorial charge and Wiseburg was told that they would split. Attendance was low at Wiseburg during this time and Wiseburg was on the verge of being closed to make way for a large "mega-church in northern Baltimore County. The parsonage next to the Parke Memorial church was under dispute. Even though written records and lawyers were involved, the congregation gave up fighting and turned to prayer. Wiseburg today is proof that prayer and leadership works, as it is still standing and active today.

Prayers were answered and Wiseburg was able to get the services of a small church consultant from the conference. Several all day Saturday meetings were held in the hall as Wiseburg struggled to define our future. Although not documented but prayed for in earnest was a minister to lead us in growth. Those prayers were answered when Pastor Carroll Brown arrived. Pastor "Brownie" grew both the congregation and the building. During a late night Christmas Eve service Pastor Brown's granddaughter came to visit the church. After the service she told her grandfather that she would not be back until Wiseburg got a bathroom in the church. Under Pastor Brown's direction the small church pulled together and built the Annex. The church which had been struggling to survive now built space for a pastor's office, recreation room, coffee room and two bathrooms. The ten-year loan was paid off in half the amount of time through fundraisers and hard work by the congregation. Selling bricks, doors, mugs, and donations, along with a lot of hard work and prayer allowed the Wiseburg United Methodist Church to stay running as well as grow.

Fellowship memories include the chicken dinner, the bus trips, and the many activities at the hall. The Wiseburg chicken dinners are the first Saturday in May and the third Saturday in September. The dinners started as a a fundraiser as attendance was down and funds were low. At one point we had turned the heat in the hall down to keep the pipes from freezing to save money. Ken Spicer suggested we try the chicken dinners. We had tried a spaghetti dinner, which did not work. Mr. Gettle, who had cooked chickens at another church, show us how to cook the chickens. After one dinner we seemed to have found a good thing. Mr. Weaver make the grates for cooking the chicken. Ken still wishes we made the grates entirely out of stainless steel. After twenty some years of chicken dinners they are still raising about $7000 per year for Wiseburg. All goods needed for the dinners are donated by members of church with the exception of the chickens which enables this impressive profit on only 300 to 500 dinners.In the past several years the congregation has invested over $18,000 in improvements to the kitchen in Fellowship Hall to meet county health code standards for equipment. This investment is not only an act of fiscal importance, but an act of faith in the congregation's strength and future.

Activities are plentiful at Wiseburg. Currently under the direction of Rosa Baer one of the first bell choirs in the area was started at Wiseburg in 1989 and still going strong today. 2003 was the year the Wiseburg Cherub Choir started singing at the top of their voices and from the bottom of their hearts. Sunday School services are held for pre-school through high school age children. The Bibles and Bagels study group meets on Sunday mornings before worship begins.

Another meaningful way that Wiseburg spreads worship is the annual Vacation Bible School held for a week in the summer ending with a family picnic. Wiseburg even participated in the first annual Hereford parade with a float representing the church and the upcoming bible school.Wiseburg Methodist is a small but strong church with a lot of history. Through 135 + years it's members have worked together through prayer and hard work to thrive at anything put in front of them. When asked why people come back to this church many people said because it feels like home. Wiseburg is a family. A family that is always changing, growing and adventuring in new projects through the works of God.

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