Grove’s Proud History
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, sent Francis Asbury, the first Methodist Bishop in America, as a missionary to Chester County where he organized a group of colonists into a Society named Goshen. These colonists continued to meet in private homes but soon needed a larger meeting place. They then met in a log school house near the corner of Grove and Boot Roads.
This group of colonists built a chapel of stone on land donated by a member of the group.
A larger two-story structure was built in 1844. The main entrance faced south toward the cemetery and the sanctuary was on the second floor.
In 1888 a new, larger building was constructed. By this time the tombstones were very close to the building, so the new church was built a little further east.
During the early 1950’s the church was struggling with financial problems and was without a pastor for months.
J. Holland Heck and William Zuschnitt continued to serve in all capacities to keep the church functioning.
The Educational Building addition was completed in 1959.
The sanctuary was renovated and carpeted in 1966. Bishop J. Gordon Howard re-dedicated the renovated church sanctuary.
In the middle 1980’s the church was expanded once more. A second floor was added to the Educational Building. Five new classrooms, a music room, a parlor, and a new vestibule for the sanctuary were added. The sanctuary was also modified.
At the June 2006 Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference a resolution was approved designating Grove as a United Methodist Historic Site.
In June 2009, Grove began a significant renovation which included the addition of an elevator to the church building as well as a a facelift to Asbury Hall–the main multi-use space at the church. These renovations were completed and dedicated in November 2009.
Grove celebrates its 240th anniversary with Bishop Peggy Johnson preaching at all three services, cake (of course) at coffee hour, and a series of nine educational bookmarks.
With the permission and endorsement of the Grove Cemetery Board, a new Grove of 18 trees was planted on April 6th. The trees planted were: One traditional Black Oak (a replacement tree for the oak removed February 2002), eleven trees from six different Oak species (White, Red, Black, Bur, Scarlet and Chestnut), four Sweetgums, one Beech, one Basswood and one Yellow Poplar.
After two growing seasons, the new trees planted in 2013 were doing well. New tree identification signs were put in place on April 4th to help visitors identify the young trees.
Grove’s growth and change is not defined by its buildings but by the dedicated clergy and laity who have continued over the years to praise and serve God. As we move forward, Grove will add more chapters to its long, rich and interesting history.