Our History

Historical Sketch
The historical Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church represents the union of two dynamic churches, formerly known as Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church and Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal Church.

Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church evolved from Old Asbury Methodist Church on a lot at the corner of Third and Walnut Streets. The lot was purchased in 1789, the same year that President George Washington was inaugurated. Bishop Francis Asbury was responsible for the establishment of Methodism in America. He ministered to blacks during his itinerant ministry, and delivered the dedicatory address on October 14, 1789. His travel companion was “Black Harry” Hoosier, who, despite his illiteracy, was an eloquent preacher. At the time, there were 43 white members and 19 black members, the latter being relegated to the church balcony. Under the leadership of Peter Spencer, the black members withdrew their membership from Old Asbury Methodist Church and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church at 9th and French Streets in 1805.

In 1813, a dissenting group withdrew their membership from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to form a new church, called the African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church. This church was rebuilt and, subsequently, renamed Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church on March 31, 1885. In 1886, the church was severely damaged by fire, and it was rebuilt in the same year. During the rebuilding operations, services were held in the Grand Opera House. On November 20, 1955, the same year as the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary with a culminating banquet pageant depicting the historic events of the church.

Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1920 in a house located on Forrest Street in Wilmington, Delaware by a group who migrated to Wilmington from the Clarksville-Frankford, Delaware area. The church was organized under the leadership of the late Rev. G.B. Coleman. His successor, Rev. J.E. McBride, a local minister of Simpson Methodist Church, moved the church to 14th and Claymont Streets. The opening service at the new church was held on September 21, 1942. The burning of the mortgage took place under the pastorate of the Rev. O’Connell Milbourne on September 26, 1958. Singing and praying bands became a unique feature of Mount Carmel. The month of November was known as band month, featuring bands from all parts of the Del-Mar-Va Peninsula and the Washington-Virginia area.

As a result of the merger of the Methodist Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968, Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal Church became Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, and Ezion Methodist Episcopal Church became Ezion United Methodist Church. In 1970 Ezion and Mount Carmel were made the Ezion-Mount Carmel Charge by the Peninsula Conference. The Rev. Felton E. May was assigned as the Senior Pastor, and Rev. Herman T. Moody, Sr. was assigned Associate Pastor. On February 14, 1971, the Ezion-Mount Carmel Church was officially merged and established the Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church.

Construction of the new church began in February, 1973. The Corner Stone Laying Ceremony was held on Sunday, March 31, 1974 and was conducted by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons State and Jurisdiction of Delaware. The new church operated under the belief, “There is hope.”