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Our History

In the early 1870’s Methodist class and prayer meetings were held in East Providence at the homes of “Mother” Bowen on Freeborn Avenue and Mr. Barney on School Street and were led by members of Hope Street Church in Providence. On June 13, 1875, the first preaching service was held in Chedel Hall on the corner of First Street and Warren Avenue. On the same day, a Sunday School of ten classes was organized with an attendance of seventy. In October of the same year, Rev. Thomas Ely, a resident of East Providence, organized the church with 16 members.

The first Quarterly Conference was held on March 29, 1880, at which time the church was officially named “Haven Methodist Episcopal Church” in honor of Bishop Gilbert Haven, whose death was weeks earlier. Bishop Haven was known as a “radical egalitarian.” In April 1880, Rev. Benjamin Simon became pastor and plans were put into operation for a house of worship. In November 1882, the first building was erected on the present site at a cost of $3,000, with a land cost of $1,200. The Dedication Services were held on April 3, 1883, with Bishop Simpson officiating.

In 1887, during the pastorate of Rev. W.H. Starr, a chapel was added to the rear of the church at a cost of $1,300. Rev. John Oldham’s first year in 1895 was marked by the purchase of additional land. Special anniversary services were held on October 11, 1896.

Under the administration of Rev. Charles Davis, plans were adopted for a new church. The old building was sold and moved to another part of town where it was used as a mission hall for some years. The Town Hall across the street was rented and housed church and Sunday School while the new building was being built.

In June 1899, the cornerstone of the new building was laid and the building erected. Dedication services were held on January 16, 1900. Bishop Mallalieu preached the Dedication sermon. In 1927 the Fiftieth Anniversary of the church was observed by a Jubilee Week, October 16-23.

The building remained practically the same except for necessary repairs and redecorating until the fateful evening on March 12, 1929, when fire completely destroyed the entire building. Rising Sun Lodge of Masons offered the use of the beautiful rooms of the Masonic Temple. For eighteen months, until the new building was ready for occupancy, the church services and Sunday School were held at the Masonic Temple. Haven Church is greatly indebted to Rising Sun Lodge. The central location and pleasant quarters were great factors in holding people together and maintaining the church school attendance.

In 1922, a lot in the rear of the church on Alice Street was presented to the church by Fred C. Chace in memory of his mother, Abby A. Chace. Two additional lots on Alice Street and land adjoining the property on Taunton Avenue were purchased through the foresight of Dr. George F. Allison, president of the Board of Trustees.

The corner stone for the present church was laid on February 16, 1930. On Sunday, October 19, 1930 church services were held in the Assembly Room of the new building. January 18, 1931 was the first service held in the new Sanctuary. The present church was dedicated on November 1, 1931. In June of 2020, Haven United Methodist marked its 145th year.

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