Methodist Episcopal Church

Bivalve, Commercial Township

founded 18??, built c.1870
Bivalve, New Jersey

The L-shaped plan, the modest tower, and the small triangular pediments over the windows suggests that this was once a Methodist church, but a recent correspondent identified it as an AME church. A different correspondent disagreed. I was told there are occasional meetings in the summer, but I have no other information. It's in its last decade, judging by appearances. It might have been built anytime between 1870 and 1900, in my opinion.

Bivalve and Shellpile grew up on the Delaware Bay around Port Norris as shucking houses were established in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to accommodate the thriving oyster industry.

The plan is similar to the Methodist church in Imlaystown (Monmouth County) and was commonly adopted with slight variations by Methodist and Baptist congregations throughout the mid-Atlantic.

This is the Shell Pile Methodist Episcopal church, per this reference:

Quoting from above -
“About the middle of February of 1931, when the thermometer was below zero, urgent appeals came from the pastor of a church at Shell Pile, an oyster village on the Delaware Bay near Port Norris, New Jersey. Located here is a settlement of about eight hundred colored men, women and children, whose income ceases when the river freezes over. With the thermometer below zero there was no work available, and soon the little community was literally starving to death. Being frugal had only stretched their limited supplies into the month of February, then the shelves became bare, and, worst of all, no means of replenishing them.

The Mission workers know neither color nor creed. They have pledged themselves to the service of God, and by that act have pledged themselves to helping the lost, strayed and needy of the flock of the Shepherd, whether this help be spiritual or material. So when the distress call came from Shell Pile, these servants of God did not quibble about racial barriers, but as true workers in their Master's vineyard, prayed for guidance and God's blessing on their work.

Rev. Johns, pastor of the Shell Pile Methodist Episcopal Church, had sent the message of the lamentable circumstances surrounding his people, and that help was most urgently needed to save them from starvation and freezing.

Source: Cumberland County Churchscape Click Here

Port Norris Methodist Church