Religions and Spirituality

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Historical Society Presents “Madison, Methodism, and Global Outreach”


MADISON – On Tuesday, April 16, the Madison Historical Society will present Drew University President, Dr. Vivian Bull and Dr. Christopher Anderson, Director of the Methodist Library and Coordinator of Special Collections at Drew, who will speak on Madison’s long-time relationship with the Methodist Church.  Their presentation, entitled “Madison, Methodism, and Global Outreach”   will take place at 7:15 PM in the Chase Room of the Madison Public Library, located at 38 Keep Street.  Light refreshments will be available from 7:00.

Dr.  Anderson will begin the program with a history of the Madison Methodist Church and the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Both churches have a unique proximity to the Theological School and the Methodist Archives housed at Drew University. Following Dr. Anderson’s presentation, Dr. Bull will carry the history of the Methodist Church into the present and future and will include a discussion of the church’s remarkable global outreach.

According to author Frank Esposito, members of the Methodist faith were meeting as a group in private homes by 1803.  Later they met in the upper room of the Madison Academy building, located at the corner of Park and Ridgedale Avenues, and subsequently in a room in Henry Keep’s umbrella factory at the corner of Prospect and Kings Road.  The congregation moved into its first dedicated church on the west side of Waverly Place in 1844, and in 1870, they moved again, this time to their current building on Madison Avenue, next to the Drew Theological Seminary. 

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Author William Parkhurst Tuttle stated that the Union Church was first established in 1853 for Madison’s African-American community in what is now the Fairwoods neighborhood. In the 1870s the church came under the supervision of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The present Bethel AME Church was constructed on Central Avenue in 1885.

Vivian Bull became Drew University’s President for the interim term in July 2012. Her appointment marks a return to Drew, where she taught for more than thirty years as a member of the economics department and eight years as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. In n 1992 Dr. Bull left Drew for Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon to become that school’s eighteenth president, serving in that capacity for thirteen years.  In addition to her duties as President of Drew, Dr. Bull is currently working with the Board of Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.  Dr. Bull received her doctorate from NYU and her BA from Albion College.

Christopher Anderson is Director of the Methodist Library and Coordinator of Special collections at Drew University.  He is also an adjunct instructor at Drew and serves as Librarian for the General Commission on Archives and History for the United Methodist Church.  He holds a Ph.D. from Drew, an M.L.I.S. from Syracuse University, an M. Div from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a B.S. from Houghton College.

The Madison Historical Society’s role is to assemble, record, and preserve all matters of historical interest concerning Madison and its residents.  Formed in 1922 to preserve the old Bottle Hill Tavern, the Society has organized a significant collection of historic documents, maps and photographs over the intervening years. These are housed at the Local History Center at the Madison Public Library.  For more information about the Society or to inquire about membership, call 973-377-0722, ext 8 or visit the Society’s website at



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