Vernon United Methodist A History of Service and Growth
[Continuing from the 1967-68 Church Directory under Pastor Robert Koch]"The growing needs of the church were met when the church took a courageous step in 1964. They went into debt and a new addition was begun for a religious education building. It was built at a cost of approximately $25,000. The dedication ceremonies were held on October 11, 1964.
In June 1966, the Church once again took a big step as they hired their first full-time minister. Some thought it couldn't be done, but with the Grace of God we have survived and with his continued blessings, we hope to grow and become stronger with every passing day.
And now we seem to have come full cycle, as once the school was used to worship in, and now the house of worship is used as a school. Three rooms are rented by the Vernon Board of Education for extra classrooms. The Church is also used by other organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and is in use almost every night of the week, by one group or another. The church at the present time  has a membership of 174.
Now another chapter in the history of the Vernon Methodist Church is being written with the merger of the Methodist with the Evangelical United Brethren Church on April 23, 1968. The new name is the Vernon United Methodist Church."
[From the Anniversary Heritage Committee of the Vernon United Methodist Church. Prepared May, 1992:] Now, almost 25 years later, we are updating the life and times of the Vernon United Methodist Church, as Vernon is celebrating its Bicentennial, and the Reverend Samuel Chong is our Pastor.
In 1973-74, the church built a new parsonage on Route 517 and Dorfred Drive to replace the parsonage that had served the church as home to the ministers for 72 years. The old parsonage was sold in 1973. The Rev. John Kennedy and family were the first to reside in the new parsonage. The mortgage for the new parsonage was approximately $70,000 and was paid in full in 1980.
A committee on expansion was formed in 1981 and renovation was started in 1982 - an addition over part of the original sanctuary for classrooms, plus paving the parking lot.
The major change in the church structure was the complete renovation of the interior and exterior renovation of the church proper was finished in 1983. The dedication was held on August 4, 1985. On June 30, 1987, the Henry Haines memorial stepple was put in place, adding the finishing touch to the church building. The total cost for renovation and expansion was $122,000. With pledges and money from the Church Builders Association, and a grant from the Northern New Jersey Conference received, the balance of $90,00 from loans with the Northern New Jersey Conference, and with Sussex County State Bank will be paid in full November 1992, and June 1993.
The church was home to "My School," a preschool program from 1979-1980, and when the school moved to its new home, the downstairs was once again empty. A group of women got together to formulate plans for a thrift shop that would recycle good, usable clothing, small household appliances, jewelry, knck-knacks, baby items, and miscellaneous goods. The "Good News Thrift Shop" opened on October 9, 1982, and is still going strong [in 1982].
Outreach and Missions in 1982
The Vernon United Methodist Church of 1982 was a vibrant, active congregation that engaged proactively and sincerely with the community around it. Among the activities and programs listed in the Anniversary Heritage Committee's report are:
- Food Pantry all year long, with special baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas;
- Country Craft Festival in October
- The Cross and Flame newsletter
- The church music program, including a Senior Choir, Chancel Choir, Junior Choir (The Sunday School Singers), and a newly-formed Bell Choir;
- The annual Crop Walk, a benefit to feed the hungry;
- The Martha Circle, providing hospitality to members and visitors;
- Methodist Men's Fellowship, which provided scholarships to graduating High School Seniors, and participated in the church maintenance;
- Youth Group.