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CAMPHOR MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST
“Prior to 1917, there was no Methodist church in Scotlandville. A group of dedicated individuals, meeting in the home of James and Mary Bradford, decided to seek the guidance of the late Rev. Amos M. Taylor, pastor of Thompson Chapel in Baker, LA in their quest for a church. Rev. Taylor worked with the group and with the late Rev. J.A. Landry, the District Superintendent. Rev. Landry visited the community and met with the group composed of Mesdames Mary D. Haynes, Emma Haynes, Mary Haynes, Teatsey Kelly, Mary Bradford, Ada Hansberry, Messrs. William D. Haynes, Jordan H. Haynes, Willie S. Haynes, Bertrand L. Cook, Ernest Kelly, and James Bradford. The officers appointed by the District Superintendent were the President of the Trustee Board, James Bradford; the Sunday School Superintendent, William D. Haynes; and several other class leaders and stewards. The other members of the Trustee Board were Messrs Bertrand Cook, Secretary; William D. Haynes, Jordan H. Haynes, Willie S. Haynes, and Ernest Kelly. W.P. Thirkield was serving as conference bishop. Others who joined the church under Rev. Taylor were Edna F. Kelly, Elnora Evans, and Hartzell Bradford. Worship services were held in the Odd Fellows Hall located behind Sewell’s Variety Store.
Soon after the organization of the church, it was learned that a real estate company was donating property to various denominations. So the officers contacted the agent and were given a lot on Stilt Street where a frame building was erected with Messrs Minus Fields, John Douglas, and Ernest Woodard hauling the first load of lumber. The first church drive to finance the building was called a Stake Drive, and each person who drove a stake paid $1.00 per drive. Wallace L. Bradford, the son of the president of the Trustee Board, drove the first stake in the absence of his father. The church was named Taylor Methodist Episcopal Church. Several years later, through the effort of the District Superintendent and the pastor, $500.00 was donated by the Board of Missions. During those early years Bishop Thirkield visited the church and gave encouragement to the members. He donated the first organ and some lights.
The present site (three lots) was purchased by the General Church for $1000.00, and a donation of $2,300.00 was given for a parsonage. In 1922, under the direction of the District Superintendent, the late Rev. Walter Scott Chinn, who was also acting pastor, the church building was moved from Stilt Street to Scenic Highway and Teal Street. At that time the name was changed to Camphor Memorial Methodist Church, the second official name of the church, in honor of Bishop A.P. Camphor.
During the pastorate of the late Rev. George W. Carter, Jr., the idea of a new building was conceived, and a total of $185.00 was raised. Six years later, the idea materialized when the church was rebuilt from the floor under the pastorate of Rev. Leroy Fields, and the first pews replaced old chairs. Two rooms were added, under the direction of Rev. S.C. Walker, and changes were made in the chancel at a cost of $1300.00. The first pulpit furniture was purchased during the pastorate of Rev. R.W. Calvin, at a cost of $500.00.
For approximately ten years, beginning with the late Rev. James A. Williams when $958.00 was raised through the Spring Festival sponsored by the Senior Choir, the building fund continued with the late Rev. L.H.P. Norris, Rev. A. Robinson, and Rev. Wethers. The first plans for the present building were outlined by Rev. Robinson and later, by Rev. Wethers. The building we worship in today was erected in 1959 at a total cost of $117,000.00. Much credit goes to Rev. Wethers who gave strong and able leadership in his five years of pastorate, before he was assigned to the office of District Superintendent of the Baton Rouge District.
Following the pastorate of Rev. Walker, Rev. J.D. McCrory and Rev. Samuel W. Walker served the congregation. Under the leadership of Rev. Walker, more than $22,000.00 was raised and applied on the mortgage which was liquidated on November 6, 1965. That same month property for a parking lot was purchased at a cost of $10,500.00. The Dedication Service was held on January 30, 1966. In 1969, Rev. George W.C. Calvin came to Camphor. Under his leadership the church was given a physical uplift. The roof was repaired, and electrical wiring in the ceiling brought up to standard. In addition, the interior of the church was repainted, floors were re-carpeted, pews were cushioned, a new piano, and property adjacent to the church on the north were purchased.
In June 1986, Dr. Moses T. Jackson, Sr., former District Superintendent of the Baton Rouge-Lafayette District was appointed pastor. Under his leadership, substantial additions and renovations were made on the church. Lloyd Hinton, contractor, was authorized to begin renovating the church structure on May 11, 1989. At a cost of $363,000.00 the choir and pulpit areas were renovated; a new Fellowship Hall constructed; Sunday School classrooms, bathrooms, a library, and a first aid room were added. Offices for the pastor and secretary were relocated, and the vacant rooms converted into a lounge. A new parking area was paved and the existing parking lot was overlaid. The new structure was consecrated by Bishop William B. Oden, Resident Bishop of the Louisiana Conference on Sunday, February 11, 1990.
Rev. Roger D. Lathan came to Camphor from the staff of the Conference Council on Ministries on June 7, 1992. Under his leadership, Camphor continued its spiritual enrichment activities, community outreach and a strong financial base. Properties on Stilt Street and Scenic Highway, and Booker and Teal Streets totaling $63,500.00 were purchased. In addition, air conditioning and heating passages in the sanctuary were re-vented and renovations made in the chancel area. Stained Glass windows were donated by Dr. Marilyn Ray in memory of the founders and her family.
Our nineteenth pastor is Rev. Darlene A. Moore who came to Camphor in 2002. Under her leadership prayer groups have been strengthened, community outreach continues, and a partnership with the Baton Rouge Recreation Commission established the BREC/Camphor Handbell Choir, and with the Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Survivors. Also, a church van was purchased.”
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This page was last updated on Friday, 18-Nov-2011 11:43:06 CST.