625 S. 3rd Street, Camden, NJ
Some of this page is derived from The Centennial History of Camden Methodism, published in 1909.
In the year 1884 a mission, located on Pine street near Locust, Which, had been under the care of Fifth Street M.E. Church for some time, not proving very successful was transferred to the care of Broadway church.
It was then known as Eagle Hall Mission and was taken in charge by George Davis, who conducted a successful Sunday school in connection with the Mission work.
In 1885 the property on Pine street was sold for $700.00 and a lot purchased at the Southwest corner of Third and Beckett streets. On this corner a very pretty and substantial church building was erected at a cost of $5191.27. It was dedicated in October 1885 as the Wiley Methodist Episcopal Church, but it continued for five years as a Mission under the care of Broadway church. The services were conducted by Local Preachers connected with that church usually Dr. Street or Daniel B. Green until the year 1887.
In that year the Conference appointed Rev. H. N. Cheeseman to this charge in which he continued for three years, Rev. S. H. Hann succeeding him in 1890 at which time Broadway church conveyed the property to the Wiley M. E. Church organization free of all debt except a mortgage of $2,500.00.
During the third year of the pastorate of Rev. S. H. Hann a very comfortable parsonage was erected on the Third street lot adjoining the church at a cost of $2,600.00. The sum of $1,000.00 was raised and paid in cash on the operation and a mortgage for $1,600.00 placed on the property.
The Rev. J. E. Willey became pastor in 1893 and was followed in 1896 by Rev. W. A. Massey who served the charge for three years, he being succeeded for two years by Rev. H. S. Gascoyne.
In 1901 Rev. C. I. Fitzgeorge became pastor and under his leadership the first determined effort was made to reduce the indebtedness on the property the result being a reduction of $500.00 before his pastorate ended in 1904.
When Rev. Alfonso Dare became pastor he found the church, a frame building which had weathered the storms of two decades and had been very much neglected, greatly in need of repairs, as well as being quite incapable of accommodating the large and increasing Sunday school connected with the church.
As soon as sufficient funds were secured to warrant doing so, a, reconstruction and improvement of the property was commenced. The building was raised, the basement being made into a very comfortable Sunday school room with library, class room and kitchen.
The cost of these improvements with furnishings secured at this time amounted to $3,751.39 all of which together with $400.00 of the previous indebtedness was paid in full during the three years in which Rev. A. Dare remained as pastor of the church. His pastorate was noted for activity along all lines, a spirit of revival was strong throughout, and the church progressed spiritually and in numbers, as well as being placed in good financial condition.
The Rev. W. S. Ludlow, the present pastor, took charge in 1907.
Wiley has been noted throughout its history for its spirituality and many very successful revival seasons have been witnessed within her precincts.
Her Sunday school work has been carried on by faithful Superintendents as follows: George Davis, to 1888; P.D. Hughes, from that time to 1907; and by John Delamater, Jr., to the present time.
Four young men trained in our Sunday schools have gone forth to preach the Gospel: Charles Gray, Isaac Christman, Joseph Fullerton, and Arthur J. Lumley.
The Quarterly Conference of the church at this time is as follows:
Pastor, Rev. W. S. Ludlow; Exhorter, Albert Knox; Class leaders, S. P. Hutchinson, John Delamater, Jr.; Secretary of Official Board, John Barnett ; Treasurer, Ferdinand S. Smith ; President Board of Trustees, S. R. Devault ; President Ladies’ Aid, Mrs. W. Conine; Stewards, W. D. Bruce, J. N. Conne, William Conine, F. J. Tushingham, E.M. E. Stone, Horace Heulings, Joseph Ward, John Allen; Trustees, Arthur Heron, James Heron, Samuel W. Barrett, Samuel O. Godfrey, William Prosser, James Bishop.
Rev. Ludlow was succeeded as pastor by Rev. John R. Read, who was serving in that position in 1910. Rev. Read’s son, Sergeant Major J. Howard Read, after surviving the fighting during World War I, died in France of pneumonia in 1919.
In March of 1927 Rev. John S. Hackett was assigned as Pastor to revitalize and lead Wiley Methodist Episcopal Church. Therefore, he found himself concerned not only with the spiritual needs of his congregation, but greatly involved in the many needs of the community who at that time were suffering with deprivation. He and his small congregation began to deal with those problems. The first program set up a breakfast for school children. This advanced into a feeding program for whole families which included an evening meal. By 1934 Wiley was caring for as many as four hundred men per day in the Old Post Office Building in Camden. A radio broadcast began in the 1930s as well. In 1935, a lady came to Rev. Hackett and told him that the Lord had impressed her that a ministry to the aging should be included in the ministry of Wiley Mission. With the help of a faithful congregation, he proceeded to set up this plan. Mother Johnson became the first resident and was the inspiration for this work in its care for the weak and infirm.
On April 19, 1939 the outreach to the needy had grown to such proportions that it was necessary to incorporate the Wiley Mission. It was granted a charter on that date under the church act of the State of New Jersey. The church on South 3rd Street itself was no longer active by the time the 1940 City Directory was published, however.
In 1940 Wiley began to dedicate all of its efforts in health care to those in sunset years. A permanent location was established in Marlton, New Jersey.
Woven throughout this ministry is a philosophy of care that has never been lost over the years. When the founders of this work looked out of the parsonage window one day and saw two little children salvaging their breakfast out of a garbage can, Pastor Hackett said, “We will hit that thing!” This ministry has worked diligently and sincerely to alleviate the distress of poverty, the crippling of disease, and the weakness of the aging and infirm ever since.
Today Wiley Mission continues to dedicate itself to this philosophy of care. The Board of Trustees and congregation of Wiley Mission, intend to emphasize that this is a Christ-centered ministry, ministering to all. Some will have differing needs. Their background and economical standings will be different as well. Many will indicate certain spiritual desires, but to all there will be a program of care that will exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus and make Him known to men.
By 1934 Wiley was caring for as many as four hundred men per day in the Old Post Office Building in Camden. A radio broadcast began in the 1930s as well.
Coccia said boys living in the neighborhood saw the man enter an automobile, with lights out, immediately after the bomb wrecks the neighborhood. The car, they said, had been parked near the Coccia home with its front and rear lights out.
Camden’s double murder mystery remains unsolved. The rewards for the apprehension of the murderer now amount to $1,000.