The Methodist Movement in Jamaica began when Captain Thomas Webb, a soldier in the British army, preached a sermon in Jamaica in 1776. He was converted by the preaching of John Wesley and considered himself Wesley's spiritual son. The captain played a key role in the founding of Methodism in New York and in other areas along the East Coast. Captain Webb, along with Phillip Embury began to preach here in Jamaica where his first wife's relatives lived. The first gathering consisted of 24 people, half of them Black.
The earliest record of a society in Jamaica dates from 1807. Eighteen members appeared on a class membership list. In 1811, the first church was erected on Division Street. It included separate entrances and seating areas for men and women.
At a quarterly conference in 1846, a committee was formed to build a new church. The site decided upon was located at the corner of Fulton Street and New York Avenue (now Jamaica Avenue and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, respectively).
By 1866, the church was too small and an acre of land was purchased at the corner of Fulton Street and Puntine Street (now 165th Street). The cornerstone of the third church was laid in 1894.
In 1920, the elevated railroad on Fulton Street disrupted church worship. The site on Clinton Avenue (now 164th Street near 89th Avenue) was purchased. On March 30th, 1924 the fourth church was dedicated by Bishop Wilson. The Depression, World War II and the movement of people further out onto Long Island forced the church to sell the buildings and land to R.H. Macy.
The fifth and present church was completed in 1949. The educational building named for Rev. Barton was added in 1966.
Today, First Church has members from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and South America, reflecting the wonderful diversity of Queens County where First Church has been serving for over 200 years.
Just as Jesus said in the Beatitudes, blessed are the poor and the hungry. Our mission is not just to love one another, but to make sure we spread the love of the Gospels everywhere.
We use both the Old Testament and the Gospels as the foundation for our faith and the inspiration for our daily lives. We put those teachings into practice at home and at work.
Rev. Dr. David Henry comes to us with a very diverse background and extensive years of experience. He recently came out of retirement to continue the spiritual development and guidance of this congregation. Along with his pastoral duties, Pastor Henry organized a Boys Scout troop, summer camp and relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy. He was also a member of the school board of trustees for the Mount Vernon School system. Their campaign's goal was to affect change in their struggling school system. In addition to the spiritual growth of the church community, he also believes that the church should "work collaboratively with community organizations, including other religious institutions, in an effort to provide services to and meet the spiritual needs of the community". Wishing Pastor and Mrs. Henry all of God's blessings as they continue on their mission.