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History of Metropolitan United Methodist Church

The history of Metropolitan United Methodist Church began almost two centuries ago. Its history is replete with examples of courageous men and women who sought to build a church with a secure future that addressed the needs of the congregants and the community at large. The significant events in the evolution of the church are presented briefly below.  

The present Metropolitan United Methodist Church had its early beginnings in slavery days under the leadership of Truman Pratt, a former slave. He gathered a number of persons together and began holding regular prayer meetings about 1825 in Scrabble Town in South Baltimore. Other unrelated religious groups also were worshipping independently throughout the community at that time.  

Truman Pratt and his followers soon moved to Union Street and later to Biddle Street near Ross (now Druid Hill). Around 1832, Rev. Jacob Gruber of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, came as an instructor and counselor to the group. Rev. Gruber moved the meeting place to Chestnut Alley, (now Bradley Street) near Pine Street. In Chestnut Alley, the home of Mrs. Caroline Bradley was used for Sunday school. Mrs. Bradley was assisted in teaching by Sarah and Louis Osborne.  

Upon the request of Mrs. Truman Pratt, her employer (a Mr. Moore) provided the site for a church building. That church, located at Orchard Street and Elder Alley, was called Orchard Street Church.  

In 1837, a small brick church was erected and dedicated by the Rev. Mr. Gruber. In 1850, an additional one- story building had to be constructed, but soon was converted into two stories.  

In 1864, Orchard Street Church was brought into the Washington Conference. Rev. Richard Bell was the first of 25 appointed pastors. In 1869, during the pastorate of Rev. Henry A. Carroll, the church was renamed Metropolitan.  

In 1927, it was announced that Grace Methodist Episcopal Church on Carrollton Avenue and Lanvale Street was planning to move and would soon abandon its beautiful gothic edifice. With the cooperation and sympathetic understanding of the pastors and boards of both Churches the former sites of Grace Church and its parsonage were transferred to Metropolitan Church for the sum of $110,000. The Metropolitan congregation occupied its present building in March 1928 under the pastorate of Rev. Ernest S. Williams.  

Rev. Williams was followed by Rev. CY, Trigg, Rev. Fairfax F. King, Rev. Ely Lofton, Rev. Kelly Jackson, Rev. Frank Williams, Rev. Ernest P. Clark, Rev. Dr. Irvin C. Lockman, Rev. Dr. Louis Shockley, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah G. Williams, Rev. Michelle Holmes Chaney, Rev. Eric Wellington King, Sr., and the current pastor, Rev. Dr. Howard W. Hinson.  

Several Methodist churches are outgrowths of Metropolitan Church: Ames Memorial, Whatcoat, and Orchard Street.  

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