Posted: Aug. 13, 2017 12:01 am
During the late 18th century and early years of the following century, religious services in numerous parts of Sussex County were conducted by circuit riders. These were preachers representing different denominations and bringing the word of God to small outlying rural areas that had no structure built specifically to serve as a church.
During the first half of the 19th century, Sussex County witnessed the development of numerous churches that serviced the small hamlets, villages and outlying farm families in our rural communities. We witnessed the building of churches for the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and later Catholic sanctuaries.
Located at 919 Fairview Lake Road in Stillwater Township, the Stillwater Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1832. Constructed of fieldstone with a stuccoed exterior surface, the two-story main church building measured 34 feet in width by 45 feet in depth. The main entrance on the front of the church had a set of double doors with strap hinges. The second floor of the front had two double-hung windows. Both sides of the church had three double-hung windows on both floor levels. All of the windows were originally 12 over 12 sashes.
The altar-end of the church had two two-story lancet windows, each having multiple movable sashes.
The interior walls were finished with a simple plaster wash on top of the stone face and had a plastered ceiling. All of these surfaces were whitewashed. The pews were simple “straight-backed” board seating, set up so that there were aisles on both ends of a central set of pews, with shorter pews on the other side of the aisles.
The original pulpit was set on a high raised platform set on the middle of the rear wall. The church was heated by potbellied stoves that burned wood originally and later coal. The sanctuary was illuminated by the use of numerous oil lamps. There is a “horseshoe” balcony that runs along both sides and…