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Lovely Lane United Methodist Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2019 Cohort

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

Baltimore, Maryland

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Baltimore is the mother church of American Methodism.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church by Lovely Lane Archives

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church by Lovely Lane Archives

2019 Cohort

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

Baltimore, Maryland

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Baltimore is the mother church of American Methodism.

The congregation was first established in 1772 as part of the reform movement of the Anglican Church of England; however, upon the start of the Revolutionary War in 1776, the congregation wanted to disaffiliate from a church guided by the king. The conference that established Methodism as a uniquely American church was held at one of the early locations of Lovely Lane UMC. Its current building was completed in 1884 as a centennial monument to the founding of American Methodism. Stanford White designed this church in a Romanesque Revival style under the supervision of Rev. John F. Goucher. The massive square tower references the campanile of a 12th-century church near Ravenna, Italy. Lovely Lane UMC helped establish the first free public school in Baltimore, 40 other churches, and the first women’s college in Maryland.

Lovely Lane UMC has partnered with educational, community, and cultural organizations since the 1970s. The church houses the Methodist Historical Museum and shares space with numerous civic groups. Through Partners for Sacred Places’ Arts in Sacred Places program, the congregation has forged partnerships with artists seeking performance and exhibit space. The congregation also supports unsheltered individuals, hosts overnight mission groups in the fellowship hall, enables youth summer camp opportunities, and serves as a stop on the Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s annual walking tour.

A $250,000 National Fund grant with over $1.5 million in matching funds raised by the congregation facilitated the completion of the Lovely Lane Arts & Neighborhood Center within the historic church. Work addressed urgent exterior repairs and upgraded building amenities such as restrooms to increase the use of the building as a “non-sectarian community facility,” improve the heritage tourism experience, and enhance sustainable operations. As a result of the completed project, the congregation has a newfound “belief in themselves to plan for the future” and can further envision Lovely Lane as a “vital gathering space.”

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church by Rev. Deb Scott

Spotlighting Women’s History at Historic Houses of Worship

Religious institutions have served both as a platform for the advancement of women’s rights and opportunities, and women have played critical roles in advancing religious traditions. The leadership and community building opportunities within these sacred sites have been critical to increasing female independence outside of the home and allowing women to develop institutions that strengthen their congregations and broader communities. The four historic houses of worship highlighted embody positive examples of how the histories of women and religion are inherently linked.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church by Melissa Webb

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez