In 1792 meetings began and classes were held in the farm homes of a Mrs. Beaten and a Mr. Pratts. The training was Methodist and this was the beginning of the Mount Pisgah church. The training was Methodist and these classes were the beginning of Mt. Pisgah. As first, the group was called,”Methodist Society of Black People in Gloucester County,” then “Allenites,” and later,” People of Color belonging to the Methodist Society at Snow Hill,” and finally in 1808 to “Mt. Pisgah Methodist Society at Snow Hill.” The meetings continued in homes until 1808 when the first church building was constructed. The ground was purchased for 30.00 and materials were donated by Haddonfield Methodist Church.
In about 1812, Rev. Richard Allen, a circuit rider, rode frequently to Free Haven (now Lawnside) and preached. He declared the church was capable of ruling itself as opposed to remaining with the Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the United Methodist. The discussion of governing and control of the property become tenuous so a vote was taken and the” Allenites,” who supported Richard Allen won and retained the property. Later, Mt. Pisgah became a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Many of the churches that are now located in Lawnside were birthed out of Mt. Pisgah.To name a few, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Grace Temple Baptist Church and St. Luke United African Methodist Episcopal Church. There are also a couple of churches in Haddonfield that were also birthed out of Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church, and St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church.
Mt. Pisgah’s first church of 1808 was torn down and a new one was built in 1868 on Warwick Road. It was said to be larger and more beautiful with massive galleries and each side of the belfry and a choir box. The current edifice was built in 1911. Mt. Pisgah is also a charter member of the New Jersey Annual Conference.
Mt. Pisgah’s cemetery (for burial of its members) is located directly behind and beside the church. Mt. Pisgah’s cemetery is often visited because Rev. Jarena Lee, first female preacher licensed in the AME Church in buried here.
Down through the years, Mt. Pisgah has alway played a leading role in both the spiritual and civic life of the Borough of Lawnside (Free Haven/Snow Hill).
The current pastor is. Rev. Dr. Michael D. Chism