The first assembly of Methodist people met at the home of John C. and Lucinda Mason on Winthrop Street on a Saturday evening April 15, 1871. Five days later, the first public Methodist preaching service was held in Union Hall, which was on the second floor of Sanderson’s store on Main Street at the corner of Park Street. Sanderson’s Store in 1871 Sanderson’s Store in 1871 In 1875, ground was broken for the first Methodist Church in Winchester. The wooden building was dedicated June 1, 1876 and stood on the corner of what is now Mount Vernon Street and Converse Place. This was the home of Methodism in Winchester for forty-five years. This would be directly across from the Public Safety Building and the Fire Station.
In 1921, the old church building was abandoned, while a campaign for a building fund went forward to meet the needs of a growing community. For three years, Waterfield Hall was rented for Sunday services. The hall was on the second floor of the building that stands at the corner of Church and Waterfield Streets. Smaller meetings were held in private homes. Under the leadership of pastor, Rev. Alliston B. Gifford, the membership continued to grow and be nurtured. It was fitting that Gifford Hall should have been named in his honor. In 1920, the Pattee estate, site of the present church, was purchased and in 1923, the cornerstone of the present church was laid.
The Lewis Pattee estate at Church and Dix Streets as it appeared at the turn of the century. The carriage house to the right is now the parsonage. Frank E. Crawford was a moving spirit with his enthusiasm, active participation, keen business judgments and generous cash gifts. However, he was not alone in his work for this church. All the church members and many townspeople helped to make this building possible. On September 14, 1924, the first Sunday morning service was held in the new building in the lower level of the church, later called Osborne Hall, as the sanctuary was not yet completed. The church building was formally dedicated on October 10, 1926. On April 9, 1928, it was voted to rename the church, Crawford Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church in appreciation of Mr. Crawford’s generosity and as a memorial to his wife. With growing membership, the need to expand the Sunday School accommodations was great. Completion of the wing was imperative. As in the past, the church people rallied and the wing became a reality. On the 90th anniversary in 1961, the mortgage on the wing was burned and the new unit was dedicated. In 1969, with the merger of the United Brethren Church, the name of our church was changed to Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church. Photos courtesy of the Winchester Archival Center.
Our current pastor, Anne Robertson, is the 40th pastor to serve at Crawford Church, dating back to 1874 when David S. Coles was appointed to the position:
- 1874-1876: Coles, David S.
- 1876-1877: Jubb, John E.
- 1877-1880: Cheney, George
- 1880-1882: Meredith, William H.
- 1882-1884: Leonard, Joel M.
- 1884-1887: Mansfield, John E.
- 1887-1892: Perkins, George H.
- 1892-1893: Dight, Alex
- 1893-1896: Holmes, Clement E
- 1896-1899: Spaulding, Charles E.
- 1899-1899: Harvey, Francis B.
- 1899-1901: Higgins, Edward
- 1901-1904: Rankin, Harry P.
- 1904-1907: Ravi-Booth, Vincent
- 1907-1911: Chaffee, John R.
- 1911-1912: Blackett, Charles W.
- 1912-1913: Adams, L. William
- 1913-1916: Poland, Orville C.
- 1916-1918: Davis, C. Harrison
- 1918-1925: Gifford, Alliston B.
- 1925-1930: Hook, Hiram W.
- 1930-1935: Thompson, J. West
- 1935-1938: Butters, George A.
- 1938-1939: Cole, Russell D. & Hiller, Charles C.P.
- 1939-1944: Makepeace, Roger E.
- 1944-1947: Heverly, Harris E.
- 1948-1958: Snook Jr., John
- 1958-1968: Clay, H. Newton
- 1968-1970: Broyles, J. Allen
- 1970-1974: Benedict, Dean E.
- 1974-1978: Hatch, Leon
- 1978-1989: Purdy, David A.
- 1989-1995: DelPino, Jerome King
- 1995-1997: Chorpenning, Lloyd E.
- 1997-2000: Ives, Christopher
- 2000-2000: Ward, John & Hendricks, John
- 2000-2006: Taylor, John Wesley
- 2006-2016: Dupee, Eric
- 2016-2020: Luckie, Hope
- 2020-Present: Robertson, Anne