Lane Church recalls Black history on Taylors Island

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Lane Methodist Episcopal Church is a landmark of African-American history on Taylors Island.

TAYLORS ISLAND — Lane Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the few tangible landmarks of African-American history on Taylor’s Island, information from the Maryland Historical Trust says. Located a few hundred yards south of the Bethlehem Methodist Episcopal Church, the single-story rectangular frame structure is a modest gable roofed chapel featuring a two-tiered entrance tower covered by a low pitched pyramidal roofed tower.

Inset in the wall to the left of the double-door entrance is the original marble datestone inscribed, “Lane M. E. Church, 1897.” While this church building dates to the last years of the nineteenth century, an African-American church was associated with the Bethlehem M. E. Church for at least forty years prior with a church located directly adjacent to the brick church.
In the trustee’s minutes of the Bethlehem Church it was recorded on May 6, 1860 that Barzillia Lane, for whom the later church was named, was recognized formally as an exorter, and he was
recommended to preach.
A cemetery for the congregation is located directly behind the Bethlehem Church in a small clearing. The current Lane Church has another cemetery on its property. The Rev. Lane’s gravestone is still found in this cemetery.
The congregation’s church, a frame structure sited directly adjacent to the brick building on its south side, was valued with the entire church property in 1860. On the Lake, Griffing, and Stevenson atlas a “Color’d Church” is indicated almost next to the Bethlehem Church on the Parson’s Creek district map.

Records dated Aug. 15, 1973 list leaders of Lane Church, many of whom had names well known in today’s African-American community in Dorchester: Albert Stanley, Chairman; Maggie Bennett, Willie B. Cornish, Roosevelt Cornish, Julia Cornish, Irvin Cornish, Asbury Palmer, Oliver Stanley, Travers Stanley, Trustees for Lane’s United Methodist Church.

The nomination form for recognition by the National Register of Historic Places, Maryland Historical Trust, dated April 7, 1975, said, “Lane M.E. Church is a significent structure in the
Black community of Taylor’s Island and is representative of their efforts to establish religious identity.”

Today, the church is showing the effects of age, as is its adjoining building, once the congregation’s hall.

In other church news this week:

St. Nicholas Day
On Dec. 6, Saint Nicholas Day recognizes the third-century saint who became an inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus.
St. Nicholas is known for selling all his possessions and giving his money to the poor. Raised as a devout Christian, St. Nicholas dedicated his whole life to serving the sick and suffering.
Legendary stories about St. Nicholas later become part of the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus. For example, during the third century, a daughter’s chances of marriage increased when her father offered a large dowry to prospective husbands. One story tells of a poor father with three daughters. He had no dowry to offer.
Traditionally, families left their shoes by the fires at night so that they could dry. On three separate occasions, Ol’ St. Nicholas provided a dowry for each girl. Legend says he made gold appear in their shoes, drying by the fire.
St. Nicholas Day is not to be confused with Christmas, though similarities do exist. Traditions include leaving gifts in shoes (or stockings) or the exchange of small gifts. Another tradition suggests leaving treats for good boys and girls. However, the naughty ones receive a twig or chunk of coal.
Interesting facts associated with St. Nicholas:
• He is the patron saint of a great many causes. Some of the causes include sailors, travelers, clergy, school children, and thieves, to name a few.
• He was born in the village of Patar, located on the southeastern coast of modern-day Turkey. At the time, the area was populated by Greek Christians.
• Buried in a tomb in Myra, water believed to have healing powers formed in his grave. It is called the Manna of Saint Nicholas.
• Dec. 6 is also known as The Feast of St. Nicholas, widely celebrated in Europe.

Bazzel Church
The Board of Public Works will consider funds for the Maryland Historical Trust African-American Heritage Preservation Program at its Dec. 16 meeting. The program is seeking $100,000 for Bazzel Church on 4136 Best Pitch Ferry Road, south of Cambridge.
Grantee: Good Shepherd Association
Description: Interior and exterior rehabilitation including masonry, concrete, carpentry, metal,
foundation, ceiling, and window and door repair / replacement; installation of gutters,
downspouts, and moisture barrier; electrical upgrades; painting; accessibility improvements; site
work; selective demolition; and associated architectural, engineering, and consulting services.
Remarks: The Bazzel Church (also known as Bazel’s Chapel: MIHP D-274) is a vernacular
Gothic Revival-style church dating to the late 19th or early 20th century, either built on or
moved to the site in 1911. This gable-front, one-story church stands on brick piers and features
lancet-shaped windows. It stands on the site of the original chapel that was constructed in 1876.
Bazzel Church is located in Bucktown, which is best known for its association with Harriet
Tubman. Harriet Tubman’s family members reportedly worshipped at the original church
building on this site, which burned down.

Faith Baptist Fellowship
Wednesday Bible Study/Prayer at 7 p.m. Sunday School for Adults – 9:30 a.m. Sunday worship is held at 11 a.m. Join in-person and on Facebook LIVE at Listen from church parking lot on 88.9 FM.
The church is at 1312 Race St. Call 410-221-5104.

Old Trinity Church
Old Trinity Church has regular Sunday services on Sunday at 11 a.m.

St. Mary Refuge of Sinners
Mass is held at Refuge of Sinners (Minnette Mills Dick Hall) on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Congregants are asked to follow health guidelines, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, and wearing masks.
The Spanish-language mass is being held at 6 p.m. on Sundays, with the same protocols.
St. Mary Star of the Sea has delayed its reopening until Refuge of Sinners enacts its safety protocols. For information on the parish, visit the new website at

Church of the Nazarene
Reverend Richard Prahl will be preaching Dec. 13 on John 1:6-8, 19-28. Worship is 10:45 a.m. Worship Team will be singing, and there will also be special music provided by Cheryl Thompson.
Sunday school 10 a.m. Wednesday Evening Service is at 7 p.m.
We are abiding by the CDC guidelines. Everyone is welcome! You will also find the service online – FaceBook;

Christ Episcopal Church
Sunday, Dec. 13, 9 a.m., Holy Eucharist Church Service, Third Sunday of Advent. Rev. Canon Bernie Schroeder and Rev. Deacon Barbara Coleman officiating. Mask required. CDC guidelines strictly enforced.
Reminder for Christmas Eve service: Dec. 24, 5 and 7:30 p.m. services. Reservations are needed due to covid restrictions. Please contact the church office. Sixty are allowed at each service. Call 410-228-3161.
Order your poinsettias by Dec. 18. $15 donation for red or white plant. Make checks payable to Christ Church Altar Guild.
Greening of the Church will be Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. Magnolia and fir branches are welcome.
Email:, website

Zion UMC
The church has indoor worship service in the Sanctuary every Sunday at 11 a.m. Masks must be worn and all health and safety protocol is being followed Everyone is welcome. Please come to 612 Locust Street, Cambridge.
There will be a Drive-in Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols on Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. in Zion’s parking lot at 610 Glasgow Street. All are welcome.

Immanuel UCC
Immanuel United Church of Christ, 5401 White Hall Road, Cambridge, is offering 10 a.m. worship services in-person or via Zoom. No Sunday school or child care will be available. Face masks are required and social distancing must be observed. Temperature will be checked upon entering the building. More information is available at

Souls Harbor Church of God
Sunday morning worship service at Souls Harbor Church of God will begin at 10:30 a.m. The Worship Team will lead a time of singing, followed by a time of prayer and supplication.
The congregation will then hear from the Word of God, a sermon by Pastor Roy D. Collins, or Youth Pastor Tyler Collins. Sunday School and children’s services are on hold temporarily.
The church is located at 718 Peachblossom Ave. in Cambridge. Their phone is 410-253-4148. The congregation invites all to join them. The church is abiding by CDC guidelines.

Grace UMC
Sunday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. Baraca Class (live on WCEM – 1240 AM) Speaker Pastor Chris Pettit; 11 a.m. Worship Service in house and live on Facebook, Speaker Pastor Chris Pettit, Guest Singer TBA, Advent readers Wayne and Donna Towers, Scripture reader JoAnne Baker, Scripture Psalm 126; Luke 1:46b-55, Message “From Tears to Joy”.
Sunday, Dec. 13 – Angel Tree gifts are due into the church.
Masks must be worn for all classes and services.
Baraca Class 10 a.m. – Baraca has been meeting now for over 100 years. We share Jesus by proclaiming the Word of God! We invite you to join us this Sunday at Grace U.M. Church at 10 a.m. If you are unable to be present for the class, you can listen over WCEM -1240 AM.
Adult Sunday Sunday School Classes 10:00 a.m.
Come join us in worship. Grace U.M. Church is a friendly, warm and welcoming church family. Come join us in lifting the name of Jesus in Cambridge.

St. Paul’s UMC
Dec. 13, third Sunday of Advent
Adult Sunday School, 8:30 a.m., Gleaners & Richardson Men Combined, Devotions & Teacher: June McKelvey
Church service, 9:15 a.m., Worship Service w/Holy Communion
The Week, Dec. 13 Deceased Children’s Christmas Tree Service Cancelled – public invited to hang ribbons when convenient

Dec. 17 4:30 p.m. SPRC Meeting – Cancelled
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located at 205 Maryland Ave. in Cambridge.