By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church in Flatlands, which survived a horrible fire about four decades ago, marks its 112th anniversary this week.
The neighborhood for which this church is named, Vanderveer Park, was the first residential development in this area of Flatlands, according to a published history of the congregation. “The Germania Real Estate Improvement Co. purchased the John C. Vanderveer Farm of 43acresinMay1892— a land that had been in the Vanderveer family since 1600 and among the descendants of Dutch settlers. This and other adjoining areas wererenamed Flatbush by the Real Estate Developers,” according to that history.
Prompting the church’s founding was the need for a Sunday School, much closer than what was available at Snyder or at Bergen Beach. Around 1899, a Howard E. Sands and family, who had been very active in Sunday School ministry, joined forces with neighbors to form a Sunday School. Meanwhile, as they learned upon returning home, their young daughters had gone on their own campaign to raise funds for a Sunday School, raising $5.20. These funds were used to mail a postcard survey, and 30 favorable responses helped establish the Sunday School. Eventually, it was decided that a Sunday School and a church should be established in conjunction.
Then, on Wednesday evening October 17, 1900, the church was formally organized in the Chapel, with the Rev. Dr. James E. Chadwick, Presiding Elder of the Brooklyn South District. The church was named Vanderveer Park Methodist Episcopal Church. Later, the wider Methodist Episcopal Church, through a series of mergers, would become the United Methodist Church. Interesting that this year, 2012, October 17 also falls on a Wednesday.