In the spring of 1881, a small group of people led by Alban Dalton cleaned out an abandoned blacksmith shop on the Brackenville farm located on the corner of the Old Lancaster Pike and Brackenville Road. They established there the first Methodist society in the area. With the onset of winter, they moved across the street to the Peace and Plenty Inn. Although the smithy has long disappeared, the inn is now a private residence.
The permanent Methodist chapel was erected on Hockessin’s Main Street 1882. A large fellowship hall was added in 1949. Now the Founder’s Hall, provides an ideal spill-over for church activities, including the both Middle School and High School Youth Group, and the Clothes Closet.
Edwin Golding, one of the founding members of the Hockessin Methodist Episcopal Church, reflecting in his old age on history, compared Alban Dalton to a “Christian archer, of the Methodist tribe, eye toward the future, weapon poised, arrow set and bow drawn at a venture for a shot in the name of his chief.” The path of that arrow has guided our congregation for 125 years as we have expanded from the little chapel on Main Street to one of the larger churches in the area.
Each step of our growth has taken the efforts of many men and women as we built on the faith of the generations before us. In 2006, Alban Dalton’s arrow led us through our sixth building expansion since 1881, where we have added much needed space for our Sunday school and music and educational ministries.
On June 3, 2018 we had a Groundbreaking Service for a new building and began the process of renovation. With the construction we ncreased parking spaces, made modifications to the building entry, and provided new accessible restrooms. Expansion of the lobby area created a more welcoming space for people with disabilities and reduced crowding between services, and provided gathering spots and hospitality areas. The new building enabled us to keep commitments to the Odd Fellows and Rebekah lodges and provided improved church office space.
Without this project, the potential for growth in our ministry was limited, but we have now "locked in” a county-approved plan and variances that will allow future congregations to expand with a larger building on the property when the need arises.