|Mount Olivet U.A.M.E. Church
At first the small congregation that Rev. Spencer had come to lead found it difficult to accept a female minister. However she persevered with her
mission. The success of Mount Olivet is due to her tireless effort to save souls in a climate where women pastors were rare. Along with actively
recruiting new members, she was responsible for the creation of three choirs in the church – a children’s choir, a young adult’s choir and the senior
choir. Rev. Spencer was pastor of Mount Olivet from 1937 until 1973 and departed this life on December 4, 1973.
In 1937, during the month of January, the Rev. Mary Rebecca Spencer was invited to
hold a week-long revival meeting at Russell’s Memorial African Union Methodist
Protestant Church. The church was located on the corner of Line St. and Lanning
Ave. in Penns Grove. The revival was a success. A few months later Bro. John Heath
and Sis. Ellen Russell contacted Bishop Philip A. Boulden and requested that Rev.
Spencer be sent to Penns Grove to try to build up the church’s congregation.
In April, 1937, Rev. Spencer came to Penns Grove. At a church meeting on July 6,
1937 a letter was presented stating that the building was condemned. Even after
repairs were made the building was unavailable to Rev. Spencer and her followers
since the doors had been locked against them. Undaunted, the small congregation
held services in various locations until they were allowed to erect a tent on a lot on
West Main Street. On October 24, 1937, the group purchased the lot and began
holding services in the small building which stood there. This building was used until a
small church was built in front of it. This edifice was given the name Mount Olivet
UAME Church. The cornerstone was laid on August 14, 1938 and the congregation
was able to pay off the mortgage by November, 1943.
After this the congregation began to grow. When Russell’s Memorial AUMP Church
property became available they purchased it. The building on this ground was torn
down. The church from West Main St was moved to the new location. On September
28, 1947 there was a groundbreaking ceremony for a new church to be built. By
December 1947 the new building was complete. The previous church became the
annex. The new Mount Olivet UAME Church was dedicated on Sunday, March 7, 1948.