Park Avenue Methodist Church on the NW corner of Park Avenue and North Grove Street had been organized in 1893 as the Park Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church with a temporary, "straw board" chapel and in 1898 the church building that still exists today was built with Rev. W. W. C. Walker as the first pastor. The Methodist churches to the east and to the west of the area were overcrowded so the location had been chosen to serve the Methodists in the rapidly growing neighborhoods between the Roseville church in Newark and the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church at Main St and Walnut St in downtown East Orange.*
In 1958 the church was celebrating its 60th anniversary in the 1898 building, one of the events was a baby contest, and my mother an excellent seamstress made my brother Drew a sailor suit for the contest. A photographer for the Newark News was there and snapped this photo which appeared on the front page of the Newark Sunday News the next day, November 9, 1958.
The little girl in the photo, Laura Israel, is now an award-winning documentary film maker, winning for the film Windfall which shows the somewhat unexpected negative, local environmental effects of windpower. Laura's father, former Stockton School student Harry Israel, was a 1952 graduate of East Orange High School and later a teacher at Vernon L Davey Junior High School where he taught Janis Fink, soon to be known as Janis Ian.
In 1959 the church's pastor Rev. Clark van Auken gave the invocation at Stockton School's 8th grade graduation ceremony.
* From a history of the church: