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 Our History and Tradition
Camphor began in 1922 when Rev. William Casey, pastor of Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church (now Tindley Temple) and his wife, Catherine, opened their home at 5832 Filbert Street to a small group of neighbors forBible studies and class meetings as there were no Methodist churches in the West Philadelphia area. The following year, the Board of Home Missions appropriated funds to establish six missions in West Philadelphia, including our small "Saint Matthew Mission". At the Annual Session of the Delaware Conference in 1923, the name of the St. Matthew Mission was changed to Camphor Memorial Methodist Church in honor of Alexander Priestly Camphor, the 4th African-American to be consecrated a bishop by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our first pastor was Rev. William E. Hilton and our first worship service was held on December 9, 1923, in a leased "store front" at 5818 Vine Street.

The membership grew rapidly and in May, 1924, Camphor purchased a lot at 58th Street and Haverford Avenue and soon thereafter built an edifice which would become known as "Little Camphor." After the Depression, Camphor blossomed under the dynamic leadership of Rev. Marion Clark, Rev. Noah Moore and Rev. Daniel Rideout. The present sanctuary and buildings were acquired in January, 1943, and the church hosted the Annual Session of the Delaware Conference in 1944. When Rev. Marion Ballard was appointed pastor in 1959, membership had swelled to 922. In May, 1965, Camphor along with 20 other African-American churches in Pennsylvania that were part of the former Delaware Conference in the Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church, became charges of the Philadelphia Annual Conference. Since 1969, with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, Camphor has been a premier church in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Spiritual guidance has been provided to the Camphor congregation throughout the years by the following distinguished senior pastors: Rev. William E. Hilton (1923-1924), Rev. John I. Peaco (1924-1926), Rev. Joseph E. Dunn (1926-1929), Rev. Dr. Elmer. P. Gibson (1929-1932), Rev. Marion W. Clark (1932-1938), Rev. Dr. Noah W. Moore, Jr. (1938-1941), Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Ridout (1941-1949), Rev. Charles D. Gerald (1949-1952), Rev. Walter E. Stanley (1952-1959), Rev. Dr. Marion O. Ballard (1959-1965), Rev. DePriest W. Whye (1965-1969), Rev. William C. Strother, Jr. (1969-1971), Rev. John Nelson Roberts (1971-1978), Rev. Robert L. Harris (1978-1980), Rev. Carroll P. Boswell (1980-1985), Rev. Clyde W. Henry (1985-1991), Rev. Dr. Walter O. Hazzard (1991-1992). Rev. Dr. D. Watson Tatem (1992-1996), Rev. Herbert E. Palmer (1996-1997), Rev. Herbert W. Coe (1997-1999), Rev. Gary L. Meekins (1999-2004), Rev. Dr. A. Roger Reddick (2004-2005) Rev. Laurie Ann Rookard (2005-2008), Rev. Herbert Palmer (2008), Rev. Thomas Jackmon Sr. (2009), Rev. Charles King (2010-2011), Rev. Frederick Douglas (January to June, 2012), Rev. Alfred W. Jones III (July 2012- January 2013), Rev. Herbert E. Palmer (January 2013-June 2013) and currently Rev. Dr. Frank N. Moore (July 2013-).

Associate and assistant pastors who contributed mightily to the success of the church were: Rev. C. B. Miles, Rev. Ophelia James, Rev. Marquita Joynes, Rev. William George, Rev. Lydia Moore, Rev. Rudolph Flood, Rev. Paul Kim, Rev. Dr. Cecil Gray, Rev. Kenneth Taylor, Rev. Samuel Wilkens, Rev. Jerald Goodwin, Rev. Dwayne Royster, Rev. Allison Johnson, Rev. Carolyn Lee and Rev. David Brown.

Camphor has continuously emphasized its Christian education and community-oriented programs, including recreational activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Tutoring Service, Youth Fellowship, Day Care Center, Community Fellowship, scholarship programs, summer camping, Literacy Program, Bible studies, Food Cupboard, Soup Kitchen and GED Program.

The Camphor Council for Community Development (CCCD), a non-profit corporation, was organized in 1985 to acquire vacant properties in the community and renovate them into homes for deserving families. A Five-Year Ministry Program was developed in 1989 and a Planning Conference was convened annually to develop specific action plans to achieve the goals of the Five-Year Plan in the areas of church growth, youth involvement, outreach ministries, stewardship, training for laity and development of new leaders, and increased spirituality in the church. In February, 1999, Camphor celebrated the gala grand opening of the Camphor-Brooks residence, a $4.3 million renovation of the former Brooks School into 33 senior citizens apartments through a joint venture with CCCD and the Ingerman Group. 

Our current pastor, Rev. Dr. Frank N. Moore, is a capable and spirit-filled leader who continues to engage and empower us in strengthening our discipleship, developing new ministries and revitalizing existing ministries to meet the changing needs of our community and diverse congregation.