Methodism came to the Cranford/Westfield area around the year 1840, led by Methodist circuit rider John Hancock (no relation to the Declaration of Independence signer).
The Cranford Methodist Episcopal Church (the wood church) was built in 1871 on Walnut Avenue and was used until 1961. The wood church stood where the Cranford Public Library and Community Center now stand.
The church split for a time in 1900 to form 1st MEC and St. Paul's MEC. The congregations rejoined in 1929 and became Cranford MEC, now known as Cranford UMC after the merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Bretheren Church to make the United Methodist Church.
Since 1861, over 60 Methodist pastors have ministered to the churches in Cranford. Since the merger in 1929, a dozen pastors have served in Cranford MEC/UMC.
A week before the Civil War began in 1861, Methodists gathered in the local post office for the first meeting of the Craneville Sabbath School. By 1863, the school expanded and became the John Hancock Methodist Episcopal Church named for its founding pastor. Today, the Chapel in the education building is named John Hancock chapel in honor of the same. The 1863 members built a chapel on Lincoln Avenue near South Avenue.
In 1954, the congregation built the brick sanctuary (currently used) on the corner of Walnut and Lincoln Avenues. In 1961, the Randolph family contributed a large sum of money to bring the current Education building to fruition.