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United Methodist celebrates 160 Years

Gathering at the Engle home at the edge of Ebey’s Landing, families prayed and sang together.

The pioneer settlers of Central Whidbey held the first service of the Coupeville Methodist Episcopal Church on April 24, 1853. The current congregation of the Coupeville United Methodist Church celebrated the 160th anniversary of their founding with a special service held April 28 in the historic church on North Main Street.

The church at Coupeville was the first church organized north of Olympia in what was then Washington Territory. The first pastor appointed to serve the church, Reverend W.B. Morse, spent the next 30 years trekking hundreds of miles on foot, horseback, and by Indian canoe to reach people in the pioneer congregation.

The first church “meeting house” was built in 1859. In 1886 a new larger church building was erected close to the location of the current high school.

Just 7 years later a fire burned the church to the ground, and in 1894 the present church building was constructed on North Main Street.

Current pastor Jin Ming Ma, the 59th pastor to serve this historic congregation, led the anniversary celebration with help from the church’s history committee headed by local historian Roger Sherman, and members of the congregation in pioneer attire.

A complete history of the church’s first 150 years entitled A Great Blessing by historian and author Mary Kline Rose is available for purchase at the church office.

 

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