History of CUMC

Our History




On Sunday, April 24, 1853, the first gospel message on Whidbey Island was given at the Engle home. Reverends Benjamin Close and W.B. Morse had traveled to the island and invited those in attendance to join the Whidbey Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became Coupeville United Methodist Church. This was the first organized church north of Olympia and has continued to have regular Sunday services ever since.

Colonel Isaac Ebey and his wife,
Rebecca, were among CUMC’s founding families. Rebecca Ebey’s thirst for a church to raise her children in and her vision for this community helped to ensure the creation of an organized church in this small beach side town.

Our first minister was Rev. W. B. Morse and after years of meeting in the settlers homes a “meeting house” was built in 1859 on a small portion of land belonging to Grove C. Terry. This building was eventually moved to a site donated by Captain and Mrs. Thomas Coupe, where Coupeville High School stands today.


Sanctuary in 1894 



Sanctuary in 2022


In 1886 funds had been raised during a revival to build a new church right here on N. Main Street. On May 23, 1893, a fire burned the church to the ground. The insurance policy on the church building had lapsed just days before, leaving those early settlers with the job of raising funds to build once again. To raise funds, they held a Strawberry Festival. CUMC now hosts a Strawberry Social the Saturday before the 4th of July weekend.

 Strawberry Social 2017

Howard Lovejoy was contracted to build the current church building and work was completed in the Spring of 1894. A parsonage was built in 1889 and was used until 1957. It is located on 9th Street next to the Anchorage Inn Bed and Breakfast.


“Although we have not towering churches yet we can spend our time in training the young minds of our children in the principles of Christianity and creating within them a thirst for moral knowledge…This is indeed a great blessing” (Rebecca Ebey, Journal, p. 2 – 10/10/1852)



In 1933 a stone that was salvaged from the ashes of the church that burned down was placed in front of our church with a description that reads:

“The M.E. Church Organized 1853. This plate placed on the first foundation stone 1933.” 








Sometime between 1910 and 1912 the stained-glass windowpanes on the west wall of the sanctuary were updated to depict a picture of Christ with outstretched arms. This window was placed in memory of Dr. John C. Kellogg and his wife Caroline Terry Kellogg. Dr. Kellogg, known as the “Canoe Doctor” was Whidbey Island and Port Townsend’s first long-term doctor.

In 1910 a Boys Club was built on church property followed by the building of an addition that housed kitchens and classrooms in 1924. A building to connect the original church to the Boys Club was added in 1949.

In 1978 members demolished the newer sections of the church building and rebuilt one single addition. This addition included a church office, library, kitchen, Fellowship Hall, and even a basement.

During construction, a barge in Admiralty Inlet lost a load of lumber, which washed ashore. Wilbur Sherman called local farmers to help him gather up the wood to use in the framework of the addition.

Changes and improvements have been made to the sanctuary throughout the years including replacing pews and adding shiplap to the bottom of the sanctuary walls. In early 2020 the Bell Tower was repaired with an Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Grant.





During the 2020-2021 Covid-19 Pandemic the church pews sat empty for 13 months. We began working on a lengthy project to outfit the sanctuary for Live Streaming. This was no easy feat due to mounting monitors, hiding wires, and installing Wi-Fi, all while maintaining the integrity of this historical building.

Hard times have been overcome at CUMC throughout its history, but one thing remains true: this church will continue to share the gospel message with all who enter!

Author: Krystle Steingiesser