Methodism in Astoria
Twelve worshipers attended Astoria’s first Methodist meeting on August 7, 1840, at James Birney’s log house. By 1850, 250 settlers lived in Astoria, and Methodists now felt the need for their own building, completed in 1853 at the corner of the present 15th and Franklin Streets. Astoria’s public school district also utilized the church.
In 1878, Methodists built a larger church on pilings at 11th and Duane. By 1912, the church was surrounded by commercial establishments, so a new location was chosen. The present church was dedicated on March 25, 1917. Methodism continues its long tradition of Christian service in Astoria.
Over forty-nine ministers have served the parish since the Rev. John Frost’s first service in 1840.
The United Methodist Church shares a common history and heritage with other Methodist and Wesleyan bodies. The lives and ministries of John Wesley (1703–1791) and of his brother, Charles (1707–1788), mark the origin of their common roots.
The Churches Grow (1817-1843)
The Second Great Awakening was the dominant religious development among Protestants in America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Through revivals and camp meetings sinners were brought to an experience of conversion. Circuit riding preachers and lay pastors knit them into a connection.
The Slavery Question and Civil War (1844-1865)
John Wesley was an ardent opponent of slavery. Many of the leaders of early American Methodism shared his hatred for this form of human bondage. As the nineteenth century progressed, it became apparent that tensions were deepening in Methodism over the slavery question.
Reconstruction, Prosperity, and New Issues (1866-1913)
The Civil War dealt an especially harsh blow to The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Its membership fell to two-thirds its pre-war strength. Many of its churches lay in ruins or were seriously damaged.
World War and More Change, 1914–1939
In the years immediately prior to World War I, there was much sympathy in the churches for negotiation and arbitration as visible alternatives to international armed conflict. Many church members and clergy openly professed pacifism.
Movement Toward Union (1940-1967)
Although Methodists, Evangelicals, and United Brethren each had published strong statements condemning war and advocating peaceful reconciliation among the nations, the strength of their positions was largely lost with American involvement in the hostilities of World War II.
Developments and Changes Since 1968
When The United Methodist Church was created in 1968, it had approximately 11 million members, making it one of the largest Protestant churches in the world.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House.