Our story was born in 1884 when a band of sixteen Methodists began meeting in the home of Mr. & Mrs. David Bately of Sedro. The Reverend W.B. McMillan was the first pastor of this congregation. In 1886 Reverend John W. Dobbs of Whatcom added the charge of Sedro to his circuit and the congregation moved to the home of Mortimer Cook, a Skagit Valley pioneer mill operator and storekeeper. Later, the congregation met in the Van Fleet School House, and then in the old Sedro Hotel.
In March of 1891, under the leadership of the Reverend George Lawson Cuddy, the fledgling Methodist Society in Sedro was incorporated. Construction of a church building followed soon after. That first facility carried the name of The Methodist Episcopal Church and occupied the corner of Fifth and Nelson in Sedro for seventy years, the oldest church in the city. The high steeple was a friendly local landmark for early balloonists.
In 1916, while the Great War raged in Europe, Miss Emma Rexroth, a member of our congregation, went to India as a Methodist missionary. She continued her work for an illustrious forty years, establishing school programs especially for females.
In 1939 the two branches of Methodism in America divided by the Civil War merged: The Methodist Episcopal Church North and The Methodist Episcopal Church South became “The Methodist Church.” In 1942 Methodist Churches were permitted to choose their own name and we became “The Central Methodist Church.” At the same time, young men and women from our congregation were serving and dying in World War II.
“Life was heaven in ‘57”, except that the sixty-three year old bell tower began to collapse and was removed as a precipitous hazard. On April 19, 1957, while Reverend Harlan Jones was pastor, a new building committee was organized, and the congregation voted to build a new church at a new location. In 1959, the year that Buddy Holly died, a new site was selected . . . and the congregation sang, “That’ll be the day . . .”
In 1964 construction of a new building was begun, but on December 26th of that year, with the new structure still to be completed, the old church was torched by an arsonist. Services were held for a time in Mary Purcell School. The new church was at last occupied on the first Sunday in 1965. A new parsonage was purchased in April 1966.
A merger of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren in 1968 created “The United Methodist Church” and we became “Central United Methodist Church” as we are today.
Several more classrooms were added in 1981 and that same year a $100,000 loan was assumed for the completion of a new sanctuary. This beautiful, novel house of worship was consecrated by Bishop Melvin Talbert in November of 1982. On October 20, 1984, the congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary. Our last capital debt was satisfied in April of 1992, and the capital funds reserve goal reached one year later. Bishop Calvin McConnell visited Central United Methodist Church on February 13, 1994 to celebrate the conclusion of the capital funds campaign.
In 1992 the congregation responded to the need of many in the county for food and fellowship by opening up the Community Kitchen. This has operated continuously on the last full week of each month since that time. In 2000 the Community Kitchen remodeled our kitchen facilities, improving the counter space and adding new ovens. We have also replaced the roof on the Sanctuary, replaced the outside beams, repainted the entire building, and are working on improving the acoustics in the Fellowship Hall. Additionally we have added a playground on the south side of the building (1996) and continuously upgraded the landscaping. A large improvement to the grounds happened in 1999, as the old sheds were torn down from the west end of the property, and the entire space renovated into grass. Our current project is to update our Church sign.