Sunday, July 15, 2012

                                                                         July 15, 2012

Central United Methodist Church
518 West Third Street

Central United Methodist Church
Spokane, Washington

In 1879 the first Methodist society in Spokane Falls was formed.  This was the first Methodist Episcopal Church in the area and the beginnings of Central United Methodist Church.  The first small church was built on the southwest corner of Sprague and Washington. (Link 1.)

1879 Church

"The second church building was constructed in 1889 at Sprague and Bernard, and it was a substantial brick structure...  The fire of 1889 that destroyed so much of down town Spokane did not reach this church, but already the congregation had outgrown it, and a new site was secured at Third and Howard Street, where the church known as the Tabernacle was built, the first of three edifices built on the same site. 

1889 Church

"It was after the building of this church that about 99 members withdrew to form another church, the Vincent Methodist Episcopal church, located at Main and Lincoln. From this time through subsequent decades, Central Methodist Church grew and was blessed with faithful pastors and countless dedicated lay men and women.

"...the church burned to the ground, and plans began without delay for the building of a new church on the same site.  The cornerstone of the new church, our present edifice, was laid in 1905. The basement was first used for services in 1906 and full use of the new church began on May 26, 1907. (Link 1.)

South Side of Church

"In 1923, church membership was close to 2,200 and Sunday School enrollment at 1,000.  The Ladies Aid Society had 260 membersIn honor of returning solders of World War I and of those who died in the services, the large memorial stained-glass window was added on the south side of the sanctuary." (Link 1.) (See window below.)

Balcony Stained Glass Window Opposite the Altar

Today Central Methodist Church with its two square towers faces down town's  busy West 3rd Street, with the elevated Highway 90 a half block to the south.  Distinctive red brick stripes circle both the  western pillar and the extension of the west tower. Red doors with white crosses open to each of the two entrances on West 3rd Street and Howard Street.  The outline of the two rose windows of the Sanctuary are also prominent on both West 3rd and Howard Streets.

The sanctuary of the church is in the round with exposed organ pipes above the altar. (See photo below.)  The shape of the room and its recessed balcony is accented with ornate crown molding and pillars. 


There are two rose windows in the sanctuary.  The memorial window (In photo above.) and the window that can be seen outside between the two square towers. (In photo below) Both widows sit in balcony walls.  The details of the balcony, it pillars, ornate crown molding, and brass rails can be seen in the photo below.

Balcony Stained Glass Window Opposite the Altar

In the ceiling of the sanctuary is a skylight. Small squares of glass are ribbed with struts which extend across the domed ceiling. (See photo below.)

Sanctuary Central Ceiling Skylight

Two congregations now meet at Central United Methodist Church.  The original congregation that now lives in all areas of Spokane and the young congregation of Vintage Faith Community Church lead by Kyle Brinkland.

Central United Methodist Church also played its part in the origins of Father's Day.  It was at this church in 1909 the Sonora Smart Dodd heard a sermon on Mother's Day. Because of the devotion of her father to the family she was inspired to look for support for a day for fathers, a Father's Day.  See Blog Post June 17, 2012 (Father's Day) for more about its history.

Thank you: To Steve Hart in the office of Central United Methodist Church and
                     Kyle Brinkland, pastor of the the Vintage Faith Community Church.
Photos: Taken in May 2012 by SW.
Link 1:


God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Suzanne,

    I previously worked at this church and now work with the UMC governing structure that oversees this church. I received official word today that it is closing on September 30, 2016. I would like to seek your permission to first link to this article in sending an announcement to the other UM churches in the area and, ideally, I would like your permission to include one or two of your photos in the announcement. I will, of course, cite you as the photographer.

    Please contact me directly at

    Many Thanks!