Today in Philippine History, March 5, 1899, the Central Methodist Episcopal Church was founded

Sunday March 04, 2012 ()

On March 5, 1899 the Central Methodist Episcopal Church, the first Protestant church in the Philippines, was founded during the American occupation.

Eventually named the Central United Methodist Church (CUMC), its history is closely intertwined with that of the Knox United Methodist Church.

Central Methodist Episcopal Church
Central Methodist Episcopal Church on San Luis Street, Manila, c1915.

These two churches were the result of Filipino-American ties during the surrender of Manila in 1898.

The first Protestant worship service in the Philippines was held on August 28, 1898 and was officiated by Reverend George C. Stull. The service was attended by both American soldiers and Filipino civilians.

During the Filipino-American War, the congregation separated with the American component who transferred its services to the YMCA which was organized in 1899.

During the liberation of Manila from the Japanese occupation in 1945, the Central United Methodist Church was severely damaged.

Its congregation again reunited with the Knox UMC until 1949 when CUMC was rebuilt in its original site at T. M. Kalaw, Manila.

Since then, the membership of CUMC has grown rapidly from a largely American congregation to a mixture of Filipinos and Americans.

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives
Photo credit: John Tewell Flickr account


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