History of Central UMC

History of Central 1


Over 175 years ago, a small, white-framed church was built on the site of our current location. This humble structure was Asheville’s first church—and the beginning of God’s great plan for Central United Methodist Church.

Today Central Church remains the city’s longest continuously operating church and is home to over 3,000 members. Through the years, our purpose has remained steadfast: a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and share the Gospel message. 


Bishop Francis Asbury, the most famous of the early circuit-riders, visited Asheville and found Methodists here, but they were not an organized group and had no church building. (Asheville had a population of several hundred.)

Circuit-rider Reverend David B. Cumming came to Asheville to organize the Methodists.

A small, white-framed structure was built on our present location and was Asheville’s first church.

An expanding congregation moved into a new, larger, brick structure that underwent several expansions over the next 45 years.

The now Asheville Methodist Episcopal Church South began to establish satellite churches. (The population of Asheville was about 2600.)

The name Central Church was first used to designate the church from the satellite churches of the city.

Central Church had a membership of 475. (Asheville had a grown to more than 10,000 residents.)

Plans were underway for a new house of worship. (Asheville’s population was now 15,000.)

Construction began on the new facility, our current structure.

Nine years after the Boy Scout program came to America from England, Troop Four of Central Church received its charter. It has been in continuous existence since.

Church membership totaled more than 2,000, and a renovation project was in full swing. The sanctuary was enlarged and the balcony added. A wing was added to the south that included the Fellowship Hall and kitchen as well as Sunday School rooms.

Central Church celebrated its 100th birthday in July.

The Chapel was built and dedicated to the 16 young men of the church who gave their lives in World War II.

A three-story Sunday School complex was added on the south side of the Fellowship Hall.

Central Church celebrated its Sesquicentennial Celebration—150 Years: Calling Us into the Future.

The administrative offices were renovated.

The Fellowship Hall was renovated.

The church sanctuary was remodeled.

In November of 2006, Central Church and Haywood Street United Methodist Church merged, creating two campuses under the name of Central United Methodist Church.

Central Church has over 3,000 members, and plans are underway for facility upgrades.