The roots of today’s Centreville United Methodist Church can be traced back to a small stone church built in 1854. It was a tiny church by today’s standards: just 30 feet by 40 feet. Written history from the time is sketchy, but it seems that the group had been meeting for many years, though no one knows for sure where. One legend claims that the first Methodist sermon in Centreville was given by William Duke at the Eagle Tavern. Another idea is that it was given in an upper room of a blacksmith shop.
In those days, the Methodist Church was known for its “circuit preachers.” One preacher was assigned to travel to a number of churches and preach at each. Our church records begin in 1850, before the stone church was built. “K. Adams” is listed as the circuit preacher for 1850-1851. This system of circuit preaching served Centreville for more than 100 years, until 1956.
During those first 100 years, the church experienced many different seasons. The church served as a hospital during the Civil War, possibly for both sides. During the Second Battle of Bull Run, the walls of the stone church were torn down. In 1870 the people of the community got together and rebuilt the walls of the church, which still stand today. In 1945 a Sunday School building was added, highlighting the church’s commitment to education.
As the church grew, the need for larger quarters became a focus of the congregation. In 1966 the David Lawrence family donated 6.88 acres. A new building was completed in 1973, and the original church was sold to the Church of the Ascension. The second location gave the growing congregation breathing room for a time. But as the Centreville community grew, so did the congregation. In 1982 the sanctuary was enlarged and the fellowship hall and classrooms were added. In 1984, the CUMC preschool, the Centreville Day School, was opened.
In 1990, real estate developer Milt Peterson donated 6.7 acres in the newly developed Centre Ridge community for a new church building. After much discussion within the church family over the future of the church, the decision was made to have Centreville UMC become a regionally focused church, focusing on both Centreville and the wider community in the surrounding counties. This decision helped shape the design and construction of the new church building.
The first worship service in the new church was held on February 16, 1992. The glass expanse of the windows on the fellowship hall and narthex gave a welcoming feeling. The sanctuary was purposefully built to be wide rather than deep, so that even those seated in the last row felt close to the center of worship. Off of one side of the sanctuary was the administrative office wing. Off of the other side was another wing with a library, small chapel, and a two-story education wing to serve children, youth, and adult Sunday School, as well as the Centreville Day School preschool.
CUMC’s mission outreach, which was one of the founding tenets of Methodism, grew tremendously during this time. The church increased its local missional engagement through connections with local food pantries and shelters; by bringing a summer “Backyard Bible School” to a local neighborhood; and by establishing a missional partnership with Centre Ridge Elementary School.
This tremendous growth, in both membership and mission, signaled a need for future planning. After a decade or prayer, discernment, and planning, it was decided to once again see growth to the building to add in additional capabilities for educational, spiritual, and missional growth. In 2006 the Recreation and Outreach Center (lovingly called the ROC) was added on to the end of the building nearest Route 28, and the administrative wing and music floor were expanded. The ROC has become the home of Upward Basketball, the 11:02 Contemporary Worship Service, the indoor playground for the Centreville Day School, and a host of other monthly and yearly activities.
Throughout its history, Centreville United Methodist Church has been called by God to serve Jesus Christ as a community of faith, and as a place of help and hope. In order to realize this vision, this community of believers holds claim to its mission: Making Disciples of Jesus Christ, We Worship, Grow, and Serve Together.