Main Street UMC has a rich history. Here’s our story.
On May 22, 1780, Bishop Francis Asbury, the founder and leader of Methodism in America, held a service at a Mr. Pinner’s home in the Nansemond area, and about one hundred people discussed the formation of a Methodist Society. In 1801, a Methodist Society was formally organized in Suffolk under the guidance of John Fisher, a traveling preacher. This event established the Methodist Church here in Suffolk, just fifty-nine years after the original chartering of the town of Suffolk.
Following the formation in 1801 of a Methodist Society, the citizens of Suffolk felt a need for a meeting house where several different church denominations could hold services. A simple-frame building was constructed ‘on the hill’ (now Cedar hill Cemetary) and was called Union Chapel. In 1805, Suffolk was made a preaching appointment with William Atwood as pastor and D. Kelly as junior preacher. In 1822, the society decided to build its own meeting house on the east side of North Main Street at the foot of the hill just south of where a railroad, Seaboard Air Line, would eventually pass. The building was first used on October 18, 1823.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the town of Suffolk grew, and the congregation felt it should have a more modern facility. In the autumn of 1914, the cornerstone of Main Street Methodist Episcopal Church South was laid at its present location On that occasion, Bishop John M. Kilgo preached to a large open-air audience. The Rev. R. M. Maxey was the pastor of the church.
In January 1988, a Main Street Day Care Center for children was begun. The Main Street Day Care Center has developed into a self-supporting center and preschool, which has consistently maintained the highest state ratings during its years of existence.