Our Story

Silver Spring United Methodist Church formed in 2014 from the merger of two congregations with deep roots in the Silver Spring community: Woodside United Methodist Church and Marvin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Silver Spring United Methodist Church was created in 2014 from the merger of two United Methodist Churches: Woodside UMC and Marvin Memorial UMC.

Historical Woodside UMC building sketch
Historical Woodside UMC building sketch

Woodside UMC

Sligo Village Methodist Church was built in 1872 on Brooksville Turnpike (now Georgia Avenue) near Colesville Road. The building was approximately 18 feet x 25 feet, and was constructed partly of timber hewn on the site. By 1897, the B&O Railroad was running and electricity from Washington had reached the Maryland boundary. Progress posed a unique problem for this growing congregation. The Washington Woodside and Forest Glen Railway and Power Company tracks were laid so close to the church that it posed a risk.

A plot of land was donated to the church from a new subdivision called Woodside. In 1897, the church was placed on rollers, pulled up the pike by a team of horses, and placed on the opposite side of the street to what is now the Maryland Park and Planning Commission Building. The early 1920’s ushered in an era of growth and in April 1926, a new 2-story brick Sunday School building and auditorium was dedicated. By 1938, ground was broken for a new sanctuary and on March 19, 1939, a new church was dedicated to replace the old wooden church.

Growth and expansion continued and on a very snowy Christmas Eve in 1966, the first church service was held in the sanctuary of Woodside United Methodist Church’s present building. For over 130 years, Woodside United Methodist Church has served the Silver Spring community. Together we have seen many changes and grown to become a congregation of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, reflecting the hues and accents of our community and God’s creation.

We are sinner-saints with all the attendant attributes–grandeur and grit, faithfulness and frailty, compassion and compromise, seriousness and silliness. But the one thing that holds us together is the love of God made known to us in Jesus. He is the one who grasps us firmly when we fail to grasp Him fully. He is the one who offers us all the way home to our loving God.

Marvin Memorial UMC

In 1872, a group of people at Four Corners organized to build a Methodist Church. In September 1872, a piece of land about one half acre in size on Old Bladensburg Road was donated by Mr. & Mrs. George N. Beale and Mr. & Mrs. H.P. Clark. Most of the early church members were farmers who supplied much of the labor to build the 36 by 36 foot church building. This little white building stood on the lot until 1951, when the present brick building replaced it.

It was first named Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, South, on the Beltsville Circuit with Samuel W. Haddway as the circuit preacher. Later it was called Four Corners ME Church, South. In 1941, it became a station with Pastor William D. Keene. The old Marvin Church in Washington closed and Rev. Keene accepted its furnishings and renamed his church Marvin Memorial in honor of Bishop Enoch Marvin, a church leader in the post Civil War era. On July 30, 1942, the membership organized a new religious corporation. The next minister was Edward B. Lewis who served until 1945. In 1966, during the ministry of Dr. William K. Lyons, a major renovation took place.  Construction of the West Wing was completed in June 1968. Other ministers who have served were: Rev. (later Bishop) Edward Carroll, Rev. (later Bishop) Susan Morrison, William Farrady, Roger Elgert, William P. Wyatt, Diana Ley, and Harry Kiely.

Memorial UMC, originally built as Wesley Chapel, was also founded in 1872 in the area now known as Four Corners at the intersection of University Avenue and Colesville Road. Both congregations were known for their impact and contribution to the community and larger church, with Marvin Memorial being served by several pastors who would go on to become bishops in the United Methodist Church. The merger was the culmination of a long process of discernment about the best way to continue in ministry to the Silver Spring community for years to come.

Today

Today Silver Spring UMC is a diverse congregation in every respect: age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and culture. We are a Reconciling Congregation, meaning that we have gone through a long process to discern what it means for us to be an intentionally inclusive congregation that welcomes LGBTQ+ persons into every aspect of the church’s life from worship attendance to denominational leadership. That same spirit of openness and welcome infuses everything we do.

Silver Spring United Methodist Church

Our ministries that address food insecurity have been a mainstay of our outreach to the Silver Spring area, and in cooperation with multiple local food banks and agencies we continue to address this critical need. Our long history of ministry in this area is a critical part of our self-understanding:

We are a movement of Christ’s love feeding all God’s people – body, mind, and spirit – so no one goes hungry.

We invite you to discover Silver Spring UMC and find a deeper sense of meaning and purpose for your life, a diverse community of disciples, and an opportunity to make a better world