This 1894 Richardsonian Romanesque granite and sandstone church was designed by Norfolk architects James E. R. Carpenter and John V. Peebles. It was built to accommodate the growing congregation of the 1850 Granby Street Methodist Church at the northeast corner of Granby and Freemason Streets. Both churches originated from the 1802 Cumberland Street Methodist Church, the first Methodist congregation in Norfolk.
The congregation named their new house of worship "Epworth," after the English home of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Gothic features on the 135-foot carillon tower include eight gargoyles. In the sanctuary, a stained glass dome designed by Edward J.N. Stent of New York is supported by arches bearing mosaic likenesses of female figures representing the cardinal virtues of faith, hope, love and charity. The Aeolian-Skinner organ was considered to be the finest in the South at the time of its installation in 1959.
Epworth members organized Norfolk's first chapter of Goodwill Industries and the city's first Circle of the King's Daughters. They also participated in the establishment of Virginia Wesleyan College.
(Caption, left picture): Cumberland Street Methodist Church (1802 - 1850)
(Caption, center picture): Church Interior, 1952
(Caption, right picture): Granby Street Methodist Church (1850 - 1894)
Illustrations courtesy of Epworth United Methodist Church