History of West End United


This church was established in the West End section of Portsmouth in February 1942 in the midst of World War II by approximately 15 families. They first met in the Westhaven Community Hall on March 15, 1942. By April 5, 1942 (Easter Sunday) they had their first preaching service with 41 persons present.

By January 10, 1943 the congregation was organized into the West End Methodist Church and by January 31, 1943 they had 100 members. A building site was purchased in March of 1943 for the sum of $3500.00 on Rodman Avenue and running from Grove Avenue to Greenway Drive.  Evening worship services were held under a tent on this site until a church building could be erected.

Being hard times during the war years, lumber and such was hard to come by. A church, Bethany Methodist Episcopal built in 1890 in Cape Charles, VA, was found in July and purchased for $2000.00. The major job of dismantling the old church, piece by piece, numbering each component, placing it on barges, trucks, and ferries for the trip to Portsmouth had begun. Re-assembly began in December of 1943 and on September 10, 1944, they held the formal opening and dedication.

Church membership increased to 236 by September 1945 while Sunday School enrollment had grown to 631.  Membership continued to grow and by 1949 the church had outgrown its space.  Money was raised and a Social Hall was added by October 1951.  This provided classroom space and recreational facilities. By June 1951 a kitchen was added. Lou Dill, one of the church’s members, spent many hours high on scaffolding painting her rendition of “The Risen Christ” on the Chapel wall.

By the mid ‘50’s church attendance had grown to over 500, requiring two morning worship services, along with an evening service. Plans began in 1956 to build a new sanctuary. This became a reality and “Opening Sunday” was held on November 29, 1959 in the beautiful sanctuary that at that time cost the congregation $200,000.00. In 1961, the membership was almost 900. With the unification of the Methodist churches and the Evangelical United Brethren churches, by 1973 the church was officially known as West End United Methodist Church. The church is still undergoing changes. In 1996 classroom space was added in what used to be our chapel and handicapped restrooms were added in the Sanctuary building. In 1998, renovation was completed in the Sanctuary, which added new tile and carpet and a fresh coat of paint. In December of 1999 ten beautiful new stained glass windows were added in the Sanctuary, three were added in the narthex, and the cross and the flame were added to the steeple. In June of 2002 a major renovation of the Social Hall and Kitchen was completed which added additional space in the kitchen area. Also renovation of the Education Wing was completed with a large Noah’s Ark mural going up the stairway.

Many dedicated members have given of their time, talent, gifts, and services. West End is not just a building. It is people coming together to grow in spirit as we join in fellowship and Christian worship. We welcome visitors as we remember those families in 1942 that had a vision for this church and this community.

Past Ministers

West End United has had a long line of passionate, loving, dedicated Ministers.

Our community and members would like to thank each and everyone for their hard work and dedication to our faith and our flock.