More than a hundred years ago here in Los Angeles, the number of Chinese residence was small but the need for fellowship was large. A former missionary, Mrs. A.A. Birdsall got the available Chinese Christians together in a fellowship that found a meeting place at 204 Marchessault Street. This was the year 1887. Three years later the fellowship was organized into a mission. In 1893 the first Chinese minister, Rev. Chan Lok Shang was appointed and the mission was moved to more adequate quarters at 510 ½ North Los Angeles Street.
Rev. Chan’s tenure was short and in 1894 the Rev. Chan Hon Fun was appointed. Under his leadership the Mission flourished and found another location at 522½ North Los Angeles Street and was to be the home of the Mission for the next fifty years.
In 1938 Dr. Ernest S. Lyons, a retired missionary from the Philippines was appointed as the pastor, who persuaded Rev. Wun Bew Wong from China as the full time Minister of the Chinese Church in 1943. With the arrival of Rev. Wong and his family, the Chinese Church really came to life and the rented upstairs quarters were inadequate. The church moved to a more accessible location at 618 New High Street, but what the church really needed above all else was a new home the Chinese Church could call its own.
The dream was shared with Dr. Lyons. He in turn discussed the problem with Bishop Baker and Dr. Hole, who agreed to provide financial assistance from the Southern California Conference. Additional funding was provided by Dr. Middleton with both a sizable donation and a loan. A fund raising followed and was given a great impetus with the acquisition of a very desirable lot at 825 North Hill Street.
By April 1947 sufficient funds had been raised to permit the Church to have a ground breaking ceremony and for construction to begin. The first service in the new building was held on Nov 16, 1947. The dreams and hard work of the Rev. Wun Bew Wong and his faithful congregation had come to a perfect fruition. The sanctuary was even more beautiful and inspiring than had been planned. The leadership and influence of Rev. Wong in the community were recognized, and in 1954 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity by California Western University of San Diego. Additional quarters over the social hall and dining room at the back of the sanctuary were built in early 1969.
Doctor Wong had served the church for 27 years. In June 1968, he was succeed by Rev. Joseph Ma, who served for another eleven years. During the Conference session of 1979, Rev. Leo L. Hsu was appointed to succeed Rev. Ma.
Today, the Chinese United Methodist Church at ChinaTown is served by Senior Pastor Rev. Eva Thai-Erwin with the English Speaking Ministry and Associate Pastor Rev. Lye Keng Tan with the Chinese Speaking Ministry.
1887 • Formation of the Chinese Christian Fellowship (CCF) at 204 Marchesault Street.
1890 • The CCF became part of the Pacific Mission of the Methodist Church. Rev. Lok-Shang Chan was appointed Pastor. The mission moved to 510 1/2 North Los Angeles Street.
1894 • Rev. Hon Fun Chan was appointed minister. Process was made and the mission moved to 522 1/2 North Los Angeles Street.
1900 • Rev. Hon Fun Chan was transferred to San Francisco and succeeded by Rev. Kiu-Sing Chan.
1923 • Rev. Kiu-Sing Chan’s dedicated service terminated on Christmas Eve of 1923, in an automobile accident.
1925 • Rev. Sing-Kai Chan became Pastor. A Chinese language class was set up with Mrs. Jung Leong in charge.
1929 • Rev. Sing-Kai Chan resigned and decline ensued. Fortunately, with the help of many faithful Christians, The church held itself together.
1938 • Dr. Ernest S. Lyons was appointed Superintendent of the California Oriental Mission and served as pastor with the assistance of Mr. Wun Bew Wong.
1942 • Mr. Wun Bew Wong was appointed as pastor Church moved to 6518 New High Street and an English class was set up.
1943 • A church building committee was formed with Rev. W.B. Wong as Chairman.
1944 • With sufficient funds, the lot located at 825 North Castelar Street was acquired. (Now know as North Hill Street)
1945 • A financial campaign was launched and $63,000 was raised. 1946 • A $15,000 loan was arranged with the Methodist Church for the church building program.
1947 • Construction began in spring, 1947. By October, the new church building was completed at a cost of $78,000. On November 16, the church was officially opened for service by Bishop J. Baker.
1950 • The $15,000 loan was repaid and the church was dedicated to God.
1952 • The Oriental Provisional Conference was dissolved. The church became a member of the Southern California-Arizona Conference.
1954 • An Honorary Doctorate Degree was conferred upon Rev. W.B. Wong by the California Western University.
1961 • The 70th Anniversary was celebrated on November 20.
1965 • Sunday School building campaign was launched and $26,000 was donated.
1968 • With a loan of $13,700 from the Methodist Church, construction for a Sunday School addition began in April and was completed in August at a cost of $35,000.
• A Rev. W.B. Wong retired. A banquet in his honor was celebrated in June.
1969 • Rev. Joseph Ma was appointed Pastor.
1970 • The 80th Anniversary Banquet was celebrated in conjunction with the annual Thanksgiving Dinner.
1971 • Chinatown Service Center began its servicesto the community in December. 1972 • Danny Yu became the first youth director of the local church.
1975 • The local church became self-supporting
1976 • Committee was formed to start mission project in Orange County
1977 • Rev. Leo Hsu was appointed to be the first Associate Pastor in January.
• In June, the first evening service for the Orange County mission began.
• Rev. Joseph Ma retired in November. A banquet in his honor was given in the same month. 1978 • In July, Rev. Leo Hsu was appointed pastor of the Orange County Mission, formally chartered in September.
• In October, Rev. Hsu was re-appointed pastor of the Chinese United Methodist Church of Los Angeles.
1979 • First Family Camp was held at Westmont College.
• Mission task force was organized for South Bay Area.
1980 • Ordination of Mamie Ko as Deacon.
• Second Family Camp was held in Arrowhead Springs.
• The 90th Anniversary was celebrated in November.
1981 • Pulpit Exchange among the UMC Chinese Pastors was initiated.
1982 • The First Bazaar was organized.
• United Methodist Women (UMW) published the first edition of “Simple to Gourmet.”
• Stewardship Month was scheduled to be an annual event in November every year.
1983 • The first English Worship was conducted on September 18.
• Rev. Evyn Adams was appointed as the first minister for Special Ministry, working with the English speaking congregation.
1984 • Rev. Adams went to Hawaii to teach in the University.
• A drama entitled “Dreamer” was presented by the youth.
• Mrs. Margaret Cheng undertook to write the Chinese Worship Bulletin
• Rev. Miyeko Uriu was appointed as the Associate Pastor in charge of the English Ministry & Christian
Education Department in July.
• Monthly Newsletters began to be distributed on the first Sunday of each month.
• “An evening of Chinese Music” was presented.
1985 • UMW published the 2nd edition of the cookbook “Simple to Gourmet.”
• A new PA System was installed in memory of Mrs. Keh Ming Liu by her family.
1986 • Successful implementation of the Stewardship Campaign planned by the Finance & Field Service
of the National Division of the General Board ofGlobal Ministries. 1987 • Fund-raising lunches were organized by the UMW on the first Sunday of each month.
• Mr. Alfred Chu and Mr. Keh Ming Liu were the Choir Directors of the English and Chinese Worship
1988 • Rev. Leo Hsu, Senior Pastor, was elected as the Official Clergy Delegate to represent our Annual
Conference to the 1988 General Conference.
1988 • Rev. Miyeko Uriu was appointed as Co-Pastor & Rev. Leo Hsu as Administrative Pastor.
• Miss Chin Cheak Yu became Youth Director. The Junior High Group was formed.V
1989 • The Chinese Speaking Youth Group was formed.
• Rev. Miyeko Uriu retired during the Annual Conference.
1990 • Rev. Mamie Ko was appointed as Associate Pastor on January 1, in charge of the English Speaking
• Rev. Chin Cheak Yu was ordained on June 17 and appointed as Associate Pastor in charge of the
Youth Ministry and Christian Education in July.
• Kick-off Ceremony of the Centennial Anniversary Celebration on May 6.
• Centennial Celebration Thanksgiving Worship Service and Banquet on November 17.
1991 • Rev. Chin Cheak Yu married Rev. George Martzen. She was the first pastor to get married at CUMC.
• Mandarin translation in Chinese worship began.
• In February, Bible study and prayer meetings began every other week at Rev. Hsu’s home.
• Chinese Sunday School began in May.
• Chinese Speaking Youth group met regularly on Friday nights.
• Phyllis Chan was hired as the part-time secretary of the church.
1992 • English Ministry began the Discipleship Training led by Rev. Chin Cheak Yu and Julie Cheng.
• UMC’s Korean Ministry held their worship service at church on Sunday afternoons and Friday nights.
• The Andrew Fellowship was formed for those who had a burden to share the Gospel with others.
It met every other month at Rev. Hsu’s home.
• Wesley Fellowship split into Wesley andEvergreen Fellowships. 1992 • Rev. Chin Cheak Yu was appointed as the Pastor of the Chinese Ministry of the First United Methodist Church in Alhambra beginning July 1. Samuel Chow volunteered himself to take over youth and Christian Education Ministries of the Church
• The first Vacation Bible School was held in July. More than 50 children participated.
• Rev. Hsu, Rev. Ko and Samuel Chow attended the 2nd World Chinese Evangelism Conference in Hong
• Beginning October 27, Bible Study and prayer meetings were held at Grand Plaza every Wednesday.
1993 • Brothers and sisters pledged to support the project “Called to Follow Jesus” which was launched by United Methodist Church to raise funds for overseas mission.
• Brothers and sisters from the English Ministry had a mission trip in Mexico to help a United Methodist Church remodel and expand their facility.
• Samuel Chow was ordained as Deacon and was appointed as Assistant Pastor of the church, taking care of youth ministry and Christian Education. He was also the Director of Ministry of the Chinese
Christian Herald Crusades of Los Angeles.
• Chinatown Children Choir of Los Angeles was formed in September. Alice Khoo and Grace Chan were the President and Chairperson respectively. Monthly workshops were held to evangelize to the parents.
• A basketball team was formed to evangelize to college students.
• CUMC began to use Chinatown Public Safety Association’s (CPSA) facilities for Sunday School purposes.
• Health workshops were held once a month. Itwas sponsored by the Pacific Alliance Medical Center.
1994 • Rev. Dr. Wun Bew Wong, who served the church for more than 30 years, passed away to be with the Lord.
• Rev. Dr. Leo Hsu was appointed as the Superintendent of Pasadena District.
• Rev. Samuel Chow was appointed as the PastorIn-Charge of the CUMC. • Chinatown Children’s Choir received financial support from the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race. The first concert was held at the Chinese Cultural Center II at El Monte.
• Brother and sisters from English Ministry had a mission trip in Mexico to train VBS teacher for a Methodist Church.
• English Ministry encourages brothers and sisters to pray for their family members. A workshop on
prayer was held.
• A group of Chinese speaking young adults began to meet once a month.
• Childcare was provided during English worship.
• The backstage at the fellowship hall was remodeled into a Sunday School classroom.
1995 • Chinese Ministry formed four regional Bible Study groups. Brothers and sisters met every other
• Brothers and sisters were paired up as prayer partners to strengthen our prayer life.
• The Visitation and Caring Ministry was formed.
• English Ministry College Group was divided into College and Career Groups.
• English Ministry lengthened their Sunday worship by changing their worship time from 9:30 am to 9:00am.
• English Ministry formed the Young Families Group.
1996 • A brainstorming meeting was held on January 13. The Long Term and Short Term Committees were formed to plan for the future development of the church.
• The Luke Fellowship was formed for the Chinese speaking young adults.
1996 • The Mission Fund was established to support mission and the needy.
• Funds were raised to build a pipe organ for the church.
• Yannie Chan was hired as the part time secretary.
• Rev. Samuel Chow was ordained as the Elder’s Order.
• Western Jurisdiction Korean Mission began their Sunday worship at our church.
• English Ministry held the evangelistic meeting.
“The Road to Glory.”一百二十周年紀念特刊 | 120th Anniversary Celebration Booklet 31
• “Called to Follow Jesus” campaign came to an end. The pledge exceeded our goal of $50,000.
• A fellowship was formed for the Chinatown Children Choir’s members aged 13 or above. Meeting was held once a month. 1997 • Pipe organ construction was near completion. The old electronic organ was donated to the Shepherd of the Hills UMC in Monterey Park.
• Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the church building on November 30.
• The Church Development Fund was formed and the target was to raise $2 million to prepare for the
future development of the church.
1998 • A Visitation & Caring Group was set up by Chinese Speaking Youth Group to strengthen the caring ministry of the young.
• A series of workshops on Marriage and Family Ministry were held.
• A website was set up for the church. The address was http://www.cumcla.org.
• Long Term and Short Term Planning Committees were combined into the Long Term Planning
and Fundraising Committee. Their goals were to improve building facility, strengthen spiritual life
• Daisy Ho, student of the Fuller Theological Seminary began her internship at the church.
• The English Ministry celebrated their 15th Anniversary. A series of activities were held and previous pastors were invited to speak Sunday worship.
• The pipe organ construction was completed Dedication Service was held on June 14.
• English Ministry formed the morning prayer team to pray for the pastors, congregation and the
church at 8 am on Sunday.
• Young Tree Fellowship was to serve the children of Wesley Fellowship members.
1999 • Rev. Mamie Ko was appointed to be pastor of the Shepherd of the Hill UMC at Monterey Park.
• Rev. Cecil Carl Johnson was appointed to be the pastor of the English Ministry.
• Long Term Planning and Fundraising Committee have set its goal as “Operation: Church Expansion.”
The Committee worked into the possibility of purchasing the nearby property at Hill Street for Sunday School and office purposes. However, the attempt was not successful.
• Chinese Council on Ministry set up the Fellowship Department to strengthen the cooperation and
communication between fellowships. It will provide support and resources when needed.
• A group of Chinese speaking young couples met regularly, hoping a fellowship could be formed.
• A prayer chain was formed in the English Ministry.z
• John Fellowship was formed from the Wesley Fellowship to better serve members’ different needs.
2000 • Rev. Joseph Ma passed away to be with the Lord on January 11.
• Another Chinese worship service was started beginning April 30. The worship schedule was 8:30 am for the Chinese, 10:00 am for the English, and 11:30 am for the Chinese.
• Tutoring class was held to follow up with the children who joined the VBS.
• Disciple Bible Study began to meet September 23 for thirty-four consecutive weeks. 2000 • The 110th Anniversary Music Concert by John Wesley Singers was held on November 4.
• Mrs. Connie Wu was hired as the Pastoral Assistant of the Church.
• The Administrative Board took over the long term planning and development of the church.
2001 • San Gabriel United Methodist Cantonese Service started in December.
• English Youth Fellowship started meeting twice a month.
2002 • Rev. Judith Portinga appointed to CUMC as the pastor for the English Ministry.
2003 • Rev. Chow stated Happy Tea Hour as an outreach to community restaurant workers.
• Basketball Ministry started.
• English Ministry presented its first drama, “Joy to the World.”
2004 • CUMC was designated as a Los Angeles Historical Landmark.
• Sue Chow began serving as an intern focusing on Counseling & Community Ministry in October.
• Joyce Mah joined CUMC as Choir Director in October.32 一百二十周年紀念特刊 | 120th Anniversary Celebration Booklet
2005 • Stained glass windows installed in memory of Don & Suey Quan, Russell Lee, Margaret Jones, and
Dorothy Q. Jew On.
• Sue Chow became Pastoral Assistant, Minister of Community Outreach & Counseling.
• Joyce Mah became Minister of Music & Youth.
• Chinese Ministry Vision Team was formed to study church growth.
• Joe Chan set up Church library.
• Video Projector installed in sanctuary.
• Min Yan, student from Claremont, served as intern and Director of Youth.
• The English Ministry presented drama, “Nian.”
• Los Angeles District of the United Methodist Church celebrates 100 years.
2006 • Rev. Chow left to serve the First United Methodist Church of San Gabriel.
• The following Lay Speakers were certified: Winston Chan, Grace Chan, Wilde Kwok, Joseph Wong, Marion Low, and Patrick Leung.
• Chinese Men’s Support Group was started, coordinator David To.
• Stained glass windows installed in memory of Tin Loy Chung and Valeriano Kee Lee.
• Sanctuary & Fellowship doors were replaced in memory of Lucille Chan & Robert Lee (spouse of
Marilyn Lum Lee.)
• Youth members joined the Yuen-Nan Medical Mission team to China.
• First year for members to join the CCHC Love Mission team to China’s San Ming Children Village.
• Safe Sanctuary windows were installed in classrooms.
• English Ministry formed a second praise team.
• Front decorative wood double doors at front of sanctuary were refurbished and refinished in memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Wong.
2007 • Rev. Joseph Lai joined CUMC as a local pastor from May to November.
2008 • Chinese Children’s Choir celebrated its 15th ear with a Northern California Concert Tour.
• Rev. Dr. John Wang was appointed to CUMC.
• Karen Zheng was the first recipient of the CUMC College Scholarship.
• The name of Nomination/Personnel Committee was changed to Committee on Lay Leadership.
2009 • Drama “Journey to the East” written and directed by Wes Portinga is presented.
• Jean Quan was elected President of the Los Angeles District Methodist Women.
2010 • The remodeling of the restroom was completed.
• CUMC recognized by the Conference for over three decades of 100% Apportionment.
• Fifth year for members to join CCHC Love Mission.
• 10th year of the United Methodist Women participating in Nancy Yu’s Feed the Needy
• English as a Second Language Program sponsored by the United Methodist Women in its
(22nd or 24th) year.
• June 30, Rev. Judith Portinga completed her 8th year of serving CUMC English Ministry.
• Rev. David Brewer was appointed to CUMC as pastor for the English Ministry.
• CUMC celebrated its 120th anniversary.