First Church evolved from a June 1919 meeting of twelve people led by a Presbyterian minister from Norfolk, and a Methodist minister from Newport News. The purpose was to organize a Sunday School for residents of the newly constructed Hilton Village which had been developed by a federal emergency board to house shipyard workers who had come to Newport News to find work. After meetings on the riverbank, in a firemen's clubhouse, and a tent, the expending group of Presbyterians and Methodists were separated into two congregations.
The first church building was built, on the present site, on land given by the Newport News Land Corp. The corporation provided land for the four churches on either end of Main Street, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal. the early church was a white frame building that would serve the congregation until 1952. The building we know today was constructed in 1954 and an addition to the educational part of the building was added in 1963.
First Methodist Church originally known as Hilton Village Methodist Church, until the name was changed to First Methodist Church in 1954. We became First United Methodist Church in 1968 following the merger with the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Over the years progressive changes have seen the church answering the needs of the congregation and community as well. Some of those changes include the nursery school that was started in 1967. The school has evolved into an excellent, highly reputable preschool program. Their primary goal of which is to help each child to think creatively and to develop their highest potential in an atmosphere of Christian love. The First United Church Foundation was begun in 1980. The Foundation administers the benevolent program of the church. Students and many community outreach groups have benefited from the financial support of the Foundation. First Church has joined with St. Andrew's Episcopal, Hilton Presbyterian, Hilton Christian and Trinity Lutheran Churches to provide Vacation Bible School for area children. Lastly, The Life Enrichment Series was begun in 1982 and has offered outstanding musical and cultural programs for the congregation and community "to the glory of God, and in celebration of God's Divine gift to us of artistic talent."
First Church has a rich history of emphasis on worship, Bible Study, Christian education, evangelism, missions, world class music programs, and caring for the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in the church and community. It is our goal to continue to grow in these areas as our legacy to future generations.