Market Street United Methodist Church
75 Market St. Onancock, VA 24417

Historic Cokesbury Church

Important Dates in the
Life of Cokesbury Church

1784 Cokesbury was the First Congregation to Organize in Onancock after the Revolution. Methodist Circuit riders began to come to the Onancock area and preach in the homes of Onancock’s first Methodists.  William Seymour’s home on Onancock Creek, Wesley, was a favorite meeting place for people in town, as well as for those living close by.

1788 Bishop Francis Asbury, who with Bishop Thomas Coke organized the Methodist Church in America, visited Seymour and preached in the schoolhouse in Onancock.

1822 After Seymour’s death in 1821, the Methodists moved their meeting place to an old mill in Onancock.

Sanctuary1854 Cokesbury Methodist Church, named for Bishops Coke and Asbury, was built on the present site.

1864 Cokesbury closed during part of the Civil War.

1865 At the end of the war, Cokesbury reopened as a congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church North.

Window1893 Stained glass memorial windows were installed by the Philadelphia firm of Alfred Godwin.  Frederick Wilson, Godwin’s art director in 1893, became art director of the world-famous Tiffany Studio in 1894.  Godwin’s studio evolved into the present-day Willet Art Glass Studio.  Also in 1893, the steeple was added and the balcony removed.

1968 Methodist and United Brethren Churches merged into one denomination, the United Methodist Church.

1996 Cokesbury’s services were discontinued when its few members could no longer operate the church.

Organ2000 Revitalization by Market Street UMC began with special worship services and coffeehouse gatherings for youth.

2001  Major renovation began in June 2001 after the Virginia Annual Conference conveyed the Cokesbury property to Market Street United Methodist Church.

2004  Historic Cokesbury Church was added to the
Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

2006  After Tropical Storm Ernesto ripped off the church’s roof, a new cedar shingle roof was applied, and renovation to the building was resumed.

2007-2011  See projects listed in Phase V.

2012   Long “lost” needlepoint kneeling cushions made years ago by Cokesbury members to fit around the curved altar rail in the sanctuary have been returned to Cokesbury, restored, and once more placed along the altar rail.

2014  Restoration and revitalization continue.