The United Methodist Building
One of the newest Heritage Landmarks of United Methodism, the United Methodist Building is the only non-governmental building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The General Board of Church and Society is the proprietor of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The structure is adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court. As a public witness to justice and peace, the United Methodist Building offers an ecumenical and interfaith setting for rich dialogue and social action.
The United Methodist Building is the only non-government building on Capitol Hill. It houses the Washington offices of a number of ecumenical groups: the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, Lutheran Services of America, Church World Service, Islamic Society of North America and a host of others. It also houses offices of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, United Methodist Women, and the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race.
At the 2016 General Conference, the United Methodist Building became a Heritage Landmark of United Methodism – one of about 50 landmarks around the world.
Church and Society also maintains an office in the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City, New York.
Simpson Memorial Chapel
The United Methodist Building houses the Simpson Memorial Chapel. For more information about the chapel, click here.
Facilities and Rental Information
Several conference rooms are available for rental in the United Methodist Building. For more information and to request usage of these rooms, please click here.
United Methodist Building History
In 1917, The Rev. Dr. Clarence True Wilson spotted a muddy, billboard-cluttered corner lot, across the street from the United States Capitol. Immediately, Dr. Wilson, executive director of the Board of Temperance and Public Morals, envisioned this site as the perfect location to establish Methodism’s social reform presence in Washington, D.C.
Construction began on Nov. 17, 1922. A five-story edifice, designed in Italian Renaissance style and constructed of Indiana limestone, it was completed in 1923 at a cost of $650,000. Money for the project was raised through individual and church gifts, some as small as 15 cents. Most of the pledges came from Methodist women concerned about the health of families and the harms of alcohol abuse. Wilson’s wife, Maude Akin Wilson, drew the original plans, which were approved by the board and given to the architect for development. She served as financial officer, property manager and director of operations.
In 1931 a second building was completed at 110 Maryland Avenue with rental income from its fifty apartments expanding the social witness and work of the church.
The United Methodist Building has played a significant role at critical points in United States’ history. Planning for the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took place here, as well as organizing efforts for the 1968 Poor People’s March, the farmworkers’ boycott, years of protest against the Vietnam War, Equal Rights Amendment marches, the 1978 Long Walk of Native Americans, the 1978 and 1979 Farmer’s Tractorcade, and the 1989 Housing NOW! March, and the 1996 Stand for Children March that included almost every bishop in the denomination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had its genesis in the United Methodist Building. A coalition of over 100 different organizations met at the United Methodist Building weekly in the conference room 3 on the first floor to negotiate the language. With the support of President George H.W. Bush, the ADA became the law of the land on July 26, 1990.
In 2002-2003 Church and Society served as host to a coalition of groups working to prevent the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And during the Obama administration Church and Society was heavily involved in a faith coalition supporting the Affordable Care Act.