Our History

Our building and clergy

False fronts, board sidewalks, coal and clay miners; this was the street scene when the Reverend Rial Benjamin, a Methodist Circuit Rider, came to Renton for a tent meeting in August 1902.

In the Fall of 1903, a lot at 209 Williams Street was purchased for $300. A sanctuary was immediately constructed, mostly with volunteer help, at a cost of $1,800. Within a few years, the need for more space became evident. In the Fall of 1911, a lot at the corner of Second and Mill was purchased. Excavation was begun in November. With volunteer help, the church building was moved to the new site and placed on top of a daylight basement. A wing was added on the east with large roll-up doors between it and the sanctuary. A choir room was added at the back, steps and a bell tower at the front and in 1929, a covered porch was built. 


The church grew with Renton. By 1952 even the side walls began to bulge. Reverend Harry Monroe organized a Building Committee which viewed many sites and considered the population growth. The required congregational notices were given. On a Sunday morning, with 75 members present, the Board of Trustees were given a unanimous vote to buy the present property. The Building Committee met monthly until the church was built and furnished. In the Spring of 1953, the first "Three Year Fund Raising Campaign" was a huge success. 


The current building was built in 1957 with the first service held September, 1958. The education wing was added in 1963 and dedicated in May 1964. The mortgage was burned in 1972. That same year a Building Fund was started in order to make needed improvements, including carpeting for the sanctuary and Memorial Room and completion of the parking lot and driveways.  

A permanent Building Fund was begun in 1989 to maintain this beautiful building for the future. As the Renton area has grown, community outreach has also expanded providing meeting space for many community support groups and shelter for the homeless. The RUMC family and our building have become a virtual part of the Renton community.  

In 2020, Kennydale United Methodist officially merged with Renton First United Methodist and changed our name to Renton United Methodist to reflect our larger outreach.  The merger also blessed us with retired Dr. Rev. Kathryn Morse and pastor Laura Baumgartner thru 2021.    

Pastoral appointments at Renton First UMC

1902 - Rial Benjamin

1902 - F. H. Calder (S)

1904 - Rowland Hughes

1906 - Rolando Z. Fahs

1909 - R. L. Sprague

1910 – F. H. Calder  (2nd appointment)

1911 - Otto F. Krieger

1914 - Matthew B. Phillips

1915 - Robert L. Wolfe

1916 – F. H. Calder  (3rd appointment)

1917 - D. P. Henry (S)

1920 – F. W. Willey

1920 - Arthur F. Stearns

1921 - A. M. Steele

1922 - Edward D. White

1923 - Joseph W. Reynolds

1925 - George R. Abbott

1928 - Paul F. Green

1932 - Ernest Barber

1934 - William H. H. Forsythe

1938 - Charles L. Creesy

1940 - Roy Jenkins

1947 - William Twiddy

1948 - William Harry Monroe

1956 - Lawrence J. Linnemann

1960 - Charles Gruenwald  (Associate)

1961 - Earl L. Dean

1969 - Ken Underwood

1974 - George Poore  (12 weeks)

1974 - William G. Berney

1985 - Eugene Kester

1990 - Russell G. Meyer  

1995 - Larry M. & Bonnie Chandler-Warren

2003 - Fred Agtarap

2004 - Flora Bowers

2008 - Edsel Goldson

2011 - Cecilia L. Clemons

2015 - Michele Campton-Stehr

2020 - Michele Campton-Stehr 

            Retired Dr. Rev. Kathryn Morse

            Associate pastor Laura Baumgartner

2021 - Michele Campton-Stehr