The United Methodist Church of Woodbury founded in 1856. The United Methodist Church of Woodbury has alternately flourished, struggled along for existence and survived. Its history dates back to the early nineteenth century. At that time Methodists attended meetings in private homes at East Hills, now known as Woodbury. East Hills was given its name by the early settlers when Long Island was still known as the Island of Nassau. The name East Hills was inspired by the highlands extending from the north to the center of the Island. The early history of the churches at Woodbury and West Hills is closely interwoven with the societies that taught Methodism on Long Island.
In 1818 a "southern circuit" extended from Rockaway as far as Islip, and another "northern circuit" from Roslyn to "Great Cow Harbor" (now Northport), and included the center of the Island lying between the two. Meetings were held in East Hills, (later called Woodbury) and Israel Valentine was the leader of the first class. The membership increased, and the followers met fortnightly in the Woodbury schoolhouse.
In 1834 preachers came to Woodbury from the circuit, then consisting of Northport, Huntington and Cold Spring and held services in the schoolhouse at Woodbury once every two weeks. In 1835, the schoolhouse was enlarged by subscription and regular weekly services were established. In 1844, members decided to organize and establish a permanent church home. In 1856, a plot of land on Jericho Turnpike near Woodbury Road of approximately ½ acre was purchased for the sum of $25 and a building was erected at a cost of approximately $600. (This building still stands as an historic landmark.) In 1853, the circuit consisted of Cold Spring, Woodbury and West Hills and J.W. Leek, the first pastor of this circuit, resided in Cold Spring. In 1857, a member named Hewlett gave the church a second plot of land on Jericho Turnpike. [The cemetery on top of the hill on the present church property was probably a Hewlett family plot as most of the gravestones are "Hewlett" stones.]
In 1875, Cold Spring was made a separate quarterly Conference, and O.S. Lane, the first pastor of the revised Woodbury and West Hills circuit resided in Woodbury. In those years, a donation supper was held each winter in one of the homes in West Hills or in the parsonage at Woodbury. This was well attended, and an endless variety of apples, potatoes and other things found their way to the parsonage. A strong feature of the religious work of the Church was that of the revival meetings sponsored by the Woodbury Praying Band. These meetings often lasted for three weeks and were well attended. During pastorate of Rufus S. Putney (1879) such a revival was the means of adding new members to this church. In 1876 and 1877, The Rev. Henry C. Whitney of Woodbury, and Dr. I.C. Barnhart conducted services in West Hills Methodist Church. Later Cold Spring Harbor was added back to the list. These pastors were not ordained and were still attending seminary. None stayed longer than three years except for Rev. Weston who stayed on after being ordained.
In 1885 a vestibule and steeple were added to the church building and the Hon. Daniel D. Whitney, then mayor of Brooklyn, donated the bell. In 1888, a parsonage was built. The church building was extensively refurbished and expanded in 1914-15 adding Sunday School rooms and a kitchen.
In 1956, the Woodbury Methodist Church celebrated ONE HUNDRED YEARS of worship and service in the Woodbury community. It was also the year that planning began to build a new church sanctuary and Sunday school facility on a larger property site on nearby Woodbury Road. A growing Sunday School population had justified the need to provide more room for the children and youth. In 1959, the present church building was completed and it stands on five acres of ground given by a neighbor, Phillip Goodwin.
The first parsonage at the new site, (now "Wesley Cottage", the church offices) was purchased and moved from near the LI Expressway to the church campus. The present parsonage on this site was built later, in 1972. It is interesting to note that Mr. Louis Ward and his father Mr. Charles Ward were Sextons of this Church since 1924. Rev. Ben Burns was succeeded by Rev. Paul Ewing in 1961. Rev. Howard Velzy followed in 1973, and was followed by Rev. Robert Hullstrung, who served Woodbury for 17 years, from 1979 until his retirement in 1996. Rev. John Best, Rev. George Mangan and Rev. Ann Pearson served as associate Pastors under Rev. Hullstrung. Upon the retirement of Rev. Hullstrung in 1996, Rev. Koonae Lee was appointed to Woodbury, and served until 2000 when she was sent to become the first woman Pastor of the Korean Methodist Church in Manhattan. Rev. Barbara Melzer, served Woodbury for eight years, from 2000 until her retirement in 2008. In the year 2006, she presided over the start of the year long celebration of the establishment of the Methodist Church in Woodbury, Long Island, New York. In December 2006, Bishop Jeremiah Park, came to give official recognition of the 150th ANNIVERSARY milestone. Rev. Gia Lynne Hall served Woodbury for two years and was succeeded by Rev. Ruth Dunn Widmann, who in July 2010 became the 43rd pastor of the United Methodist Church at Woodbury. Rev. Erik Rasmussen was the pastor from 2013 to 2019.
Rev Won Tack Lee is the current pastor, starting from July 1st, 2019.