New Bern has been host to a Methodist gathering since 1772 when John Wesley sent Reverend Joseph Pilmore to the colonies. He preached to Methodists in New Bern on December 25, 1772. This date marks the founding of Centenary United Methodist Church. From that time circuit riders visited New Bern often. Bishops Asbury and Whatcoat preached in New Bern. Francis Asbury preached in New Bern fourteen times. Centenary Church is considered one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Methodist congregation south and east of Baltimore. In 1795 the Methodist Society purchased a lot on the corner of Hancock Street and Pleasant Alley and in 1802 Andrew's Chapel was built. This was the second church built in New Bern, antedated only by Christ Episcopal church.
The second Methodist church was built in 1843 on what is now 511 New street and the present Sanctuary was completed in 1904. An early morning fire on September 15, 1936 resulted in collapse of the Sanctuary ceiling and extensive damage throughout.
Catholic sisters living across New Street stood on the sidewalk praying that the beautiful stained glass windows be spared and they were. Repairs to the building and furnishings were made in time for the church to host the Centennial Session of the North Carolina Conference in November 1936. In 1966, the Sanctuary was renovated as it appears now.