Who We Are

Who are we?

Pine UMC, acknowledged as the "mother" church of all Japanese American Methodist Churches in the United States, was formally founded in 1886 when Dr. Merriman Harris arrived from Japan, having been appointed Superintendent of the Japanese Missions by the Methodist California Annual Conference. However the true beginnings of Pine UMC can be traced back to the 1870's when a group of young men from Japan began to meet in the basement of the Chinese Mission in San Francisco (at the corner of Washington and Stockton Streets). Under the guidance of Dr. Otis Gibson, then the Superintendent of the Chinese Mission, the young men met regularly to study the Bible and English. In 1877, this small group formed the Japanese Gospel Society or Fukuin Kai. Out of the Japanese Gospel Society evolved not only Pine UMC but all Japanese Christian churches in the United States. This early period is called the Anagura Jidai or "Cellar Days" and launched the history of Pine UMC.