On March 14, 2010, the members of First United Methodist Church of Cleveland and Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church voted to combine congregations to form University Circle United Methodist Church (Church in the Circle). The merged congregation now worships in the former Epworth-Euclid building on the corner of East 107th and Chester Avenue, which is often referred to as “The Holy Oil Can Church” as recognized by its distinctive steeple. This location is at the gateway to University Circle and its many institutions of education, health care, arts and culture.
Epworth-Euclid UMC had experienced numerous mergers in its past. The original church was formally organized in 1827, and its generations of members subsequently worshiped in several locations before the current church building was constructed and dedicated on June 3, 1928.
Likewise, First Church Cleveland had a long history also dating back to 1827 when the First Methodist Society of Cleveland was founded. The congregation worshiped in several buildings beginning in what is now downtown Cleveland, moving further East as its members moved in that direction, building the final First Church at East 30th and Euclid Avenue in 1903-04.
There is much rich history about the architecture and construction of both cathedral-style churches and about the generations of members that have worshiped in both locations. University Circle United Methodist Church invites you to participate in a vibrant worship experience on Sundays and to visit the church to learn more about the combined histories of its buildings, congregations, and pastors.
University Circle United Methodist Church traces its history back to 1831, when the earliest Methodist gatherings in Cleveland were held at Doan's Corners. The church was christened Epworth-Euclid Methodist Church in 1919 with the merger between two historic congregations – Euclid Avenue Methodist Episcopal and Epworth Memorial Church.
The latter congregation was the birthplace of the Epworth League, an international Christian youth movement. In 2010, the members of Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Cleveland voted to combine congregations to form University Circle United Methodist Church.
The present building was designed by noted architect Bertram Goodhue shortly before his death in 1924. The Cleveland-based Walker & Weeks firm saw the project to completion four years later. Goodhue's towering steeple, modeled after Mont Saint Michel in France, was dubbed the "Holy Oil Can" by students on the Western Reserve campus – a nickname still used today.
By The Cleveland Historical team
“University Circle United Methodist Church,” Cleveland Historical, accessed January 4, 2017,
John Wheeler describes how Cleveland architect Bertram Goodhue formulated the design of the building.
John Wheeler discusses the Epworth League, a pioneering christian youth group organization.
John Wheeler of discusses the building's humorous nickname.