The First Missionary Site in Incheon “Naeri Church”
On April 5, 1885, on Easter Sunday, missionary Henry Appenzeller and his wife disembarked at Jemulpo Port, stepping foot in Joseon Korea for the first time. The couple began their missionary work by holding church services in a small thatched-roof cottage before moving to a cozy white chapel with lime plaster walls in 1895 and founding the first women’s church in Korea. After officially establishing the church, dubbed Naeri Church, the Appenzellers expanded their residence to accommodate their increasing congregation, and dedicated a new church building on Christmas morning in 1901. The new building, which later became known as the Jemulpo Wesley Worship Hall, was the first modern worship hall in Incheon and became a base for missionary work along the eastern coast of Korea.
The Jemulpo Wesley Worship Hall was torn down in 1955, and the cast iron bell of Naeri Church was moved from place to place. Finally, in 2012, the worship hall was rebuilt and the bell was returned to its rightful place.
Joseon was the land that captured the hearts of the Appenzellers, and Jemulpo was where the couple’s mission work began, but it was the Wesley Worship Hall that was the true base of the Methodist Church in Korea and the beginning of the modern era of Jemulpo.