The Poe Chapel & The Poe Endowment (Fund)

The Poe Endowment Fund and Poe Chapel were made possible by generous donations from the family of lifelong member Gertrude L. Poe and her late sisters and parents who all were members of this church. Since 2014, when the Chapel was dedicated and the Fund established, donations have helped to grow the Fund and allow for enhancements to the Chapel.

The Poe Chapel
Purpose: To provide an intimate gathering place for spiritual events, prayer and personal reflection.

Since its dedication, the Chapel has been used for:

  • Prayer gatherings
  • Baptisms
  • Weddings
  • Memorial services
  • Sunday School classes

poechapelwindowThe stained glass Shepherd’s Window was commissioned in 2014 by the Poe Family. It was created by Cathedral Crafts, Inc., Winona, MN. The installation was done in celebration of the 99th birthday of Gertrude L. Poe, in September 2014.


If you would like to reserve the Chapel for a special occasion, please contact the church office, (301) 725-3093.

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On April 25, 1999 Gertrude Poe was joined by about 100 members of FUMCL to dedicate the site of the first Methodist Church as well as the first church edifice, in Laurel, known as the Old Stone Church.”

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 The building was built in 1842. It no longer exists, but Miss Poe commissioned Dr. Richard Compton to do an oil painting of it that now hangs in the Poe Chapel. Also dedicated was a plaque designating the nearby 1830 building where Methodism in Laurel was founded in 1840. The historical markers were a personal project of Miss Poe.

The Poe Endowment Fund at First United Methodist Church of Laurel

The Poe Endowment Fund was established in recognition of the lifelong dedication of the Poe Family members who attended worship, Sunday School and spent much time at FUMCL.

The Poe Endowment Fund:

  • Maintains the Poe Chapel as a place for spiritual renewal and worship.
  • Provides funding for youth programs and youth scholarships.
  • Benefits Sunday School Programs for youth and adults.
  • Assists the Church music program.
  • Helps to preserve historical elements of the Church and the history of Methodism in Laurel
  • Provides funding for mission projects and trips.

All these good works were important to the Poe sisters.

The Poe Endowment Fund Committee, operating under the governing body of First United Methodist Church of Laurel, administers The Fund. The Fund committee members are: Jim Welsh and Pat Elliott – FUMCL Memorials Committee; Wayne Becraft – Member-at-large; Jim Ryan – FUMCL Finance Committee; Vicci Rodgers – Poe Family Representative.

Annually, during the first quarter of the year, the Poe Endowment Fund Committee reviews requests for funding of work that aligns with the mission of the Fund. In 2016, the Chancel Choir requested funds to build cabinetry to store their music. The Poe Endowment Fund supported this project with a check for $400.


The Poe Sisters – seated in front of the altar that now resides in The Poe Chapel. Clockwise from upper left Myrtle Poe Donaldson, Ruby Poe King, Margaret Poe Vogts and Gertrude L. Poe. Not pictured, Verna Poe (deceased).


A fountain in the lobby of FUMCL was given in memory of Ruby Poe King and the involvement of her family at the church. Her daughters, Joanne King Rodgers and Jackie King Ryder, grew up attending Sunday School at FUMCL. Jackie and Jack Ryder were married here in 1954.

The Poe Family

The Poe family moved to Laurel in 1927 and began worshiping at the then Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street in Laurel. “The Poe Sisters” dedicated their lives to working in various capacities for the FUMCL as well as making it their spiritual home. Gertrude L. Poe currently is the longest- living active member of FUMC of Laurel.

Gertrude played a significant role in the creation of the memorial brick garden and renovations to the church over the past 75 years. Myrtle was active in many organizations at FUMCL and her daughter, Joyce Ann, attended Sunday School here. Margaret was a founding member of The Keystone Club, very active in the Altar Committee at FUMCL and chairman of the 150th Anniversary Celebration in 1991.

Family members involved in the establishment of the Poe Endowment Fund and the transformation of the parlor to the chapel include: Gertrude L. Poe, Joanne King Rodgers, Jacqueline King Ryder and John H. Ryder, Joyce Ann Donaldson Burk and Vicci Rodgers.

Contributions to the Poe Endowment Fund should be made to: First United Methodist Church of Laurel (FUMCL). Memo note: Poe Endowment

For more information about The Poe Endowment Fund or The Poe Chapel, call the church office or send an email to: