Yesterday’s Vision….Today’s Reality….
A Ministry and Mission Forecast for the Future
Well over 100 years ago Palm Harbor United Methodist Church began……
Its roots go back to Florida Southern College, a Methodist College in Leesburg governed by the Florida Conference. In 1902 the college made a decision to move from Leesburg to Sutherland, Florida (the community of Sutherland was renamed Palm Harbor in 1925).
For 19 years church services were held at the school. In 1921 a fire destroyed most of the facilities of the college and Florida Southern College relocated to Lakeland. With a vision of wanting to continue meeting as a church, members met in the school’s undamaged gymnasium. They organized the construction of a new sanctuary. Hand-cleaned bricks from the fire-damaged building were used as part of the structure that would become known as “The White Chapel”. Services began in “The White Chapel” in 1925.
In 1965 members recognized the need for a larger sanctuary. A building fund was started, the land was donated, and the building began. On November 14, 1971, the first service was held in the new sanctuary at the Michigan Avenue site.
At this downtown site, the ministries of The Robin’s Nest (our Preschool Ministry) began in 1983. In 1987 our before and after school ministry began……Stars and Comets.
In 1985 the congregation agreed to purchase 7.25 acres of property on 21st street near Westlake Blvd. The purchase price of the property was $342,000. They had dreams of a new church costing $2 million. In 1995 worship began at the site on which we currently sit. For over 10 years the church worship was held in what is now called our multi-purpose Room.
An Education wing was added and Westlake Christian School began in 1995 (now Kindergarten through 8th grade).
In September 2003 the first worship service was held in our current sanctuary, with a seating capacity of over 1700.
What started as “Yesterday’s Vision” became “Today’s Reality.” And with Today’s Reality, we now focus on our future and God’s vision for ministry and mission.