In 1896, 161 years after Methodism's founder John Wesley walked on American soil, the first members of what would become Highlands United Methodist Church began meeting. Once a month a Methodist minister, the Rev. Robert Summer would come to preach, and, during the rest of the month, the Baptist congregation and the Methodist congregation worshiped together. At this time the states were still recovering from the Civil War.
1896 was a rough year for our conference. The Methodist archives show that in 1896 a hurricane hit the state, destroyed some churches and damaged others. Florida was rapidly growing as people moved into the state. That same year, Tampa's First Methodist passed the 500 mark in membership. This was the first Florida church to accomplish this, and its membership soared to 622 members.
Our church was first organized as part of the Haskell-Midway Charge. It was a community church where people from all denominations worshiped outdoors. The Methodist congregation later started meeting in the school house on Seward Lake. In 1918 the congregation started meeting in a grove across from where the church would soon be built. This property on 717 Lime Ave. was in the middle of the community known as Haskell, which was later named Highland City. The property was donated by Mrs. Eunice Trask.
Churches usually organize several years before they are chartered. The Haskell Methodist Episcopal church was chartered in 1922. In 1966 the sanctuary was moved from the center of Highland City (Lime Ave. location) to its present location on Strickland and Clubhouse Road, nestled on 5 acres of land. After the church was moved, a fellowship hall, kitchen, study and classrooms were added. To do this the church took out a loan of $24,000.00.
In 1968, The Highland City Methodist Church became Highlands United Methodist Church. In the early 1990's, stained glass windows were added to the sanctuary honoring some of the saints and depicting the life and ministry of Jesus.
Highlands United Methodist Church takes the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ very seriously. Our mission is to be intentional about making disciples for Jesus Christ, to nurture believers in the knowledge of God's kingdom, and to be the image of Christ in the Highlands community through acts of mercy, rooted in love. Our goal is to grow in faith and love in Jesus Christ, to reach out to the community around us, and to transform lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.