First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill
Friday, April 28, 2017
The History of Our Church
History of First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill
Per Dr. Paul Clemons: Spring Hill Community was under the development of Deltona Corporation. They recognized the community would need churches, schools and parks to grow and thoughtfully set aside several tracts of land in the area - 26 church sites, 5 public schools and 5 public parks - the largest tracts were 5 to 6 acres. These parcels of land were given free of charge to whichever churches would like them with the understanding they each had to build within six months of taking possession of the land. Our parcel was one of the larger ones. Having the foresight that our church would grow, we purchased adjoining property (8+ acres) expanding the size of this campus to about 14 acres.
With the arrival of Rev. Harold Burns and his wife Charlotte in 1970, a semi-retired part time pastor, the church continued on in growth and development. They were the first to occupy the new parsonage and because they lived in Spring Hill, they were able to devote much time to visitation and church growth.
On June 3, 1970 the First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill was welcomed into the fellowship of The United Methodist Church by Bishop James W. Henley and presented a Certificate of Organization.
Church membership is recorded with 21 members on March 29, 1970 and grew to 31 by years’ end. By the end of 1971 membership had added 107 more to the rolls.
A ground breaking for the sanctuary began July 1, 1970 and the first service was held Christmas Eve, 1970 with Rev. Harold Burns as Pastor. The cornerstone was laid February 21, 1971. The church grew to 144 members under Rev. Burns who served till June of 1972.
The first “appointed” pastor was The Rev. Rick Neal. He served from June 1972 until June 1981.
A charter was issued to The United Methodist Women in October of 1971. The United Methodist Men were chartered May of 1973.
A church school addition to Burns Hall was established in July 1974. Rev. Neal along with Rev. Lynn Bergman in the Office of Global Ministries were instrumental in starting a Senior Retirement Home called Evergreen Woods in September 1979.
The second Sanctuary (presently the Light House) was dedicated January 29, 1978. The current Burns Hall became Burns Hall Fellowship named after Rev. Harold Burns and dedicated on May 7, 1979.
Church membership in 1978 was 432 members and grew to 489 by years’ end. By March of 1980, membership had grown to 545.
The next Pastor was Lyman Kirkwood who served from June 1981 until June 1992.
The current Fellowship Hall was completed 1984. The new parsonage had its open house in January 1987. Burns Hall became the church office housed aweekly daycare.
Rev. Ron Daniels served from June 1992 until June 2004.
Over the years, Assistant Pastors were Susan Hoke, John Hope, Tom Fuller (90-92), Jim Morris, Ron Sumpter (6/96), Will Schied (4/00), and Gary Edwards (7/03).
The new (and present) Sanctuary ground breaking was January 2000. The first service was held on Palm Sunday March 24, 2002.
October 2003 Russ Tabbert became the Assistant to the Pastor and served till December 2008.
Rev. William “Bill” McLoud became our fourth appointed Senior Pastor on June 16, 2004. He retired from Ministry on June 5, 2011.
The Balcony was completed and open for use in the fall of 2008.
Interim Associate Pastor Rev. Dr. Robert Suggs joined staff from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010.
Rev. Anthony Caruana joins staff as Assistant Pastor on August 15, 2010.
Rev. Michael “Mike” Oliver became our fifth appointed Pastor on July 3, 2011.
Rev. William “Bill” Owens became our sixth appointed Pastor on July 1, 2013.
Rev. Greg Freeze became our seventh appointed Pastor on July 1, 2015.
The Florida Conference
Methodist came to Florida with the circuit riders who followed the trails across the border from Georgia after the United States took control of the territory from the Spanish in 1821. The official origin of Methodism in peninsular Florida, however, came in 1822 with the appointment, by the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Elijah Sinclair to St. Mary's and Amelia Island. The Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized on February 6, 1845, in Tallahassee.
Since 1945 the work in Florida has been carried out in twenty-seven organized bodies in six denominations of the Wesleyan tradition: Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church South, Methodist Protestant Church, Methodist Church, United Brethren in Christ, and Evangelical United Brethren.
The present conference was formed in 1968 by the merger of the Florida Conference of The Methodist Church and the Florida Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The resulting union, the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, was completed in 1969, with the merger of the racially segregated Florida Conference, Central Jurisdiction.
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