The History of Community United Methodist Church of Fruitland Park, Florida
The first Methodist preaching service recorded in Fruitland Park was conducted two blocks south of the present church under live oak trees by Mirror Lake in July 1883. Through diligent work and untiring efforts, Rev. G.W. Butler of the Southern Illinois Conference is credited with organizing the church. With proper notices given, the brethren met at the railroad station to complete the organization. On December 20, 1884, it was formally organized with 14 male charter members, being the first church in town. The church was available, then as today, to everyone feeling the need of a church whatever their religious affiliation thus, the "COMMUNITY" church.(1)
The new congregation used a number of buildings for early meetings. The church's initial land acquisitions were two city lots on the corner of College Avenue and Fountain Street, where the original church stood. The lots were deeded September 1885 and January 1886 for $15 each. In the Spring of 1886, construction of the first Methodist church was started at 107 College Avenue.
Those who could, gave money for materials, while others donated labor, all working for the common good. By January 1887, with the building enclosed and sufficiently furnished, it was occupied. With the indebtedness eliminated, the church was dedicated in February 1894.
One Sunday morning in November 1934, the whole community came to church because the church was on fire, resulting in a total loss! The pastor called the people together for prayers in a community building across the street. Members of the church started planning for the immediate rebuilding. Another denomination now uses the rebuilt facility.
Five acres of land on the corner of College Avenue and Miller Street was purchased in 1959. Construction of the office, kitchen, fellowship hall, and classrooms commenced in 1962. The present sanctuary was erected in 1964. Subsequent building and improvements include widening the sanctuary in 1990, an education building in 1994, overhead covering the front and rear sidewalks, and memorial windows above the Chancel. Also, added were a memorial garden and a tower holding the original church's bell, that is rung every Sunday morning for our Call To Service. The church has a small building debt, yet maintains a growing building fund for future needs.
2001 saw the completion of the new parsonage. In 2004 construction began on Phase 1 & 3, the new Narthex and upgrading the Sanctuary. We have modernized our offices and kitchens. Community United Methodist Church continues to expand to meet the needs of the congregation and to provide a joyful and fulfilling place of worship and fellowship. The Lord has blessed us with the means and the devotion to meet these goals.
2008 Saw the completion of the new Family Life Center which was then Phase 1. This multi-purpose building hosts dinners, worship events and other church related functions.
Phase 2 in 2015 saw the addtion to the building which now has a stage and major sound and lighting system for state of the art performances. Our Contemporary Service now is housed in the new building.
By the end of 2015 we will have completed the addition of the second story to our education building. This addition will give us additional classrooms, workspace and restrooms.