We commit to living out the Truth of the Gospel through Spirit-filled worship and study, faithful fellowship and loving service, and to impact our world as followers of Christ sharing the Gospel.
A community of faith connecting and growing in Christ, transforming our world.
"Connect, Grow, Transform"
In The Beginning...
HISTORY OF SEBASTIAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
It was in the 1880's Mr. Hickock, an earnest Methodist layman, traveled by sailboat once a month from Micco to hold worship services in Sebastian. He would spend the night and return to his pineapple farm the next day.
In 1886, Rev. James Bolton was appointed to the Indian River Mission and instructed to establish a permanent church in Sebastian. Services were held in the homes of interested people.
The people of the church continued to meet in homes until a sanctuary was built in 1893 under the leadership of Rev. C. F. Blackburn. A member donated homestead land for the church site and ladies of the church helped raise money for the materials to build the church by serving meals to the crew of steamships that stopped at Kitchings's Dock – the only stop between Titusville and Ft. Pierce. Rev. Blackburn then solicited subscriptions and purchased timber which was brought down the Indian River by sailboat and hauled up Main Street by a team of mules.
The congregation could not wait for the completion of the building, so they laid boards on the ground for a temporary floor and put boards across nail kegs for benches. That was the setting for the first worship service in the sanctuary on July 23, 1893. As the sanctuary took on a more permanent nature, Paul Kroegel made a pulpit, which is now displayed in the narthex, and Annie Groves donated a bell for the steeple. In 1894, the first permanent organ was installed and was played by Mary Vickers, from 1894- 1964!
In 1901, the church was enlarged and remodeled and in 1964 the new sanctuary was built. The expansion and remodeling of our chancel (for our growing ministry of music) was completed in 2001. Our music ministry includes chancel choir, handbells, beginner handbells, flute ensemble, brass choir along with children's choir and children's chime choir.
During the pastorate of Rev. H. C. Margin (1954-1957), a social hall (fellowship hall) was built on Main Street to replace the former one on Louisiana Avenue. Under the pastorate of Rev. Raymond Sharp (1961), three new classrooms were built, thanks in large part to a memorial gift from Ina Hileman.
The biggest changes in the history of the church took place during the ministry of Rev. Randall Parsons. While he was here, a new sanctuary was built in 1964, along with a pastor's study and a secretary's office. The fund drive was begun on April 23, 1964, with a goal of $32,000. The progress towards the new sanctuary was helped by Ruth Miller who donated the land for the new building. In less than eight months, the building was completed, and half the money had been raised by 170 members. On December 6, 1964, the sanctuary was consecrated by Bishop James Henley.
In 1977, during the pastorate of Rev. Roscoe McCloud, a kitchen was added to the Fellowship Hall, and under the pastorate of Rev. Warren Huntington, the present parsonage was built in 1984.
In the early1990s, during the pastorate of Rev. John Hill, we bought additional property so we could relocate our Thrift Shop and our offices to separate buildings. In 1996, under the leadership of Rev. Roy Harris, the back of the sanctuary was enlarged by removing the walls of two previous offices. New pews and carpeting were installed. With this expansion, the church was not able to accommodate another 40-50 people for seating during services.
Sebastian United Methodist Church has always felt strong ties to the community and its members volunteer in many community activities. Mention should be made of the long history of service to the library. In October 1973, a library was opened in one of the Sunday School rooms. It operated until November 1, 1982, when the 1500-2000 volumes were turned over to the Sebastian River Library Association for inclusion in the new North Indian River County Library which opened in early 1983. The library in the church was kept open until the new library became functional.
In the mid-1980s the Thrift Shop was established and was originally located in the Youth Room (former library). Present day the Thrift Shop is located across the street and the Boutique in the Bays is located behind the church office in the storage bays for a unique thrift shop shopping experience. Sebastian United Methodist Thrift Shop is powered by volunteer service.
In 2016, under the pastorate of Rev. William Finnin, the kitchen next to the Fellowship Hall was updated and remodeled which enabled the church to serve the community in many ways.
Truly, the Lord has blessed us with the extraordinary attitude of a loving, caring family and continues to challenge us with His call to serve this community with a multitude of practical ministries.
Sebastian United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of sharing Christ in this community! We invite you to join us as we serve Christ well into the future.