Our Story

Methodists have a strong tradition of proclaiming Christ on the north shore of the Manatee River. Records indicate the first sermon by a Methodist Circuit Rider was preached by a Rev. Harrell in 1867 in the log cabin which served as the school for the Lamb family. The log cabin was located under six towering oaks on the riverfront, just down from the current location of the church.

Before the organization of the church, people in Palmetto would travel across the river to attend services at what is now Manatee United Methodist Church. Our church was organized in 1882, and first met in members' homes until the original sanctuary was built on the northeast corner of 10th Avenue and 5th Street, adjacent to the post office.

Our community of faith has weathered many storms throughout its history. In the 1880's, Palmetto survived a yellow fever epidemic. Between 1900 and 1910, there were waves of scarlet fever, typhoid fever and diphtheria. At one point, public gatherings - including worship - were suspended until the epidemics passed. A strong women's society ministered to the sick and dying during these times, as well as generously supporting world missions.

The original church sanctuary was built in 1892, and the cast iron steeple bell that resided in it was purchased in 1895 for $40. Today's sanctuary was constructed in 1924, and the steeple bell was removed and placed into storage. The impressive brick building includes a basement, which is highly unusual for Florida.

In 1952, the church's youth group led fundraising activities to raise monies and build our current Sunday School wing which includes the church office. In 1958 the sanctuary was remodeled and expanded. 1982 ushered in the church's Centennial Celebration which included the construction of the current fellowship hall. In 1997, the sanctuary underwent a major restoration project, including restoration of all the stained glass windows.

The original cast iron church bell was restored and re-dedicated in April 2009 during a service lead by the church's Board of Trustees. The leaders of different mission and outreach groups within the church took turns ringing the bell. Leadership included Virginia Smith, Harry Doyle, Sue Revell, George Strawn, Jeanette Quesenberry, Ann Marshall, Rick Barber, Tim Mercurio, Kathy Johnson and various Palmetto City Council members. To this day, our members still enjoy ringing the bell as they leave worship services and enter the mission fields.

Additional Church History

Our Story: 1843-1970 , as recorded by Church Historian, Alice Myers