Riverside UMC Jacksonville FL     |        Prayer     Give            
Our History
(0 votes)
Add to favourites

Ihistory_mrs._spiers.jpgn 1888, a group of members from St. Matthew’s Methodist Church in La Villa met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Spiers in a developing area of Jacksonville called Riverside and organized a Sunday School. The Sunday School grew and in 1890, 23 charter members organized the Riverside Methodist Episcopal Church, South and built their first sanctuary in 1891 on the corner of Dellwood and Rosselle.

 

history_2nd_sanctuary.jpg

In 1905, property was purchased at the corner of Park and Fisk (now Riverside Park Place) for the construction of a new sanctuary. With the move, the name was changed to Riverside Park Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1926, the continued need for education space brought about the establishment of a committee for a new building. The present Christian Education Building was completed in 1930 (renamed in 1959 to honor L.P. McCord, Sunday School Superintendent).

 

With the national merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Methodist Protestant Church, the name was changed to Riverside Park Methodist Church in 1939.

 

Attendance continued to grow until in 1940, a committee was appointed to plan for a new sanctuary. These were the war years and progress had to be put on hold until 1948 when the old sanctuary was torn down. While the new sanctuary was being built, a temporary facility had to be found. This was the time before the Interstate system and so the solution was an easy one; walk to the nearby Friday Musicale for worship services.

 

In 1950, our present sanctuary was dedicated and new stained glass windows were installed during the 1960s. The Children’s Building was complete on the corner of Fisk and Oak Street in 1963. As a result of the national merger with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, our name was once again changed to Riverside Park United Methodist Church in 1969.

 

 history_mid_50s.jpg

 

The 1970s brought the purchase of a city block north of our property bounded by Park, Fisk, Oak, and I-95. In 1978, The Life Center, an ecumenical program for senior adults was organized and in the following decade, the Riverside Park Apartments, 90 units of senior affordable housing was dedicated in 1982.

 

The year 1990 marked our 100th anniversary with Bishop H. Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr. preaching and the installation of an Austin Pipe Organ the year before.

 

In recent years, RPUMC has strengthened its commitment to the neighborhood by sponsoring community events, many happening in “our front yard across the street” Riverside Park. The Easter Egg picnic and “Rockin’ Back to School” school supply giveaway takes the message of Jesus Christ’s love to those outside our doors. Our Community Classes for Abundant Living on Wednesday nights during the fall, winter and spring offers low-cost classes to the community to meet the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of our world.

 

Last year marked our 125th anniversary with the “Pony Up” project supporting the Madison Youth Ranch and monthly celebrations including upgrades/additions to our organ and renovations in the sanctuary.

 

Our church today remains exciting and active. We continue with an emphasis of meeting the needs around us, especially in missions to the local community and global concerns. We stand on the traditions of our past and seek to meet the needs of a changing world…all in the name of our Savior.