Winter Garden Methodist Church

 

Before the beginning of the great Civil War, pioneers settled in the area known as Beulah which was located two miles south of Winter Garden. It was here that the Congregational Methodist Church was established.

 

In 1884 the church was renamed the Congregational Church to allow for different denominations to feel comfortable. At the beginning, there was only one song book and no musical instruments could be found. In order for the congregation to worship the Lord in song, the preacher would read one line of a song from the song book and the congregation would sing that line.

 

This was repeated, one line at a time, until the song was finished. In the early 1890's a public school was built in the Beulah Community. The Methodist families formed a Sunday School using the school house for classes. Here they had music.

winter garden district methodist church

Once a month, Luther F. Tilden would bring the circuit preacher from Apopka to Beulah to conduct church services. The church building was placed on a circuit with three other churches to allow for the word to be spread. A building was erected in 1895 on land deeded by Christian Peters and became the Beulah Methodist Episcopal Church. The land and building were later sold and the congregation moved to Winter Garden. The relocation was happened sometime around 1909 or 1910, but no exact date has ever been settled on. The first meetings were held under an arbor at Newell and Boyd Streets. The Methodist Episcopal Church; South of Winter Garden was erected around 1910. Around 1911, Rev. A.T. Hind was appointed the new pastor. The church went from one service per month to full time services under Rev. H.C. Hardin (1921-25). During this time, the land where the Educational Building, Fellowship Hall and the Parsonage stand was purchased.

Ground breaking was held in 1941 for a larger church building and the dedication was held in June 1942 during the morning services. In 1942 the bell from the old church was moved to the new Sanctuary Tower. The old bell was later replaced by a new one purchased in Shingle Creek. Under Rev. Berry D. Bourn (1944-46), plans were drawn for the Educational Building, Fellowship Hall and the Chapel. The present Aeolian organ, light fixtures and stained art-glass windows were installed in the sanctuary under Rev. Rembert A. Guy (1942-44).

During 1949, a library was established. A new parsonage, located on Tilden Street and Roper Drive, was built in 1972. A preschool and kindergarten was opened September 1978. The Acolyte program began in 1979. A complete refurbishing was started in October 1992 and completed in February 1993.  The church continues to grow and is an active part of the West Orange community.