Fort Caroline United Methodist Church
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.
At the request of the people of the Gilmore community, Gilmore Methodist Episcopal was organized in June 1922 with 16 charter members. Reverend R.J. Derr was the first minister and the parishioners worshiped at the home of Archibald Gilmore, Sr. until a sanctuary was built and dedicated on January 16, 1923. The original sanctuary served as the church home for nearly 38 years housing worship services, suppers, youth parties, and other community uses. In June 1960 when Rev. Robert Jenkins was appointed minister he found that the church members were determined to have a new sanctuary. Worship services were temporarily moved to the Youth Building and the original sanctuary was torn down (the cornerstones of the church still stand to this day). In desperate need of a much larger property to house the growing attendance, extra land was donated by Everett and Emily Ross. On Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961, the first service in the new (and present day) sanctuary was held with 234 people attending to celebrate the new building. There were no windows, no partitions between the sanctuary and the narthex, and no air conditioning. In August 1968, the membership voted to change the name of the church from Gilmore Methodist to Fort Caroline Road United Methodist Church in order to better identify the physical location of the church (the word "road" was dropped years later).
In 2012 the church celebrated its 90th anniversary of faithfully serving the people of the Gilmore-Ft. Caroline neighborhood. Throughout the years the church has seen many pastors and faithful, kind, and caring churchgoers pass through the sanctuary doors. A well respected preschool, an active church office, full service kitchen and fellowship hall (Ross Hall) for the parishioners, eight room Sunday school complex, youth building with basketball court, and thrift shop still serve as a backdrop for what the church can provide for this community. Though the church has faced many highs and some lows, the people of this church have always come rain or shine to worship the Lord every Sunday and never hesitate to provide a friendly hug or kind word of advice to new worshipers.