Church History

Our Roots Rob Glejf Posted 2010
Reverend A.M.C. Russell was a mayor, a businessman, educator, postmaster, publisher and school superintendant under whose leadership Hernando County Schools rose to first place in Florida. He was appointed to organize a mission church. Under his pastoral supervision Brooksville mission was changed to a circuit with five additional churches.
 
The circuit riders (there were six district circuits riding ministers), a hearty lot, traveled throughout the territory delivering spiritual messages, performing marriages, baptizing their flocks of pioneers and speaking over the departed ones.
 
The church in the Brooksville area was at the southern extremity of the circuit riding clergyman’s district and was known as the Chickachatta Mission. Prior to this time the church in Hernando County had been served from Fort Brooke in Hillsborough County (Fort Brooke has evolved into Tampa). A total of 214 members were numbered among these six congregations.
 
Membership in the Brooksville Methodist Church grew until a frame church building was constructed to house the congregation. The congregation consisted of 30 men and 33 women. This structure, however, had a short life-span since a severe hurricane blew it down in 1889.
 
The congregation wasted no time. Under Rev. G.W. Seller’s pastorate, they responded immediately and a large brick structure was erected in 1890 at a cost of $5,000.00. In 1898 the church became a station church with services conducted each Sunday for the 150 members.
 
Thirty two pastors later, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Marvin Park Jr. in 1961, construction of the present sanctuary took place and was completed in 1964. The sanctuary was erected on the site of the former sanctuary which had served for nearly 75 years.
 
Our Roots by Rob Glejf
During the years that the present-day Hernando County was part of Alachua, Hillsborough, and Mosquito Counties, God?s Word was brought to the area by the chaplains located at various small military forts built by the United States Army to defend the territory against the Seminole Nation, with whom the United States was at war.
 
After the Seminoles were forced to move to Oklahoma, Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 under terms of which, 160 acre parcel of land was given to each family that moved to the area and occupied the former Indian land. Many of the older families in Brooksville today are descendants of those early settlers.
 
As late as 1843, when Hernando County was established, religious worship was primarily family oriented.
 
The town of Brooksville was not established until 1856, when Joseph Hale and John May deeded a section of land where the courthouse now stands.
 
The church in the Brooksville area was at the southern extremity of the circuit riding clergyman?s district and was known as the Chickachatta Mission. Until then the church in Hernando County had been served from Fort Brooke in Hillsborough County. (Fort Brooke has evolved into Tampa.)
 
Religious services continued to be held in private homes as late as the1870?s. The Methodist church meetings rotated among the homes of members in the two small settlements of Melendez (between the railroad and U.S. 98) and Perceville (southeast of present day South Main and Summit Road.) These towns became the city of Brooksville after the Hale/May deed.
 
In the late 1870?s, under the ministry of A.M.C.Russell, the First Church of Brooksville was built and a congregation formed.
 
A Little History By Rob Glejf , Church Historian
 
“It’s not just a cabinet” – Bartlett’s family legacy to the Brooksville FUMC family.
 
The Reverend Marvin Park was pastor of FUMC from 1963-64, a period in which our sanctuary went through extensive renovation. That great sculptured looking motif around the choir loft was adopted by the architect.
Albert Bartlet, a cabinet maker and one of our own, took it upon himself to build a lectern, a pulpit incorporating architect Frank E. Patterson’s motif. With the skill and precision of a Swiss watchmaker, Albert constructed this versatile piece of furniture to be very appreciatively used by ushers to lean on or potential newcomers to register. It’s also used for storing items used by ushers, greeters and acolytes in performing their tasks.
 
This is a genuine chunk of our church’s history.
 
In the corner of the narthex, a duplicate cabinet also was built by Albert. This one was designed to store “In Memoriam” books, used to record bequests.
Albert also was in the process of building a table, designed to display the church’s historical artifacts, but The Lord recruited him to perform other tasks.
 
In their eulogy, Albert’s children very eloquently explained: “His hands are what we remember the most. They were large, strong and rough, but capable of intricate woodwork and gentle hugs. His hands brought wonderful gifts which will remind us of enduring love.” As we enter our sanctuary, let these pieces be a reminder of the living link to our church’s history.
 
A Little History By Rob Glejf , Church Historian
Remembering the past and Inspiring the Future
 
(From: Biography of John Wesley.
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Phillip Schaff Vol XII)
 
John Wesley together with George Whitefield, the great evangelist, upon their return from America were excluded from the churches of Bristol. Hence, in April 1739 Wesley preached his first open air sermon? to a company of miners.
Such open air services were very successful. More than once, John used his father?s tombstone at Epworth as a pulpit.
 
For upward of fifty years Wesley was in the field preaching, entering churches when he was invited; taking his stand in the fields, in halls, cottages and chapels when churches would not receive him. “Thus,” he wrote, “without any previous plan, began the Methodist Society of England.” In the course of his itinerant ministry, Wesley is believed to have traveled more than 250,000 miles, generally on horseback, preaching twice even thrice daily. With his brother Charles, He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on 2 March. The Wesley brothers are also commemorated on 3 March in the calendar of Saints of the Episcopal Church and on 24 May in the Anglican calendar. Wesley is listed at 50 on the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons…..
 
On the “lighter” side:
 
From a letter concerning finances in 1895:
“In your adversity spare a portion. In your prosperity be liberal.”
“We have assessed $400.00 for the Pastor’s Salary This Year.”
“Let our purpose be not one cent less than the figure named, and more if we can pay for it. We hope you will help.”
 
Submitted by Board of Stewards, Your co-laborers in Christ.