MARINER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HISTORY

In the late 1970′s a group of people considering the growth in the new community of Spring Hill, Florida, began to see opportunities for a new United Methodist Church. Facts were gathered and presented to the Board of Missions and Church Extension of the St. Petersburg District of The United Methodist Church. An Ad Hoc Committee composed of a group of lay persons from the First United Methodist Church in Spring Hill and the First Methodist Church in Brooksville was called together on February 13, 1980, by the Superintendent of the St. Petersburg District. The task for this committee was to organize and make an effective ministry within the northern section of Spring Hill.

A seven-acre site on Mariner Boulevard, just south of State Road 50 was given to the District as a gift from the Deltona Corporation. A gift of $35,000 was received from the George Young Foundation for purchase and construction of the parsonage. Ground breaking for the new church was held on June 11, 1980. Rev. Van Dyken was appointed to serve this new church. He began visiting homes in the community, inviting people to become part of this new congregation.

Weekly meetings were held at the parsonage. The first meeting attracted more than forty people, enough to soon tax the available space at the parsonage. More space was needed for worship services and the Hernando County School Board granted permission to use the library of Springstead High School. On August 17, 1980, worshipers celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for the first time as a community of faith.

Forty-three names were suggested for the new church. The final choice, Mariner United Methodist Church, was announced on Sunday, November 2, 1980. January 4, 1981 was a significant date in the history of Mariner Church. The St. Petersburg District Superintendent led the Charter Service where 144 persons were officially received into membership as charter members and the new building was consecrated. By 1982-83, the average attendance was between 261 and 294. Three worship services were offered for the winter season.

On February 21, 1986, a Ground-Breaking Ceremony was held for a program/administrative building. By a congregational vote, the new building was named Van Dyken Hall to honor Mariner’s founding pastor. A confirmation of membership projections by The Long-Range Planning Committee resulted in recommendations that further action be taken toward the development of plans for a proposed sanctuary and necessary parking. These plans were presented to the Administrative Board at the February 25, 1987 Administrative Board meeting. The proposed plan was passed. On July 22, 1990, church members assembled outside the original Sanctuary Building, now Fellowship Hall, to have a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Sanctuary. Construction began in August 1990 and occupancy was gained in December 1991.
Fellowship Hall - the original Sanctuary building.
Marquee sign at Mariner Blvd in front of the Sanctuary building.
Van Dyken Hall - named for Mariner's founding pastor.
Cornerstone on what is now Fellowship Hall (formerly the original Sanctuary building) marking Mariner UMC's founding.
Entrance to the office area and Sanctuary.  Note the canopy area for drop-off during inclement weather and for disabled attendees.
Main entrance to the Sanctuary.
The Narthex -  inside the main entrance to the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary.
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