HPUMC History

Highland Park United Methodist Church has a rich history dating back to the founding of Southern Methodist University. The first services of the University Church, forerunner of HPUMC, were held in February 1916 on the SMU campus. Within months, a marriage of “town and gown” occurred and the church changed its name when Methodist families in Highland Park agreed to transfer their membership from other local churches to support the university congregation.

In 1917 construction of a temporary church building, affectionately dubbed “The Little Brown Church,” was begun near our current location to house the small but rapidly growing church. Construction of the present building began in 1926 during the ministry of Dr. Umphrey Lee. Inspired by his dream of a campus cathedral, the congregation authorized plans steeped in gothic detail. The dream became a reality when members gathered on Sunday, February 6, 1927, for the first formal service of worship in the new sanctuary.

In 2013, Paul Rasmussen became the 11th senior pastor to serve this congregation of over 15,000 members. Under his leadership, the congregation and staff of more than 100 continues the legacy of outreach in the community and the world.

From its humble beginnings on the SMU campus, Highland Park United Methodist Church has continued to grow, even beyond our main campus. In 2011 the beautiful and historic Munger Place Church was renovated and re-opened to become an East Dallas satellite campus for HPUMC, allowing us to now offer five types of worship opportunities on two campuses. In 2016, Highland Park United Methodist Church will celebrate 100 years of helping people become deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Learn More at HPUMC.org