HPUMC Centennial Stories

Stories from our previous 100 years as we look to the future!

Exploring the Living History Center

The Centennial celebration for Highland Park United Methodist Church is officially underway in Dallas!

HPUMC will turn one hundred years old in February 2016. From now until that day, the congregation will have a unique opportunity to learn about the church's history and the legacy of those who came before.

John Brown, Centennial Living History Chairperson, is part of a 16-person team charged with leading the congregation in honoring the church's foundation, faith, and future.

"From our initial meeting, the Centennial Leadership Team agreed that HPUMC's first 100 years would be celebrated over an entire year," says Brown. "The celebration needed a physical presence in the church building."

The team's goal was to build a living exhibit that would tell the story of Highland Park United Methodist Church in an interactive and engaging new way. They were inspired by local exhibits, like the Bush Presidential Library and SMU's Centennial Hall.

"We talked a lot about what story the Living History Center should tell and how it should tell that story," says Brown. "We met with Rev. Paul Rasmussen to make sure we kept the big picture of HPUMC's mission at the center of our plans.

"While this special place in the church would celebrate our history, it needed to focus more on what the people of HPUMC are doing right now to spread the Good News and what we will be doing in our second hundred years to continue our rich legacy of outreach and missions."

The Leadership Team reached out to Freeman Displays, an international museum and convention exhibit firm, based in Dallas, to design and fabricate the Living History Center displays.

"We took advantage of the incredibly talented HPUMC staff in Creative Communications, Archives, and Information Technology to research, provide content, fact-check dates, create engaging videos, and much more."

The Living History Center features video screens that will change throughout the year displaying short testimonies from current HPUMC members. Seven faith pylons stand at the center of Fellowship Hall, reflecting the church's core values. One of the more celebrated elements is a 27-foot long Timeline Wall that details key historical events in the life of HPUMC, dating back to 1916.

“You can look at the Senior Ministers Line to see what happened during each minister's tenure, see pictures of children crowding Sunday school rooms during the post-WWII Baby Boom, find a picture of our first contemporary worship services in the 1970's...there's lots of stuff to see.”

The most surprising thing Brown says he learned while researching the timeline, was about the original church building, affectionately known as "The Little Brown Church."

"It was often called 'the Shed'. Look at the picture of it on the Timeline Wall. I bet you can tell why."

As the Centennial celebration continues in 2015, the Living History Center will debut its "future" area.

"No good movie reveals the exciting story resolution right after the opening title, does it?" Brown explains.

Brown says the most important thing he hopes people will learn about the church through the Living History Center, is that we will always have a church home to serve others and share God's love.

“I hope people will be proud of our past, enlivened by our present and emboldened to lead HPUMC into a future of greater faith and expanding service,” says Brown.

Category: Church History
Decade: 2010's

Our Foundation is a 100-year history of HPUMC people striving to be engaged disciples of Jesus Christ in more places and in more ways than can be imagined.

Our Faith drives current programs of HPUMC that offer help and hope to those in need, teach the Love of Christ to the next generation, expand the knowledge of Christ's Love for those already on their faith journey, and tell the story of Christ's Love to those who have not heard it.

Our Future is a second century that builds upon HPUMC's past and present.

The purpose of the Living History Center is to tell all three stories in an interesting, engaging, innovative way. Visit Fellowship Hall to enjoy the experience in person.

Back to Stories

Centennial celebration honors rich legacy of past generations

All-Church Worship - Feb. 22, 2014

Read More


Get social with #HPUMC100