Who We Are


First Church Parallels the History of Sarasota

Organized 125 years ago in 1891, First Church was the very first church in the village of Sarasota, Florida.

As the only Sarasota organization in existence today that existed in 1891, First United Methodist Church parallels and represents the history of Sarasota.

The first services were held in a little school building on Main Street with the Reverend E. F. Gates, a horseback riding circuit-rider, as the first pastor. Reverend Will Tresca was sent to formally organize the Church. He gathered 12 members in a Main Street storeroom for the signing of the charter. That property, on the corner of Pineapple Avenue and Main Street at Five Points, was purchased for $40. That first building looked more like a barn than a church.

Throughout the decades since, this congregation has been constantly re-evaluating its mission and purpose in serving those locally and globally.  As a downtown church, we find over half of our congregation drive more than three miles to attend worship and other church activities.  We now find ourselves on the cusp of a revitalizing Downtown Sarasota with burgeoning opportunity for our mission…..To Celebrate the Joy of Christ’s Love as a dynamic and growing church.




Among the art treasures of Sarasota are the stained-glass windows of the Sanctuary and the Chapel of First Church.


The exquisite works of art that grace the Sanctuary windows were created by the world famous stained-glass artist,  Arthur Erridge of Exeter, England. They portray the life of Christ in the deep, rich colors of old stained glass found in the manor houses of England. The 14 windows in the Sanctuary lead one through the life of Christ, reaching a climax at the Great Commission window, above the Chancel, at the front of the Sanctuary.


As the historic stained-glass windows of the Sanctuary portray the rich history of the faith, the modern windows in the Chapel remind us of the calling we each have to be servants of the Lord. These windows created in sparkling colors by the White Stained Glass Studios in 1983, speak of the many vocations the people of God fulfill in their faithful living. Symbols such as the carpenter’s hammer or the farmer’s plow, the nurse’s cap and the mason’s trowel, lace through these windows and all the Biblical images present in them. These exquisite windows remind us that whatever walk of life may be our calling, we can still be a servant of God.


MISSION STATEMENT-  “To celebrate and share the joy of Christ’s love”


VISION STATEMENT- “To be a dynamic growing church”

The Church Council has formed a Strategic Leadership Team consisting of the Sr. Pastor, Lay Leader, Council Chair, Finance Chair, Trustees Chair, Staff/Parish Chair and two At-Large members.  The Team meets regularly throughout the year, concerning itself with the long-range issues facing the church and will follow the Lord into the future to celebrate
and share the joy of Christ’s love, expecting God’s blessing for our faithfulness… maintaining the Strategic Plan on a current basis.  The Team partners with each of the ministry work areas in developing measurable goals and objectives.  The Church Council regularly reviews progress toward the achievement of those goals.


Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church

The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church stretches more than 700 miles from just west of Tallahassee to the Florida Keys. There are 740 churches with more than 320,000 members from African-American, Anglo, Filipino, Haitian, Hispanic, Korean, Native American, Russian and Vietnamese backgrounds.   The Florida Conference is in partnership with the Eastern Angola Conference and the Methodist Churches of Cuba and Haiti in the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. For additional information on the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, you can visit www.flumc.org.


We will follow the Lord into the future to celebrate
and share the joy of Christ’s love, expecting God’s blessing for our faithfulness