MANATEE LIFE HISTORY
Manatee Methodist Church was organized and chartered in 1849.
In 1842, following the end of the Second Seminole War, a few families crossed over to the southern banks of the Manatee River and established the settlement of Manatee Village — and gathered for worship and study in their homes and received visits from Methodist "Circuit Rider" preachers.
Manatee Methodist was chartered in 1849, the first Protestant church established South of Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast. Its first meeting house was built in 1850 adjacent to a burial ground, and during the week the building served as a school. Missionaries of several denominations preached there over a period of 16 years.
In 1866 the Methodist Episcopal Church South bought the local Courthouse, which had been built in 1860, for $128. A steeple and bell were added, and the Methodists finally had their own house of worship. Over subsequent years many additions and changes were made to the original building, until continued growth created the need for a new, larger, more modern building. Our current building was dedicated in 1975.
In December 1975, the original 1860 Meeting House was moved to its current location at the Manatee Village Historical Park, and is now preserved by the Manatee County Historical Commission. Click here for video of the relocation and preservation of the original Meeting House.
In 2022, Manatee United Methodist Church became Manatee LIFE Church. The name change allows us to remain true to our United Methodist heritage while identifying us as a Multicultural United Methodist Community of Faith.
Though our name has changed, we unashamedly remain a United Methodist community of faith and will continue in that tradition. Even more, we are called "Christians" not because we follow a religion but because we follow Christ, and Christians live by Christ, for Christ, with Christ, in Christ, to Christ, of Christ.
We invite you to come find out for yourself.....or as Jesus put it, "Come and see."