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Our History

Our 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.

Our History Sanctuary Photo

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 multiple styles types of worship opportunities on two campuses. In 2016, Highland Park United Methodist Church celebrated 100 years of helping people become deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Our Mission: Helping people become deeply devoted
followers of Jesus Christ.

Did You Know?
  • A greater number of HPUMC’s more than 16,000 members reside outside the Park Cities area. You’re welcome no matter where you live!
  • HPUMC has more than 15 different support groups, including groups for those who are struggling with divorce, alcoholism, over-eating, debt management, families with mental illness, grief, family suicide, and children with special needs.
  • HPUMC’s Carpenters for Christ Ministry has committed the building of 100 homes for Habitat for Humanity by 2016. This is the largest faith-based commitment to Habitat in the world!
  • The Children’s Ministry of HPUMC serves more than 1,400 families on Sunday mornings.
  • The Vacation Bible School program at HPUMC annually enrolls more than 850 children between the ages of 2 and 11.
  • Our Night OWLS Program, a respite program for families with special needs children, is one of only two of its kind in Dallas.
  • HPUMC is engaged in missions in more than 16 countries around the world, including Costa Rica, Haiti, Nigeria, and Nepal.
  • 0ur congregation sends over 600 inner-city kids to summer camp every year.
  • We offer more than 500 hands-on opportunities for service to our church and our community.

When visiting Highland Park United Methodist Church, please stop by our Welcome Centers located near the Sanctuary or in the Wallace Building on Sunday mornings to find out more about HPUMC! Our greeters will personally welcome you and guide you to your destination. opportunities on two campuses.