The Original Church Building
Our New Sanctuary
Our Church Building
The Parsippany United Methodist Church was founded in 1830. A parcel of land was given by a wealthy member of the Presbyterian Church with the idea that the servants of the wealthy should have their own church. Our roots are humble.
Our original church building located on Rt. 46 was torn down in 1962 to make room for highway 287. The congregation worshiped in local schools and met in the homes of members until in an education building and fellowship hall was built in 1964 at our present location.
For years the congregation dreamed of a new, dedicated sanctuary. Worship was held in the fellowship hall which also was the setting for church dinners and play productions. For forty years the congregation forged an identity based on the quality of love found in our fellowship and worship. People were drawn to the congregation not for the edifice — the school-like building was not much to look at –- but rather by the compassion, inclusion, humor and artistic creativity they found here. In the 1990s in a time when most churches were treating people with HIV/AIDS like lepers, our congregation was providing retreats for rest and renewal for people suffering from the epidemic. Our theme became “There’s always room in the circle.”
Following Pastor Jeff’s arrival in 1989, the growth of the congregation made it possible to actively plan for the construction of a new worship space. Together we engaged in an extended process of envisioning, fundraising, and planning for a new sanctuary that — with its simple and open design — was in keeping with the spirit of our congregation. Construction began in November of 2001 in the midst of the national grief of 9/11. As we witnessed people spontaneously flock to communal sacred spaces seeking contact with the holy, it seemed timely to be building the sanctuary as an expression of the peace and presence of God in unsettling times.
At our October, 2018 annual meeting our congregation voted unanimously to become a “Reconciling Congregation” and in doing so to renew our commitment to being in loving Christian ministry with all people without prejudice, to truly have “open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” to work toward the time when our congregation, our denomination, and our society live the all-inclusive love that our faith demands.
There is a bulletin board outside our sanctuary with an unfinished sentence: “I witnessed love at our church when…” On the one of the colored index cards you will find there we invite you to write a few words to finish the sentence. The sentence can be finished in an endless variety of ways. Please do not put any names on the card. The focus of this isn’t to be giving people “credit” ; we don’t want to create a competition regarding whose name appears on the board most often. The point of this is simply to remind ourselves of all the different ways love is present within the life of our congregation, with the hope that in doing so, we will be inspired all the more to choose to love. Fill out a card and leave it in the basket and it will get stapled to the board. As time passes we look forward to the wondrous explosion of color that will cover our bulletin board.