Our church story began in 1958 when the Superintendent of the Sarasota district, Dr. Harry H. Waller, asked Rev. Robert Selle to organize a Methodist Church in Port Charlotte, FL. Rev. Selle, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack shortly after accepting.
The Florida Annual Conference still wanted a Methodist Church in Port Charlotte, so on June 10th, 1960, Bishop Arthur J. Moore appointed Rev. William Lee Knecht to be the church’s first pastor. The church was initially named “Port Charlotte Methodist Church.” Seven days later, they held their first-ever church service on June 17th, 1960. They did not have a building yet, so they met at the Port Charlotte Community Center and did so for the rest of that summer and into the fall. By October 16, 1960, our church had 92 original charter members, and they had 132 members by the end of the year. Due to the church’s rapid growth, the leaders realized they would need to begin construction on a building. Dr. Waller started looking for land to begin construction, and The Mackle Brothers generously donated their 5 acres of land to the Methodist Church. It was located at the corner of Quesada Avenue and Visacaya Drive, where the church is still located. The entire 5 acres were wooded land, which led to the church being known as “The Friendly Church in the Woods.” Construction for the first building of our church began on October 16th, 1961. We would host our first service in our brand-new building on March 11th, 1962. At this point, church attendance had risen to 442 people. This building currently serves as the VPK and Aftercare room for the preschool in our education building.
Some additional wings were added to the church building on November 1st, 1964, to have spaces for small groups and Bible study. By June 1965, membership was at 485 people. As membership continued to rise each year, the leadership at our church knew they would need to build a larger place of worship. So plans for a new Sanctuary began in 1967. All the necessary preliminaries occurred, and construction began on March 24th, 1968. We would host our first service in its new Sanctuary on March 2nd, 1969. Church membership was around 700 people at this time. Outside of construction and damages, this building still serves as our Sanctuary.
In 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, forming the United Methodist Church denomination. So our church name was changed to “Port Charlotte United Methodist Church.”
No more significant changes would take place until 2004, when Hurricane Charley ripped through Port Charlotte. Many people in Port Charlotte would lose their homes, including 100 members of our church. The church sustained damages that would end up costing $400,000 to repair. Yet, the church still made sure to serve the community. Five days following the storm, the PCUMC Disaster Relief Team was formed. Through the help of this team and many volunteers, the church would end up helping over two thousand families in the Port Charlotte area through financial assistance, helping clear out trees and debris for those who were unable to do so themselves, feeding volunteers, and temporary salaries for disaster relief workers at the church. It would take nearly six years for Port Charlotte to recover from this storm fully.
Another major hurricane would come through Port Charlotte 18 years later with Hurricane Ian. Due to severe damage from Naples to Sarasota, this storm would impact many more people. Port Charlotte would suffer significant damage from being in the eye wall for around 9 hours. Wind damage would take many people’s roofs, including our Sanctuary roof. While there was work to be done at our church, the church leaders and members still looked to the community first. We offered space for EMTs to stay while some Hospitals were unusable. We provided food to the community daily. We gave away supplies like tarps, food, hygiene products, cleaning products, and anything people might need while recovering from the storm’s effects.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, our church underwent a discernment process that many United Methodist Churches would undergo. Due to differences of opinion when it comes to how we interpret scripture, especially regarding human sexuality, many churches, including ours, decided to leave the United Methodist Church. We would then join with the newly formed Global Methodist Church, a denomination that will hold to the traditional Wesleyan teachings. On April 9th, 2023, it was announced that our church name would be changed to “Port Charlotte Global Methodist Church.”
Throughout the many changes, trials, and literal storms, our church has remained faithful to the calling of Christ to go and make disciples. Our church has always sought to serve its community in whatever ways necessary. We are thankful God continues to allow us to serve the people here in Charlotte County, the U.S., and beyond.
Port Charlotte Global Methodist Church
21075 Quesada Avenue
Port Charlotte, FL 33952
Phone: (941) 625-4356
Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 12:00pm
Port Charlotte Christian Academy
Phone: (941) 625-7993
Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 6:00pm