The Parsippany United Methodist Church (PUMC) congregation 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.
In 1962, our original church building located on Rt. 46 was torn down to make room for highway 287. The congregation worshipped in local schools and met in the homes of members until in 1964 an education building and fellowship hall were built at the present location of 903 S. Beverwyck Road.
For years the congregation dreamed of a new, dedicated sanctuary. The congregation worshipped together in the fellowship hall which was also used 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 spirit of compassion, inclusion, humor and artistic creativity.
Following Pastor Jeff’s arrival in 1989, PUMC congregational growth made it possible for the church 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 holy 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.
Six months into construction, amid the typical frustrations and setbacks that are a part of this process, Henry "Hank" Heitschel, the chairperson of the building committee suddenly died. Shortly thereafter his wife Myra also died. When finally the new sanctuary was dedicated six months later in December of 2002, the joy we felt was mixed with sadness that this much beloved couple who had been so instrumental in sustaining our dream of the new sanctuary for forty years was not with us to share in the celebration.