Our church began as a dream in 1956 when the Reverend Henry Blackburn, Pastor of First Methodist Church; the Rev. Harry Anker, a former missionary; and a layman by the name of Mr. J.C. Marceron envisioned its beginning in east Clearwater. Under their combined leadership, a small group of neighbors assembled that year to discuss the possibility of a new church. They met in a small white frame house located on the present property, facing Drew Street, and those attending were asked to bring their own chairs. It was so hot and dusty inside the house that they decided to meet on the front porch and the dreams of the twelve people present that day became reality when plans were made to officially launch Skycrest Methodist Church. Rev. Anker conducted the first service on Sunday, May 27, 1956 in the small house.
About that time, three lots on Drew Street, between Cirus and Nimbus Avenue, were purchased and plans were begun to raise the funds needed to begin work on the church buildings. Through prayer, generous gifts and support from other area churches, construction began in January 1957 and was completed in May of that year. While this building was under construction, Sunday school classes, worship services, and various groups continued to meet in the little house.
Two years later, because of the increase in membership, there was an urgent need for expansion of existing facilities. Wings were built on either side of the original unit to increase seating capacity and to house classrooms, the pastor’s study, fellowship hall, and a kitchen. In response to the needs of a growing congregation, additional property on Nimbus Avenue was purchased for parking and future expansion in 1962. On December 6, 1964 ground was broken for our new sanctuary and it was consecrated on September 12, 1965.
Early one morning in October, 1973, disaster struck as fire ravaged the fellowship hall and classrooms adjoining the kitchen. Fortunately, no one was injured and plans were made immediately for reconstruction. The new building which houses the office complex, two assembly rooms, recreational area and kitchen was consecrated in June, 1975. An addition to the sanctuary, which included an expanded narthex, was begun in 1985 and in April of that year, a celebration of dedication and mortgage burning was held.
In 1989 the Skycrest Child Development Center was established by Doug and Teresa Jones and this ministry was assumed by the church in 1999. It is one of the top-ranked preschools in Pinellas County, offering preschool, Voluntary Pre-kindergarten, and an after-school care program.
We give grateful thanks to the charter members for the heritage that was left in our care. We are blessed to still have Pat Lacy – one of the 25 members of the original congregation as part of our church family. May Skycrest continue to serve God, our community and our congregation for many more years!
Harry P. Anker May 1956 – Sept. 1956
E.C. Chastain Sept. 1956 – June 1961
Pat W. McBride, Jr. June 1961 – June 1970
Donald E. Stocum (Associate) June 1967 – June 1971
R. Eugene Rutland, Jr. June 1970 – June 1976
Newton Swanson (Assistant) June 1971 – June 1978
Richard D. Bingham June 1976 – June 1981
Richard E. Ward (Assistant) June 1977 – June 1981
Gilmer E. Benton (Associate) June 1980 – June 1981
J. Arthur Padgett June 1981 – June 1984
Donald R. Comer (Associate) June 1981 – June 1988
W. Ray Finklea June 1984 – June 1989
Alan I. Gaylord (Associate) June 1989 – June 1991
Larry E. Cook June 1989 – Jan. 1991
Thurman Rivers, Jr. Jan. 1991 – June 1996
Thomas H. Norton, Jr. June 1996 – June 2002
Frederick W. Ball July 2002 – June 2009
Michael C. Pestel July 2009 - June 2013
Emily D. Hotho July 2013 - present