2013 Wilkinson Center Can Do Award Recipient: Highland Park United Methodist Church

Highland Park United Methodist Church(HPUMC) has a rich history dating back to the founding of Southern Methodist University. The first services of the University Church were held in February 1916 on the SMU campus. Within months, the church changed its name to Highland Park Methodist Church when Methodist families in Highland Park agreed to transfer their membership from other churches to support the university congregation.

In 1995, HPUMC welcomed Rev. Mark Craig as Senior Minister.
Under his leadership, the congregation grew to over 15,000 members and HPUMC has carried on his legacy of local and global outreach.

In 2013, Rev. Paul Rasmussen became Senior Minister. With a
staff of more than 100, he is only the 11th senior pastor to have
served the church in 97 years. HPUMC has continued to grow,
even beyond the main campus. In 2011, Munger Place Church was
renovated to become the East Dallas campus of HPUMC, offering
five types of worship opportunities on two campuses.

Over thirty years ago, Rev. Clayton Lewis saw a neighborhood
child dig for food in the Munger Place Church dumpster. Rev. Lewis
established a food pantry in the basement of the church to assist
families with food and clothing. In 1982, Highland Park Methodist
Church created the East Dallas Cooperative Parish to provide East
Dallas Methodist churches, including Munger Place, with resources to become outposts of service to neighborhoods in need. HPUMC supported the Munger Place Food Pantry, now Wilkinson Center, with funding, volunteers, and food and clothing drives.

Throughout the years, HPUMC has provided immeasurable
support to Wilkinson Center, allowing us to continue the mission
of providing pathways out of poverty.