Simpson Memorial Celebrates 140 years of Pastoral Leadership Marked by Guest Speaker and Events

Shown is candidate for FL's U.S. Senate Stanley Campbell, speaking with Simpson Memorial UM Church parishioner Gwen Takeall.
The committee for SMUM Church’s 140th Anniversary were (Left to Right), Sister Doris Orr-Richardson, Brother Bernard Hartzog, Sisters Ivonne Tappin, Janice Tucker (Co-chair), Wanda Sykes-McClain, Beverly Austin (Co-chair), Brother Paul Presha, Sisters Valerie Wilson (Co-chair), Rose Muller, Vianna Kirby, Brothers Jason Alexander, Feacher Williams (Not Pictured) and Pastor Lawrence Barriner (Center).

Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church recently celebrated its 140th anniversary. The church had its humble beginnings in 1884 under the leadership of Reverend Benjamin Dillworth at the Plank Road location. In 1920, it moved to Cleveland Street and sustained damage during the 1942 fire. Simpson Memorial remained at the Cleveland Street location until 2018. Under the leadership of Reverend Lawrence Q. Barriner, Sr. the church relocated to the Dinsmore community in 2020.  This historical 140th milestone was acknowledged by a family and friend’s day festival, yard sale and fundraiser.

Not overlooking the power of the pulpit was Florida Senate candidate and guest speaker Stanley Campbell. The entrepreneur and veteran U.S. Navy pilot, reminded the the congregation of the strength of the church for education, particularly regarding black history, as the State of Florida recently passed legislation that limits the teaching of black history. He also spoke on the church responsibility to continue to address diversity, inclusion, and particularly equity, as this pathway is at times questionable in Florida.

His voice did not fall on deaf ears as the audience applauded his stance.

“Mr. Campbell believes the people of the church have the power, through exercising their voting power, to deliver him to the U.S. Senate to represent the State of Florida,” said Janice Tucker, Co-Chair SMUM Church’s 140th Anniversary.

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