First United Methodist Church of Dover was founded Christmas Eve 1845.
Seven miles west of Plant City, on State Road 574, is the small rural community of Dover. The community is centered around the First United Methodist Church of Dover, on Moore’s Lake Road, and for good reason — the church is 170 years old this December.
The congregation began meeting on Christmas Eve in 1845.
“In 1845, Central Florida was primarily frontier territory,” the Rev. Rodney Body said.
Body said it is the oldest United Methodist church in Hillsborough County. The first location of the church was on Bethlehem Road, near the Bethlehem Cemetery. It was later moved to its present location on Moore’s Lake Road.
The church will be having a celebration of its anniversary Sunday, Dec. 13. The celebration begins with the morning service at 11 a.m. After, there will be a covered dish meal in the social hall and fellowship until 2 p.m. The public is invited.
The current congregation is small but active. Each first Saturday, from the months of October to March, is a family dinner the church opens to the public for $8 a plate. The Dover church also has an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter that meets at the church every Thursday and is the voting precinct for the Dover area.
Contact Body at (813) 719-0320 for more information.