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Historic Highland Heights Methodist closing on Summer Avenue

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sunday will be the final service for members of the Highland Heights United Methodist Church as another historic congregation closes its doors on Summer Avenue.

After exhausting all avenues, members say they had to make the very difficult decision to close the church doors on May 19. But while this Sunday will be the final service here after more than 100 years, members say the work will continue in the Highland Heights community.

Fred Morton is a retired United Methodist minister and Highland Heights United Methodist Church is home.

"I was born, grew up here, went to Sunday school and I was baptized here, went to vacation Bible school, met and dated my sweetheart, my wife. We got married here so just a lot of delightful memories," he said.

The pastor said the decision to close the church comes after the number of active members dwindled down to 30.

Add that to major repairs needed for leaks and asbestos, and it wasn’t financially possible to continue on.

"It’s kind of like a funeral service in a way. It’s a celebration of the triumphant life of this congregation, the people here, my friends and family and so forth," Morton said. "But it’ also sad to see it pass.”

It’s the second church to close in this area in two weeks, but members say the presence of the Lord will remain.

"Many of the people that have been involved in this ministry, they live in this community or they’re close by, so they’ll find other places to serve and continue to serve the people in this neighborhood,” Morton said.

No decisions have been made about the future of the building. That will be up to leaders of the United Methodist Memphis Conference.

 

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