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“In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth praying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’.” – From A Brief Statement of Faith

Our core beliefs center on:
  • the sovereignty of God

  • the authority of the scripture

  • justification by grace through faith

  • the priesthood of all believers

What that means is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job – ministers and laypeople alike – to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.


More information about the Presbyterian church, its beliefs, and history, can be found at

Highlands is a member of the St. Augustine Presbytery. More information can be found at the St. Augustine Presbytery website.

Church History

The first worship service was held on July 5, 1964 at Holly Oaks Community Club. Rev. Robert "Bob" Purrington was sent to Jacksonville by the United Presbyterian Church to begin a church as a response to many of their northern members making moves to the south.  Highlands United Presbyterian Church was chartered during the worship service on April 11, 1965 with 64 charter members.  

The Sanctuary at Highlands was dedicated on October 1, 1967. In January 1972, Highlands called its second pastor, Rev. Donald Roy Jones. Rev. Jones was followed shortly by Rev. Dr. Donald Harris in April 1980.  The second building on campus was completed in May 1982 and provided a space for fellowship and learning. This building was later dedicated and named "Harris Hall" after Rev. Harris. 

In 1992, the campus was expanded again with the extension of the church office and the building of the Family Life Center. This addition allowed for growth in education ministries in the life of the church.  In 1993, Highlands began our mid-week LOGOS ministry and expanded our existing Mother's Morning Out program into Highlands Precious Gifts Preschool. 

Dr. David Lee was called to Highlands in November 1996. Dr. Dave served HUPC for 24 years before he died of cancer on January 22, 2021. The ministries and missions of Highlands grew tremendously with his love. He is dearly missed.


The Rev. Beverly Dempsey served Highlands as our Interim/Transitional Pastor from November 2021 to November 2023. 

On December 3, 2023, the Rev. Dr. Olive Mahabir began her call to Highlands United Presbyterian as our new Pastor and Head of Staff. 

For a detailed history of Highlands, read this "History of Highlands" written in celebration of our 50th Anniversary in 2015. 

Annual Reports

The Annual Meeting of the Congregation at Highlands United Presbyterian Church is held each January.  At this time, we reflect on the ministries and missions of the church, and celebrate the ways that God is working in our congregation and community. You can find the Annual Reports for recent years here. 

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