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Note, to see some pictures of the groundbreaking ceremony click here
For ten years the congregation used the building for all activities. By the mid – 1980’s it became evident that a larger building was needed for worship, fellowship, education and service. In September 1985, Dr. Decker passed away. For about a year, Rev. Charlene Rait served as an Interim Pastor. In September 1986, Rev. Hugh Rhymes became Pastor. Plans for a new building were revived. Ground was broken in October 1987 and the new building was completed in May 1988. The new building contained a sanctuary, dining room, kitchen, restrooms, workrooms, and office space.
Rev. Rhymes resigned in June 1989; and in July Dr. Richard Merrick became the Pastor. Under Dr. Richard Merrick's direction, our church was beautified via new Paraments for the alter and pulpit, Banners, and Stained Glass Medallions were created by Shirley Morse. Dr. Merrick saw to the establishing of the Memorial Garden on church property. Dr. Merrick retired in 1996. Rev. Larry May, a retired pastor, consented to take charge of the Sunday Services and was with us for a number of months, until Pastor Robert Davis was called as an Interim Pastor. Pastor Davis was with us for nearly three and a half years.
Under Pastor Robert Davis, we saw our mortgage debt paid-off. He terminated his services on January 31, 2000; then Rev. Loraine Tuenge became our Interim Pastor. She was with us eleven months. During her time here we had the official burning of our mortgage. Pastor Bob returned to do the honors. Also, at that time our fellowship hall was named after Pastor Bob as “The Robert Davis Fellowship Hall”. After Pastor Loraine left, Rev. Armin Bizer came as still another interim pastor and stayed for nearly three years.
During Pastor Bizer’s pastorate, our church suffered a severe fire when the steeple was hit by lightning and much of the entranceway to the church was damaged. Our friend and neighbor, Temple Beth-El, invited us to use the Synagogue for our Sunday Worship Services. After Pastor Bizer left in 2003, we called a full-time pastor, the first in seven years.
Our Pastor, Rev. Evan E. Farrar, was called to serve this congregation by unanimous vote on June 16, 2003. His Public Installation was held several months later, on November 16th. We do thank God for bringing him to us. The members and friends at North Port Community United Church of Christ are looking forward to the years ahead, under his enthusiastic leadership.
On March 9, 2004, our Church will be 35 years old. As we continue on into this twenty-first century, it is with great expectations for our future. We know God has brought us this far and that He will take us safely, and with his blessing, into that future. Let us ever be willing to follow His lead and that of Pastor Evan, who, under God’s direction so directs us.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22
March 21, 2004, North Port Community United Church of Christ, celebrated its 35th Year Anniversary. At the 10:00 a.m. Worship Service, Rev. Robert Davis, former Pastor from 1996 to 2000, will preach the morning message 'Lead On O King Eternal' and we will have special music guests: God's Ring/Sing Kids, followed by the 35th Year Anniversary Celebration during Fellowship Hour.
'God's Ring/Sing Kids' is an ecumenical children's choir that is sponsored by the Community Presbyterian Church of Englewood, under the direction of Jeanne Jessup. They will sing the anthem, offertory, and closing hymn. Two of our girls participate in this group, Allison Bourque and Samantha Master. Patricia Prentzel directs our Adult Choir and the Children's Choir is under the direction of Mary Williams.
During the three-year interim pastorate of Rev. Armin Bizer, our church suffered a severe fire when the steeple was hit by lightening and much of the entranceway to the church was damaged. Our friend and neighbor, Temple Beth-El, invited us to use their Synagogue for our Sunday Worship Services, while our building was repaired, which took many months.
Our new, forty year old pastor, Rev. Evan E. Farrar, was called to serve by unanimous vote on June 16, 2003. In less than one year, he has inspired the congregation to go forward with many fine programs and special services for the community and the church members. Examples: weekly Bethel Bible Studies Series taught by his mother, Betty Farrar, a trained Instructor; a first Thursdays, monthly Community Prayer Service; initiated an Ash Wednesday Service that offered Imposition of Ashes; active involvement in the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce Expo and Poinsettia Parade; created an Amistad Committee that is supporting: the ECHO Open House, Walk For A Cure for Juvenile Diabetes, Habitat for Humanities, etc; formed the last Thursday of the month, Jacob's Circle, a support group for people grieving the death of a pet; initiated a new position within the church: Family Ministries Coordinator, Kate Banks, will oversee the third Tuesdays-Family Night Parties and 'Mom's Morning Out' ,weekly, Monday Program starting in April. She facilitated the change of the 'Cry Room' into a Nursery with the help of her husband, Don. Kate will oversee the first Annual Vacation Bible School, August 2, 3, 4, 2004. Rev. Farrar formed an internal Caregivers Support Group; encouraged the offering of Quilting and Surface Design Groups besides the groups already using Decker Hall (New Hope AA - Wednesdays & AA Group - Fridays, Weight Watchers, The Alamanda Garden Club, & Girl Scout Troops # 649, 798, 506); supported a 5K Race, headed by Bethany Heslam, first in North Port, in December, 2003; He was open to the idea of a very informative Website for the church by John Hugel; Pastor Evan also encourages many social activities for adult members & friends of the church, as well.
Rev. Farrar, through God's inspiring Spirit, encourages all of us to share our gifts and talents in the Church and larger Community and serve the Spirit of Jesus Christ in all that we do. All of these developments speak to the new life North Port Community United Church of Christ is experiencing as we move into the Lenten season. Come join us!
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