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Church moves from funeral home to 5-acre plot

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Building Committee members managed to shovel some dirt even though the ground was hard from lack of rain. They are, from left, Marvin Kastama, John Woods, Sara Anderson, Darrell Snyder, Betty and Bill Moore, Pat Butler and George McDonald.

Congregation doubles in size in last 18 months

By Penny Fletcher


The First Christian Church of Sun City Center is moving to Ruskin.

The congregation has doubled in size in the last 18 months and outgrown its host- the Sun City Center Funeral Home.

“We’ve been meeting there about 4 years,” said its pastor, Rev. David Campbell. They’ve been wonderful hosts but the time has come to have our own building.”

Groundbreaking for the new 4,500-square-foot building on the 5-acre property located on 33rd Street (behind the WCI Welcome Center and Holiday Inn Express) was held Sunday afternoon, Dec. 5 at the site.

It was exactly one year to the day after the dedication of the land had taken place there.

The Rev. David Campbell leads the congregation of the First Christian Church of Sun City Center. The church is moving from the Sun City Center Funeral Home to 33rd Street in Ruskin. It can be found on the winding road leading south from the front of the Bob Evans restaurant on State Road 674.
The ground was hard but the weather was good as Campbell introduced the Building Committee and others who had taken part in the work that has been done to date and those who will be in charge once the permitting phase is over, hopefully, he said, in about two more weeks.

The funeral home has allowed the members of the First Christian Church to meet in its chapel for several years since it outgrew the office space in the plaza on the corner of U.S. 301 and State Road 674 (behind Boggs Jewelry) in Wimauma where it had moved shortly after it was founded at Freedom Plaza in 1999.

It currently meets at 10:30 a.m. in the funeral home, located at 1851 Rickenbacker Drive, Sun City Center.

“We’re really looking forward to serving the greater community,” Campbell told me in a telephone interview prior to the groundbreaking ceremony. “We hope to have both adults and children from the area join our congregation.”

This, he said, is one of the main reasons they chose to relocate in that particular rural section of Ruskin.

“Once we paid off the land, we started our building fund,” he added. “Our members have been very generous and have worked very hard.”

The total cost of the new building is approximately $539,000 and it will seat 154 people, he said.

Jim Allen of Spectrum Church Builders based in Lexington, Ky. is project manager. Spectrum has built many churches in Florida, and was affiliated with a First Christian Church in Kentucky, Campbell said.

“Remember, it’s not just a building,” Allen said when given a turn to speak at Sunday’s ceremony. “It’s a place being built to worship Jesus Christ.”

Campbell said he is very happy about having moved to the area to pastor this church.

He and his wife Mitzi have been married 24 years and have six grown children, spread out in several states. They came to this area in June 2008 after he retired from a position as a hospital chaplain who served at the Mayo Clinic and many hospitals in various states. His last position as a hospital chaplain was in Knoxville, Tenn.

Taking on the job of pastoring a church full time isn’t exactly what most people would call retirement, he said, but he enjoys the church and its people.

Meanwhile, Mitzi is a leader at the Grief Support Group that meets weekly at the United Community Church in Sun City Center.

“No creed but Christ, and no book but The Bible,” is how Campbell explains the beliefs of his church.

To find out more about the church, people may call (813) 938-4955.



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