By: Andy Gans, Pastor of Fort King Presbyterian Church
The church was founded by a group from the Crossroads Sunday School class at First Presbyterian Church, Ocala. This group was looking for diversity in a time of racially-charged incidents happening across the country. They first met in a local high school cafeteria and broke ground after that, supported financially and spiritually by First Church.
The church has been instrumental in starting many service-based organizations in Marion County. Among them was Church Without Walls, ministering to troubled youth. There was also a health clinic, a childcare center for families in need, and we had a part in establishing Interfaith Emergency Services which aids the homeless and displaced people in the County. The church continues to be active in the community, supporting Habitat for Humanity, the Blood Bank, Crop Walk, Interfaith Emergency Services and Domestic Violence Center, among others.
The anniversary celebration began on Saturday night, October 24, 2015, with a dinner for all members and persons from the community. Videos of past activities and short comments from founding members were included in a presentation at the dinner. It was quite an enjoyable evening for all of those attending.
On Sunday, the bagpipes were played as the pastor, Andy Gans, guest pastor, Melanie Marsh Baum, and the choir processed in. Melanie grew up at Fort King and was recently ordained in the Presbyterian Church. She gave a moving sermon of gratitude and encouragement to the worshippers. There was special music as well. In all, it was a great celebration for a vibrant congregation. We look forward to what God has in store for us during these next 50 years!