Presbytery of St. Augustine

Highlands Regional Ministry Center

The Highlands Regional Ministry Center is off to a good start.  The Ministry Center Committee of the Presbytery Trustees has formed and met each month since October to present.  Thus far there are four entities using the facilities on an ongoing basis.  They include the Gainesville Community Counseling Center, Enduring Faith Ministries, the Alachua County Chapter of Days for Girls, and the Freedom of Choice Group of Narcotics Anonymous. 

Days for Girls volunteers preparing hygiene kits

The Ministry Center Committee is talking with other regional groups that it will recommend to the Trustees as potential ongoing users. These include UF Health creating an outreach clinic for the underserved in East Gainesville, as well as a meditation garden for Veterans with PTSD.

UF Health has been doing health screens, women’s care, and ultrasounds for the underserved population in East Gainesville, Alachua County, and northern Marion County.  It also allows pre-med students to get “hands on” practice in community medicine.  They are all supervised by Nurse Practitioners and Medical Residents from UF Health. The Ministry Center Committee is exploring making this an additional ongoing occupant of the facility.

For the recent Presbytery Pastor’s Retreat to Cuba, UF Health filled two suitcases with assorted non-prescription medical supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and other items.  From the other end of the hallway, Days For Girls filled another two suitcases with women’s undergarments and sanitary needs.  So both groups are working in tandem.  With the Gainesville Community Counseling Center also on the premises, Highlands has quickly become “one stop” for mental and physical health issues in the community.

Enduring Faith is currently using the Sanctuary on Sundays, and the local Chapter of Narcotics Anonymous is using the Fellowship Hall on Thursday evenings.  Americorp is also temporarily spending time in the evenings while helping Habitat for Humanity during the daytime.

We encourage you to stop by and see the good things that are happening with the Highlands Regional Ministry Center.  It is a marvelous example of the property getting a brand new function while still working with God’s mission in the world.