Local Winter Haven Church Actively Looking for New Church Location After Current Situation Deteriorating
By Allison Williams
Photos provided by Jennifer Moreno
Pastor Jennifer Moreno, Senior Pastor for First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ has been with the local Winter Haven church since December 2020. She is the youngest female Senior Pastor that the church has ever had. The church is currently located at 302 6th Street SE, in Winter Haven.
“First Christian Church, is a part of The Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. A movement of Wholeness in a Fragmented World.” Moreno said.
First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ was founded over 100 years ago in 1909 and was the first brick church in Winter Haven.
“It has served the Winter Haven community for 113 years and among its local ministries was the First Christian Towers on Lake Howard’s east side,” Moreno said. She added, “It is also the church that began Meals on Wheels in Winter Haven, as well as known for being the Hot Dog Church feeding the homeless community for many years.”
After years of serving in one location, the congregation decided as a whole that a smaller, more affordable facility would be more beneficial. The church has been at its current location for about six or seven years.
The building has faced many issues, including black mold and leaks and despite these issues, rent is still increasing starting in January 2023. With rent increasing and many repairs needed on the facility, the church is forced to find a new location. They are open to renting or purchasing a more suitable, affordable space. Their goal is to move in January 2023.
“We would be happy to share space with other community members and partners for the greater good of our community,” Moreno said. “We are looking for a location that is multi-functional and can be used for things other than a church service.”
Join First Christian Church
Community members can join the church both in-person and/or virtually.
“Anyone that wants to be a part of the FCC Flock can do so in person or virtually. We offer many different ministries for our community, including being open and affirming and giving EVERYONE a safe place to worship and work on their own personal relationship with God, Aftershock Youth Group, Music Ministry, Seniors Ministries, Family Ministries, Virtual Ministry, Military Ministries, and Community Ministries. We offer a wedding location and officiant for all, a location for funerals and celebrations of life, as well as baptisms,” Moreno said.
On July 31, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. the church will be hosting their Back to School Bash. They will be collecting and giving away school supplies to individuals in need. This is one of many ways the church gives back to the community.
“First Christian Church has been a true inspiration to the Winter Haven Community for 113 years,” Moreno said. “They know and understand the church is NOT the building, the CHURCH is the people. It’s the people who care and give unselfishly to the community to see others prosper and grow. Showing Kindness and a willingness to service is their inspiration.”
She added, “For myself, it’s a calling to show everyone the true love and kindness of Jesus Christ. I warn all that I am not their grandparent’s pastor. I do things the way God has called me to do them. I am a military spouse, a domestic violence survivor, a wife, a mother, and a shepherd and protector for those that can’t protect themselves or just need that extra reassurance. My inspiration is knowing that flocks like First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, are all over the world, sharing this news, and trying to be that movement of wholeness in our fragmented world. We need this more than ever, and I am blessed to be a part of it and the shepherd of our flock here in Winter Haven. First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Winter Haven offers a SAFE SPACE FOR EVERYONE!”