Rev. Morris and wife Kim

Rev. Morris and wife Kim

Local church finds new home in the heart of Estero

By D.K. Christi

Photos by Samantha Clements

 

Rev. Kevin Morris had just arrived at Hope United Presbyterian Church in San Carlos Park when Hurricane Irma struck their two already aging buildings.

Irma took the steeple off and severely damaged the roof,Estero Mayor Katy Errington recalled. She and her spouse, Garth, have been members of the church since 2010.

Hurricane Irma provided the defining moment that led to re-energizing the older church with a new location and a new nameEstero Community Church. Vision, hard work and providence came together as the church celebrates its grand opening in the heart of Estero on Dec. 12.

We didnt mind moving,Errington said. After all, church isnt the building. You carry your spiritual commitment with you.

The path to rebranding in a new location was at times uncertain. Morris says he is the pastor of a church still in flux.

With the blessing of the small congregation, the search for a new location began with two offers falling through. In the meantime, the church sold its existing property with an agreement they could hold services temporarily.

After that, American House at Coconut Point offered ample facilities for the church, with the bonus that residents of the senior living facility could easily attend services. But then the pandemic struck, just three weeks later, immediately putting the facility on lockdown for visiting groups.

The church in flux bounced around, but the devoted members persevered and considered building a church on land along Corkscrew Road across from Estero Park.

I noted a church in the professional property near our chosen location,shared the ever optimistic Morris. I stopped in to ask that pastor if he had blueprints that might assist us. Instead, he responded, Would you be interested in buying this property?’”

Hope United Church came full circle through multiple interim possibilities to just the right place at the right time a relatively newly renovated building with a sanctuary seating 450 people. For a congregation of 50-100 mostly older and longterm members, it held a vision for future growth and community engagement.

When we first visited the church, it felt like, This is it,and still does,Errington said.

Piano player at Estero Community Church

Piano player at Estero Community Church

The name change to Estero Community Church signifies the churchs commitment to becoming a greater part of the community. Since the move, six new members have joined the church.

We are still in flux,said Morris. Some changes still need to be made and all the details put in place to identify our church as homeand the future church home for new members.

The church has embarked on improving technology for electronic broadcasts. Services are accessible both in-person and through live-streaming.

We welcome everyone to our services, activities and ministry,Morris said. Faith leads us to the right place to worship, and with our new location, our church family looks forward to more new members finding we fit their needs.

Morris is already engaged in community life as an active member of the Rotary Club of Estero. He also leads the church in its missionary work in Immokalee serving children and the elderly there. Church members participate in multiple other ministries, including volunteering to serve meals and deliver Christmas gifts to needy families.

With the new sanctuary and the energy of a new community, we expect an expanded ministry,Morris added.

He continues the positive relationship with American House, providing Bible studies and ministry to the residents there.

Additionally, a new music ministry for the congregation promises a beautiful worship experience in the sanctuary and opportunities for members and visitors to express their faith through song.

Interested in connecting with Estero Community Church? Visit the church at 21115 Design Parc Lane, call (239)267-3331, or go online to www.hopeunitedchurch.net

Women of Estero Community Church

Women of Estero Community Church

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