From the Pastor
I trust that this letter finds you well, wherever you are spending your summer. The “official” start of summer was this week, with the Memorial Day holiday, though it has been “summer” here in southwest Florida all month (daytime highs have frequently been 90 or above). We think our rainy season is starting, with near-daily brief thunderstorms popping up in the mid to late afternoon. We really need the rain (I think this past winter was the driest winter I’ve seen in my 13 years in Florida), as the lakes and streams are unbelievably low.
In this and future monthly letters to you I will try to keep you informed about what’s happening while you are away from our area.
The Bonita Springs High School is under construction (just off Imperial). Our community was ranked in a recent newspaper article the fifth fastest growing (by percentage) in the country; the city of Bonita Springs now has nearly 60,000 residents. New homes continue to go up. On May 31 our church hosted in the sanctuary a Town Hall meeting with our congressman, Francis Rooney. It was well-attended with about 700 people present to ask questions and offer their thoughts on the national issues facing Congress. Our pastors and church leaders joined with the other churches of Bonita Springs on May 18 for our Community Leaders Prayer Breakfast—a time for us to pray for our elected officials, city staff, first responders, educational leaders, etc.
Summer is the time for our facilities team to get projects done that can’t be touched at our church in the winter season. Carpeting has been replaced in the sanctuary, and lighting and sound will also be improved. A garden area outside the Great Room is being renovated. Our staff has seen the departure of Pastor John McWilliams (he and his wife Barb have retired and are moving to be near family in Alabama); the retirement of Parish Nurse Stephanie Stec; and also the resignation of Preschool Director Nancy Bolognese, who has been hired for a public school position in Lee County. New Youth Director Chris McNamara is having his first summer with our teens, and has a lot of fun and meaningful things planned with them. Steven Grant completed his Doctor of Ministry and was awarded the degree by Westminster Seminary at their commencement on May 25 in suburban Philadelphia. The Session voted in April to launch a new campaign (which was unveiled, appropriately, on Mother’s Day) to fund the construction of a comprehensive child development center in the Dominican Republic, in partnership with Compassion International and our sister congregation in the city of Boca Chica. We will keep you informed about this; our goal is to raise the entire amount of $60,000—and we already have nearly half that amount in gifts and pledges. Our technology team is working on a redesign of our website, to make it better suited for use on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
If any of you have yet to make plans to join us for our summer reunion in Asheville, NC there are still a few spots left. We will be at “The Cove” (the gorgeous lodge operated by the Billy Graham ministry) from Sunday, August 6, through Thursday, August 10. Nearly 200 people will be there, coming from all points of the compass.
Also, don’t forget that next winter’s Bonita Christian Forum series has a terrific lineup of speakers. The brochure with sponsorship options will be released in early to mid-September, and we will then be able to receive sponsorships. Forum speakers provide a great outreach opportunity for you to invite non-churched friends to attend with you.
Stay in Touch
We hope you will visit the website regularly this summer, and enjoy the sermons and music. I will be preaching most Sundays the next two months, and will take us through Paul’s great book called “Ephesians.” I would also love to hear from you personally … and if you have any prayer requests for yourself or a loved one, please pass those on so that our pastoral staff and church leaders can join in prayer support.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Doug Pratt