When Eric Doran graduated from Andrews University Theological Seminary in 1980, he drove to upstate New York to discover his new church in the midst of a building project. “I was 25 years old, straight out of seminary, and the only thing I’d ever bought was a used car,” he says.
Walking around the building site, Doran was surprised to see a car pull up. A woman approached and asked, “What kind of church will this be?”
“Seventh-day Adventist,” Doran replied.
“Then I want to become a member,” she said.
True to her word, Alysse Douglass was the first to appear when Saratoga Springs Church opened its doors. She explained that she had recently lost a dear friend named Annie. Before Annie’s death, Douglass promised she would join the church whose tenets Annie so joyfully shared.
Eagerly, Doran prepared for the first Bible studies in his new role. Each week, he was met by an enthusiastic student, exclaiming, “Oh, I already know about that. Annie told me all about it.” In short order, Douglass became the first person to join the newly built church.
Four decades of ministry and many baptisms later, Doran once again found himself reaping the harvest of a faithful witness who had gone before.
Raised Seventh-day Adventist by a God-fearing mother, Charles Bishop stopped attending church when he left home. “My mother never gave up hope. She would always tell me, ‘Charles, get back to church.’”
In 2018, not having entered an Adventist church for 35 years, Bishop appeared in the foyer of Brooksville Church. “At that moment, I knew this was where I wanted to be,” he said.
Several months later his wife, Victoria, joined him, and the two began studies with Eric Doran, pastor.
“I was searching for a Bible-based church,” said Victoria Bishop. “As soon as the pastor began explaining things, I knew I had found it.”
On his last day in the district, before preaching his retirement sermon, Doran led the Bishops into the waters of baptism. And so, the ministry that began with a baptism culminated with a baptism. A fitting ending to a career marked by carrying on the legacy of faithful saints.
Florida | November 2021