Establishing a church in Dunnellon, Fla., was not an easy task. For many years, prayers were offered for God to open the doors.
It was not until 1998, that Art Swaningson, a lay evangelist and retired truck driver, agreed to hold meetings in Dunnellon, and four people were baptized. The first church was purchased in 2001.
As the community grew, the state of Florida decided to widen Highway 4l to make a four-lane highway. This would make the highway right-of-way come very near the front sidewalk of the church.
About the time when it became apparent the church would have to move quickly, a much larger building on the same highway became available at a non-affordable price. After it was on the market for a number of months, the price was considerably reduced. An inspector found needed improvements would be expensive. As a result, the owner reduced the price once again. The church was then able to purchase the building.
The county approved the request to have the property zoned for a church. Several months later, the church was notified of a number of improvements needed to comply with zoning regulations in order to receive the Certificate of Occupancy.
One problem was that the chairs did not meet the county code, but the church could not afford to buy new pews. Thankfully, property management at Florida Conference became aware of the Brooksville, Fla., Church trying to sell their pews. Church leaders met with Eric Doran, Brooksville pastor, who then talked with the board. Instead of selling the pews as planned, Dunnellon Church was given the pews for free.
Now, the church had a new problem. The pews were too long to fit in the sanctuary as it was currently configured. Deann Hawley, from property management, asked her husband to draw a floor plan to scale showing how the new pews would fit if the platform direction was changed. After two trips in a rented U-Haul, pews were put in place and bolted to the floor. Rather than sell the excess chairs and pews, chairs were given to the Ocala, Fla., Spanish Church, and pews went to another Christian church.
A designer and engineer were also hired to create a layout of all the rooms to scale and show the proposed use and occupancy of each room before the county approved the Certificate of Occupancy.
God continues to work miracles as the members seek to be a means by which He can do His work. The Dunnellon Church members extend an invitation to come and worship in their miracle church.
Florida | June 2020