BROOKSVILLE — With a goal of honoring the past and looking forward to the future, Lake Lindsey United Methodist Church will host a musical homecoming service at 11 a.m. Sunday.
"There will be some great music from the Gulf Ridge Quartet," said church administrator and council chairman Ron Pearson. "We like to use this group, because they are very good, enjoy singing, and two of the members (Kelley and Kelvin Looper) grew up in this church as children. Their mom was our pianist for many years."
While only about 20 members attend church services regularly, 85 people are expected at the homecoming. It will conclude with a covered-dish lunch and time of fellowship after the service in the church’s social hall.
According to a written history of the church, its roots run at least as far back as 1851, when Methodist services were held locally in people’s homes.
"Later, organized services were held in a vacant building on Mayo’s Hill," the document says. "In 1874, Rev. John R. Mays, a local elder, began holding revival services. Many persons were won to Christ and a rough framed building was erected on the lake. For several years it served as a place of worship for both Methodists and Baptists and as a public school for the community."
In 1886, the Methodists erected another building a couple of miles away. It was in 1928 when it moved to the location on Lake Lindsey Road. Nine small buildings were added in the 1940s for Sunday school rooms. A fellowship hall was completed in 1965, and classrooms were added in 1981.
"We’ve been in the same location and building since 1928," Pearson said. "It’s just been modernized a little over the years."
Some of the modernization came in 2015 when the fellowship hall was rebuilt and the sanctuary repaired after a church member set those buildings on fire and went to prison for it.
That part of the church’s history is behind them now, said the Rev. Carol Roberts, who has been the pastor at Lake Lindsey and New Hope United Methodist Church in Istachatta since 2012.
"Yes, they were devastated by the fires," Roberts said. "When we think back about it, sometimes you get teary-eyed. We feel like we’ve lost a soul. But they’re forgiving and very loving people, and I think everybody has gotten past it."
The congregation is looking forward, Roberts said.
"They’re always asking who they can help," Roberts said. "We’ve helped families get their lives back together. We buy supplies for Hernando High School. This group of people are so full of the love of God and giving and caring."
Along with the concert, Roberts said she’ll be leading prayers, sharing a devotional and welcoming everybody.
"It will be good food and good singing and good Christian fellowship," she said.
Pearson said people should come and "check us out sometime for some old-time religion."
"We eagerly look to a continued ministry glorifying our Lord and Savior," he said. "We invite [the community] to be a part of this growing and exciting work of God."