Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Land O'Lakes church's grand opening brings noble gesture

LAND O'LAKES — The grand opening of a small but growing congregation will be celebrated by members donating its opening day offering to Christian Social Services.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church will meet at the Land O'Lakes Senior Center, 6801 Wisteria Loop, just south of Land O'Lakes High School on U.S. 41.

"This offering will help provide food, clothing and utility costs for those in need," said the Rev. John Huebner, pastor.

Worship services began in March with an attendance of two. They have grown to 20 and about 100 are expected to attend this special Sunday.

Two more events are planned with Christmas for Kids from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Senior Center. There will be activities including songs, crafts, a video story, puzzles, games, cookie decorating and a pizza lunch. This free event is limited to the first 50 children who register on the church Web site at

A special candlelight service is planned for 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve, also at the Senior Center. Both familiar and new Christmas songs will be featured.

This Lutheran group has an unusual style of worship. While preserving the basic Lutheran style, each service is written to a theme with both contemporary and traditional worship music used. Video clips and PowerPoint presentations are used and the hymn words are projected onto a screen.

"This style of worship is more thoughtful, less noisy with more joy than guilt," Huebner said.

Huebner, the pastor, has been diagnosed with spasmodic dystonia, a voice affliction that is shared by Robert Kennedy Jr. among others.

During his preaching the affliction seems to diminish.

"It's God," Huebner said. "We are happy doing what we are doing here and it is fun to watch people grow in Christ. It is a joy."

Huebner is originally from Michigan and attended Northwestern College in Wisconsin and Northwestern Lutheran Seminary.

He has led churches in Michigan and Sarasota as well as serving as a mission consultant for the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church for 13 years, where he did a lot of traveling.

"It was exciting watching small churches grow into large churches," he said.

Huebner, 64, has been married to Esther for 37 years. They have three children, all married, and three grandchildren. His wife works for a cancer surgeon.

One of the church's programs is the Moms and Tots Power Hour program which they will pick up again in February at the Land O'Lakes Community Center on U.S. 41.

Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church is planning to offer five subjects for small home groups, beginning in January, including basic truths of the Bible, a Financial Peace University course by Dave Ramsey, a marriage enrichment workshop by Dr. Kevin Leman and the Total Transformation course by James Lehman.

This congregation was begun as a mission church by Peace Lutheran in Holiday. Call (813) 401-9135.

Land O'Lakes church's grand opening brings noble gesture 12/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.