Tuesday, May 22, 2018
News Roundup

New pastor aims to grow laid-back First Baptist of Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — People looking for a musical church with a laid-back approach might find First Baptist Church of Spring Hill a good fit.

"We just try to be ourselves and love everybody that comes through the door," Pastor Gary Coddington said. "We're trying to make people understand that it's a down to earth church; it's not rigid. Yes, we're Baptist, and we do have a doctrine. But it's all about love, and that's the main thing we need to get through to people."

Coddington, 49, took over as senior pastor of the Southern Baptist church last September, filling the pulpit after Pastor Chuck Fightmaster retired in July. Formerly Fightmaster's assistant pastor and a decon before that, Coddington has been ministering at the church for seven years.

He and his wife of 28 years, Valerie, are from Killeen, Texas. Their son, Gage, is a local high school student.

"I am what you would call a blue-collar pastor because I also work a full-time job with the Hernando County School Board as a school bus mechanic," Coddington said.

One member had words of praise for her new pastor.

"He is a very hard-working pastor in every phase of the teaching ministries and is not afraid to get his hands dirty to assist in cleaning up in and around the church," said Dottie Soleau, who also serves as the church publicist.

Coddington is also a large part of the church's music ministry.

"He is a guitar-playing man of the cloth, who is an active member in the church's contemporary band," Soleau said.

Started by church member John Lain, the praise team has seven members, including Lain on guitar and Coddington on bass guitar. The team plays and sings at the Sunday service, at the monthly coffeehouse and on Wednesday evenings. It also participates at other area churches' praise events.

Coddington said he hasn't attempted to make a lot of changes in the church, but members recently decided to revert to the church's original name of 30 years, dropping the title of Bridge Christian Life Center that was added in 2007.

The new pastor said he hopes to build the membership, now at about 70 people, by getting the word out about what the church has to offer.

Soleau hopes the church will grow as well.

"Because the church is located off the beaten track, so to speak, we do need all the help we can get to welcome new people in and give them a home church that can change lives," she said.

Sunday's schedule begins with Sunday school classes between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.; morning worship follows from 10:45 a.m. until about noon.

There is additional Bible study at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

"It's a regular service with an interactive Bible study," Coddington said. "I like them to ask questions, and I like to interact with them."

The first Saturday of each month is Movie Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Movies are offered free of charge and people bring potluck food dishes to share.

On the third Saturday, the church offers an open mic coffeehouse from 6 to 8 p.m. with free coffee and snacks. Christian musicians and singers are welcome. The church's praise team is sometimes joined by other church praise groups, such as the one from Springs of Life Family Church, to provide musical entertainment.

TeamKids, a ministry for kids from K5 to seventh grade, began earlier this year. The program runs from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesdays and offers Bible study, games, crafts and snacks.

"Children learn about discipleship and at the same time make friends and have fun," Soleau said.

Also for youngsters, the church will host the vacation Bible school program "Colossal Coaster World" for children ages 4 to 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. July 22 to 26. The free program will include crafts, games and a Bible lesson along with snacks.

Community outreach is an important part of the ministry at First Baptist.

"We've always cared about the community around us," Coddington said. "So we've tried to do a lot with things like barbecues and bonfires to invite people in. We've had a carnival here. We just keep trying to do that kind of stuff where people can sing and have a good time. We've always been a very loving and friendly church."

Comments
State You’re In: Fiction can become fact, as Woolworth placard in Tampa shows

State You’re In: Fiction can become fact, as Woolworth placard in Tampa shows

TAMPA — History can easily be distorted. If wrong assumptions are made and repeated often enough, falsehoods have a way of becoming "fact.""It happens," said Andy Huse, a librarian with the University of South Florida Special Collections Department. ...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Game 7 for Lightning, Capitals; shoppers begin Publix boycott; pair pitch bipartisan ticket for governor; meet TV's Black Lightning

The Daystarter: Game 7 for Lightning, Capitals; shoppers begin Publix boycott; pair pitch bipartisan ticket for governor; meet TV's Black Lightning

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • Today’s forecast? If you guessed more rain, congratulations. The forecast calls for scattered showers in the morning and then numerous showers in the afternoon with is...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A 6-day baseball tourney in this weather? Good luck, AAC

A 6-day baseball tourney in this weather? Good luck, AAC

Weather permitting, the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament begins this morning at Clearwater's Spectrum Field.When it ends — or if it ends — depends on the extent of Mother Nature's mercy.With the bay area forecast...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CentCom’s Votel: U.S. will stay in Syria to fight ISIS and keep an eye on Iran

CentCom’s Votel: U.S. will stay in Syria to fight ISIS and keep an eye on Iran

TAMPA — In March, President Donald Trump said he would be pulling U.S. troops out of Syria "very soon." But they’re still there, and will stay there, to defeat what’s left of the so-called Islamic State, says the man in charge of military efforts in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Artist Robert Indiana, known for ‘LOVE’ series, dies at 89

Artist Robert Indiana, known for ‘LOVE’ series, dies at 89

PORTLAND, Maine — Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s "LOVE" series, has died at his island home off the coast of Maine. He was 89. Indiana died on Saturday from respiratory failure at his Victorian home in a converted Odd Fellows hal...
Updated: 2 hours ago

How to watch Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Game 7: Game time, TV, live stream

There will be a Game 7 in Tampa Wednesday because the Capitals "were the more desperate team," because Alex Ovechkin was running over Lightning players all night Monday in Washington and because Caps goalie Braden Holtby played to perfection.Washingt...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Border agent detains 2 citizens for speaking Spanish; SCOTUS decision could hurt workers fighting sexual harassment; Yale honors St. Pete native Angela Bassett; more in U.S. news

Border agent detains 2 citizens for speaking Spanish; SCOTUS decision could hurt workers fighting sexual harassment; Yale honors St. Pete native Angela Bassett; more in U.S. news

MontanaWhat, is speaking Spanish illegal?U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are reviewing an encounter between a Border Patrol agent and two women who were speaking Spanish at a gas station, the agency said Monday. The two U.S. citizens sai...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Grenfell inquiry centers fire victims; stars urge Indonesia to ban cruel dog meat trade; more in world news

Grenfell inquiry centers fire victims; stars urge Indonesia to ban cruel dog meat trade; more in world news

BritainGrenfell inquiry centers victimsSurvivors of a devastating high-rise fire in London wept Monday as relatives paid tribute to some of the 72 victims at the opening of an inquiry into Britain’s deadliest blaze in decades. The Grenfell Tower inqu...
Published: 05/22/18
Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Lavender is almost as pretty to smell as it is to look at, but as far as taste goes, the results aren’t always as appealing. A little like cilantro, lavender can taste soapy to some people, making it a tricky plant to use properly. But, when used the...
Published: 05/22/18