LUTZ — With a 5,000-seat sanctuary and a 143-acre campus, Idlewild Baptist Church is known for its size.
That's partly why the church drew attention in 2010 for another reason: It became ground zero for large funerals.
First, Idlewild hosted the funeral of former Hillsborough County Sheriff Walter C. Heinrich, who died of a heart attack in February.
Then a double funeral was held for Tampa police Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, who were gunned down during a traffic stop in June.
In September, Idlewild held services for the Rev. Abe Brown, pastor of First Baptist Church of College Hill and founder of Abe Brown Ministries, who died in September after his third bout with cancer.
Then, later that month, it hosted the funeral of Hillsborough County Deputy Mark Longway, who died after running a red light on his way home from work.
Executive Pastor Brian McDougall said he was honored that loved ones of the deceased chose Idlewild for their public memorials.
"It's humbling," McDougall said, "because you just want everything to be so perfect because you hurt so much for the families and the agencies that are going through this."
During each funeral, the church counted on the service of its members, with anywhere from 10 to 75 volunteers helping out with parking, greeting and preparation.
"We do everything we can," McDougall said, "to clear the decks and help them in their time of need."
Shelley Rossetter, Times staff writer