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Church set to buy property

The Joyful Servants Lutheran Church won't say exactly where the property is, but according to a church newsletter, a contract is pending.

The church in the bookstore may be moving out of the bookstore soon, as it looks to buy property in New Tampa.

The Joyful Servants Lutheran Church, which has met in the Joyful Reader & Holy Grounds bookstore and espresso bar in the Pebble Creek Collection strip mall since April, is preparing to sign a contract for an undisclosed amount of land, according to its September newsletter. The location of the property was not listed.

"While we are enjoying our temporary church home at the Joyful Reader site, it is just that _ a temporary home," according to the newsletter. "The horizon for acquiring a church home has been coming more into view."

Rita Gardner Tweed, who co-pastors the church with her husband David, declined to comment until the deal is secured.

Members of the 3-year-old church began meeting in the Gardner Tweeds' Pebble Creek living room, before moving to the Pebble Creek Golf and Country Club and then Benito Middle School's cafeteria. This spring, it moved to the bookstore, a beneficial location because of its high visibility.

Every weekend, parishioners move the bookshelves out of the way and assemble chairs for church services. The congregation of more than 60 people recently expanded to three services on Sundays and a Christian rock service geared toward teenagers on Saturdays.

Joyful Servants is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

According to the newsletter, the church is trying to raise $150,000 to buy the property. Once that money is raised, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will provide an additional $150,000 to help buy the land.

As part of its fundraising efforts, the church will hold a golf tournament Oct. 23 at World Woods Golf Club, a well-known course in Brooksville.