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Cross City: The Church That God Built

posted on February 03, 2011, under Church by

The debt-free Cross City Church includes a beautiful sanctuary, a large fellowship hall and kitchen, Sabbath School classrooms, and office space. (Photo: Jim Horton Jr.)

by Marvin Williams

Per capita income for Cross City is $12,125. Population is less than 2,000, and 27.2% of the residents live on incomes below the poverty line.

You may ask, “With fewer than 30 members, why did God choose to build a beautiful new Adventist church in Cross City?” He recognized a gold mine in town and, specifically, in the Cross City Seventh-day Adventist Church where the small congregation—poor by their definition—has faith beyond measure. Prayer and faith sum up this little church, and God rewards both.

In May 2003, Bill Schnorbus, head elder, accepted the challenge by Ken Burrill, former vice president for ministerial at Florida Conference, to become lay pastor of the church. At the same time, Bill worked for the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, and was considering an invitation from Shands Hospital to take an accelerated Nurse Practitioner Course.

Recognizing a great opportunity, Bill was really looking forward to the program. When the call to ministry came, he and his wife, Cecelia, decided to spend time in prayer. After only a short time, they both felt God calling them. They trusted God completely, and Bill decided to retire.

When Bill took the reins of the Cross City Church, which was in desperate need of a new facility, there was $32,000 in the building fund. One of the first things Cecelia did was to make a building fund thermometer that indicated a goal of $60,000, although more would be needed to begin the building project.

Meanwhile, the congregation held a prayer vigil every day for the building fund, and as the funds came in each week, they were encouraged. The marker on the thermometer continued to rise as God worked miracles before their eyes:

  • $100,000 raised in five years.
  • Large oak trees removed: a local resident volunteered his company’s services in exchange for pine trees on another section of the property.
  • Lumber: purchased at a reduced rate.
  • Frame work: members cut boards to size and did framing.
  • Drywall: two professional drywall hangers looking for work agreed to do the job at a cost much less than the original quote.
  • Brazilian tile: provided at cost and laid by members of Palm Coast Church for a nominal fee.
  • Shingles miraculously provided: professionals installed at a huge savings from original quote.
  • Pews: donation from a church damaged in a hurricane.
  • Kitchen cabinets and island and cabinets throughout church: purchased for $500.
  • New range and four microwave ovens: provided free of charge.
  • Baby grand piano: given in honor of a former member.

All this, and the Cross City Church appraised at more than $750,000 debt free! “God delivered all the miracles, and we were simply the tools,” says Bill.

Decisions regarding the interior and exterior plans were made by the Building Committee as the congregation prayed for them. Head Deacon Gary Edmonds oversaw the work on this monument to God, making certain it was meeting state building codes to withstand hurricanes.

While the church was constructed, the Women’s Ministries Department provided a hot lunch every day for all workers, subcontractors, and anyone else who happened to stop by to see the miracle in progress.

Since moving into their new house of worship, the extraordinary Cross City congregation has doubled in size. Every week, adults, children, and young teens visit from the community for Sabbath School, Adventurers, Pathfinders, and other church-sponsored events. Recently, an adjoining building was completed for additional classroom space.

“All glory goes to God,” say Bill and Cecelia. “It is a miracle, and only He deserves credit.”

Certainly, this is the attitude of every member which allowed God to erect this monument to glorify His name in Cross City.


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