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Archive for April, 2013

Impact Community Mission Group Outreach

posted on April 19, 2013, under Church, Video Report by

Florida Conference In Mission is a monthly video series about people reaching people.

This month’s video highlights Impact Community Mission Group’s unique approach to outreach in Key West where most people have a strongly negative view of religion.

Impact Community Mission Group in Key West, Fla., has a different way of looking at outreach. The church is located in an area where people have a negative view of religion and are not readily open to have the gospel seeds planted in their lives.

Impact Community calls its style of outreach, “plowing the ground,” because members are trying to break down the walls against religion by revealing God’s love to people in as many creative ways as possible. They do things like handing out free soda on street corners, giving free car washes without accepting donations, and walking the streets, offering to have prayer with people. They also connect with neighborhoods by hosting block parties. They take out a grill and serve free food to the whole neighborhood, play games with the kids, and try to create a fun atmosphere. Then, they follow up that party by returning the following week for games with the kids and holding an outdoor church.

However, the members don’t limit themselves to only a few types of events. The idea is to be creative about how they show love, and do it in ways that people wouldn’t expect. This helps disarm people and allow them to see through to the love that God has placed in each of their hearts.

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Ivy Stranahan: Fort Lauderdale Pioneer and Adventist Trailblazer

posted on April 10, 2013, under Member by

by Alva James-Johnson

The Stranahan House, also known as the Pioneer House, located at 335 Southeast 6th Avenue, was built by Frank Stranahan in 1901 as a trading post for settlers and the Seminole Indians. (Photo used under Creative Commons from Wally Gobetz on

The historic Stranahan House—once home to Fort Lauderdale’s founding couple—sits on the banks of the New River as a memorial of the city’s pioneer days. Yet, what’s unknown to most people is that the house is also a testament to the city’s deep Seventh-day Adventist roots.

Ivy Julia Cromartie, circa 1900 before her wedding to Frank Stranahan. (Photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.)

Ivy Stranahan, the wife of Frank Stranahan and “Lauderdale’s First Lady,” was a devout Seventh-day Adventist in her adult years. As an active member of the Fort Lauderdale Seventh-day Adventist Church, she was the first principal of the church school, now Sawgrass Adventist School in Plantation.i

Upon Stranahan’s death in 1971, the New River home, her most prized possession, was willed to the Fort Lauderdale Seventh-day Adventist Church to the surprise of many. In 1974, the congregation sold the property to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. Today, it is owned by Stranahan House, Inc., where it is preserved as one of the community’s most cherished landmarks.ii

Stranahan entered the church through an evangelistic crusade conducted by Allen Walker, the church’s first pastor, according to a history published by members of the congregation:

She listened attentively as the preacher told the fantastic truth about Saturday being God’s Sabbath, the dead sleeping in their graves, and the judgment now going on in heaven. Mrs. Stranahan decided to go to Washington, D.C., to visit the Library of Congress where she checked out everything about the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, and then compared them with the Bible. She returned home a convinced Adventist and got baptized!i

According to a souvenir booklet available at the Stranahan House, Stranahan’s faith played a significant role in her life:

Always a devout believer, and a Methodist in her younger years, Ivy became a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1915 and followed its tenets of vegetarianism, served no red meat, and was discreet and never imposed her beliefs or attempted to convert others. Her Sabbath, which extended from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday, was spent going to church, visiting the sick and elderly, and resting. She was a staunch believer in strength of both mind and body and walked regularly to the beach for a swim to keep physically fit.iii

Ivy became an Adventist in 1915 and was an active member of the Fort Lauderdale Church. She served as the first principal of the church school, now Sawgrass Adventist School in Plantation. (Photo: Fort Lauderdale Historical Society)

Stranahan, who was born on the Suwannee River, resided in Lemon City until she moved to the New River in 1899 to work as the area’s first school teacher. Frank Stranahan, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and son of a Presbyterian minister, was already a settler in the area. He ran a trading post, purchasing pelts, plumes, and hides from the Seminole Indians, and his business thrived.iii Frank also established a U.S. Post Office and became the New River’s first postmaster.

At the time, Ivy was still unmarried and known by her maiden name, Ivy Julia Cromartie. “Often dressed in a white, ruffled blouse, she was clearly the belle of the little riverfront town. A petite, blue-eyed girl, Ivy wore her well-brushed fair hair pulled back from her high forehead. It didn’t take long for the postmaster to notice her.”iii

The couple married August 16, 1900, and began a life that would pave the way for Fort Lauderdale to become a thriving urban center. Despite the hardships of frontier life, they prospered, and their home on the New River soon became a center for the growing community. Civic meetings were held there, and Ivy taught Seminole children, which became a life-long passion. She also founded Friends of the Seminoles and served as their spokesperson for many decades. “The Indians came to trust and love her, calling her ‘Watchie-Esta/Hutrie,’ or ‘The Little White Mother.'”iii

Ivy Stranahan, left, and U.S. Representative Dwight Rogers, center, are welcomed by Seminole Indian school children at the Dania reservation. (Photo: circa 1950, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society)

Stranahan served as president of the Women’s Suffrage Association and as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board, and was a founding member of the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Club. As a member of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union, she was a strong advocate for prohibition.iii

She was a volunteer in the Broward County Public Welfare Department and was very influential in coordinating the church’s humanitarian work. Her private records include an article published in the Miami Herald, June 6, 1954, which stated, “The church maintains its own welfare center from which it dispenses food and clothing to the needy regardless of religious affiliation.”ii

In 1929, Frank Stranahan took his life, jumping into the New River at the onset of the Great Depression.iii But Ivy Stranahan remained steadfast in her faith until August 30, 1971, when she died in her riverfront home at age 90. She lived a life of sacrifice and service, paving the way for others to follow. Her witness in the Fort Lauderdale community should be an example for Seventh-day Adventists around the world.

  1. Thompson, Jeffrey, “The History of Fort Lauderdale Church,” 90th Anniversary Celebration, Fort Lauderdale Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2010.
  2. Kersey, Harry A., Jr., The Stranahans of Fort Lauderdale: A Pioneer Family of New River. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003.
  3. Cassels, Alice Cromartie, et. al. Frank and Ivy Stranahan: New River Pioneers. Fort Lauderdale: Stranahan House, 1995.
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Naples Members Celebrate New Debt-free Church

posted on April 10, 2013, under Church by

by Gladys Neigel

Participants in the mortgage burning ceremony at Naples, Fla., Church, from left: Todd Fitts, Elder; Shirley Anderson, Treasurer; Tracy Fitts, Family Life Ministry Director; Marlene Smith, in memory of original Building Committee Chair Daniel Smith; Phil Vasseur, Naples Pastor; Kendall Chaffee, Elder and Building Committee Chair; Victor Maddox, Florida Conference Ministerial Field Secretary; and Mary Ann Rule, Finance Committee Chair. (Photo: Herb Boothby)

“Enter reverently, meditate quietly, worship sincerely, serve Christ faithfully,” reads the preamble each week in the Naples, Fla., Church bulletin. The 349 members demonstrated this faithfulness on March 16 when their church was dedicated debt free.

It was just two years from opening day of the new church building in April 2011 until the actual dedication and mortgage burning. The members’ formidable goal of quickly paying off the church debt was reached through the members’ sacrificial giving.

The journey began with the sale of the previous church and purchase of land under the direction of Daniel Smith, Building Committee Chairman. When Dan became ill, he handed the reigns to Kendall Chaffee who then made the new church a reality. “All Dan knew [before he passed away] was that we had the land free and clear due to the sale of our old church,” says his widow, Marlene Smith.

A rainbow over the new Naples Church was witnessed as a testimony of God's faithfulness. (Photo: Bill Fries)

The 7.9-acre church site is located on Davis Boulevard which is a main thoroughfare from Interstate 75. The square footage of the facility, including the porte cochere, is 12,747.

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South Orlando Church Members Welcome Bikers

posted on April 10, 2013, under Church by

by Dan Forbes

South Orlando Church members created a designated parking area to accommodate the many motorcyclists, including Olga Bryant, left, and Matt Logie, who participated in the special biker Sabbath.

South Orlando, Fla., Church members stepped outside their comfort zone of community outreach on Sabbath, February 23, by welcoming Adventist Motorcycle Ministry, Ezekiel’s Wheels, Christian Motorcycle Association members, and other riders to a day dubbed as, “A Little Bit of Hog Heaven.” (The word “hog” is a term of endearment bikers use in reference to Harley Davidson motorcycles.)

Partnering with Harbor House of Central Florida, a domestic violence shelter, church members and Pastor Dan Forbes referred to the event as “a real game changer” in their service to the community.

The day was filled with activities designed for bikers who rode from as far away as Tampa for the event. The church sanctuary and fellowship hall were decorated for the occasion in a biker motif which included two motorcycles. The church was filled to capacity, and special provisions were made to accommodate the many motorcycles that showed up in the parking lot.

After the fellowship luncheon, bikers departed for a charity ride which raised $425 for Harbor House of Central Florida. (Photo: Olga Bryant)

Bikers and dignitaries from the community shared their testimonies and comments during the worship experience. The gift bags, awards, literature, and gift certificates given to bikers were donated by the church, individuals, Florida Hospital, a local restaurant, the Florida Conference Literature Evangelism Department, and the local Harley Davidson dealer.

After the worship service, bikers, visitors, and members enjoyed a fellowship luncheon followed by a charity ride that raised $425 to benefit Harbor House in its efforts to end domestic violence.

Recognizing the enthusiasm and excitement the event created, the Church Board gave support to planning an even bigger and better program next year.

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Bob and Mary Lee Celebrate 70 Years Together

posted on April 10, 2013, under Member by

by Lynette Hyatt


Mary and Bob Lee. (Photo: Shane Bedwell)

Bob and Mary Lee celebrated 70 years of marriage on April 14, 2013. They actively keep up their home, beautiful lawn, and flower gardens. Blessed with health and energy, they are shining examples of graceful aging, optimism, and always being grateful to God for His many blessings.

Bob is retired from the U.S. Army with 21 years of service, having served in World War II and the Korean War where he was a P.O.W. for almost three years. A second career brought him to Forest Lake Academy, Apopka, Fla., where he managed several industries until retirement.

Mary worked as a nurse at Florida Hospital for 25 years. She loved nursing and caring for her patients who were blessed with her kind witness and gentle treatment.

As members of the Altamonte Springs, Fla, Church for the past 49 years, the Lees have served in many capacities and leadership positions. They have four children, ten grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and many friends. Their children say, “We are truly blessed to have parents who set such a wonderful example of marriage and strong faith in a loving God.”


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