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South Orlando’s Intentional, Relational, and Evangelistic Ministry

posted on November 03, 2015, under Church by

by Dan Forbes

South Orlando Church Pastor Dan Forbes, left, interviews Tampa Police Senior Corporal Juan Santos who was chosen as the 2015 Officer of the Year during the annual program honoring first responders who are inducted into the church's Hall of Heroes. (Photo: Josie Santos)

South Orlando Church Pastor Dan Forbes, left, interviews Tampa Police Senior Corporal Juan Santos who was chosen as the 2015 Officer of the Year during the annual program honoring first responders who are inducted into the church’s Hall of Heroes. (Photo: Josie Santos)

In a time when first responders are often maligned, South Orlando Church chooses to recognize these individuals. Each year, the church sets aside a Sabbath to honor the police, firefighter, and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel in the community. This day gives the church an opportunity to minister to the community in ways that are intentional, relational, and evangelistic in the truest sense.

The October 10 worship service took on a unique tone designed to be meaningful to the community’s first responders. They were incorporated into the service by calling for the offering, telling the children’s story, and offering prayer.

First responders were met with a round of applause as they were asked to come to the front of the church and be inducted into the church’s Hall of Heroes. Each year, a first responder is selected to be given a plaque as officer of the year. This year’s recipient, Senior Corporal Juan Santos, a 26-year veteran with Tampa Police Department, was also the guest speaker. He is also president of Adventist Motorcycle Ministry, and a large group of their members came to the service to show support for Juan as well as the church’s community outreach efforts.

Four officers and two Orange County Sheriff chaplains shared what it is like to serve the community and how much they need prayers from members as they go about their work each day. The officers candidly described some of the life-and-death situations they face as well as bad public relations due to stories in the press that make their work more dangerous. They shared heartfelt accounts of the struggles they face, not knowing if they will come home from work each day when they have family and loved ones to support.

The officers were given a gift bag containing a book, Bible, flashlight, and pin. They mingled with the members during the fellowship dinner that followed.

Among the many positive comments received was one from Peter Remy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, “Thank you so much for having this day for us. I don’t know of any church that is as faithful in having a day for us like your church. Any time you need me to do anything, I am here for you.”

Previous Officer of the Year Award Winners

Community Service Officer Roland Clee of the Violent Crime Initiatives Office prominently displays the award on his office wall at Orlando Police Department Headquarters. He is also a member of the Domestic Violence Task Force of Orange County along with South Orlando Pastor Dan Forbes. “The difference between your church and others is that your church is helping to meet community needs,” says Clee. “The police know that your church is actively involved in making our community a better community.”

Battalion Chief Victoria Quick of Fire Station #51 located near South Orlando Church was stunned to be singled out for such an award. The congregation continues to lift her fire fighters and Station #51 in prayer.


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