WHO WE ARE
Thank you very much for taking a few moments
to learn a little about some of the exciting
worship, ministry, and mission opportunities
at First Presbyterian Church of Ocala!
With a rich and fruitful history (since 1857!)
and a hopeful and growing vision for our future,
we like to think of ourselves as a friendly,
caring, and mission-minded family of faith
that's small enough to know you
and large enough to serve you.
Should you have questions about FPC
or if we can be of pastoral help in any way,
please call on us.
As Presbyterians, we believe that God created the world
and is ultimately sovereign over all creation.
We believe that through human choice (Adam's, Eve's and all humans since)
we rebel against God's will and are in need of forgiveness, direction and re-direction;
That God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to set the example of the Christian life,
to give His own life as an atonement for sin, and to be resurrected and thus live again,
that all may accept the promise of a more abundant life on earth and eternal life when we die;
That God sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us when we are perplexed
and to perplex us when we become too comfortable in our faith; and
That the church is God's family on earth where we worship,
fellowship, grow, serve, help, and reach out to others in the Lord.
Our mission is to worship God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are called to serve and to demonstrate God's message of love to all.
First Presbyterian Church is a 900 member congregation;
a member of the National Society of Historic Places, having been established in 1857;
and belongs to the Presbytery of St. Augustine of PC(USA).
We are located in the heart of the historic district in Ocala, Florida.
Worship ranges from casual to traditional.
We follow a structure which calls us to worship; invites our praise; provides a special time for children;
challenges and comforts us with the Word read, preached and demonstrated through the sacraments;
sung through the anthems and hymns; and leads us in prayers of thanks and petition.
In 1857, only 37 years after Florida ceased to fly the flag of Spain,
the Rev. Joseph Brown headed a commission to organize
the First Presbyterian Church of Ocala. There were eleven charter members.
In 1885, 40 members purchased property and built a sanctuary
seating 300 on the corner of Fort King Street and Watula Avenue.
This building no longer stands, but the "manse" or pastor's home
built next door has been renovated into an office building.
In 1926, a visionary congregation of 239 purchased land on Third Street
for an inflated Florida Boom price of $40,000, and built a sanctuary seating 400.
The cornerstone was laid on Sunday, July 10, 1927,
and the building was formally dedicated on June 10, 1928.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
WHO WE ARE
CHOOSE A SUNDAY SERVICE
Find a Worship Service and experience our community at one of our Sunday services.
8:15 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary
9:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship in the Fellowship Hall
11:00 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary
The Rev. Dr. Raymond Guterman
Dr. Guterman, a life-long Presbyterian who originates from Georgia, received an accounting degree from Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia. While attending college, he was a resident dorm adivsor, president of the Accounting Club and Gamma Beta Phi Honor and Service Society, and helped initiate a Presbyterian fellowship on campus.
Dr. Guterman received a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Following seminary, he served as pastor for nine years at Morningside Presbyterian in Columbus, Georgia and then for 15 years at Northwood Presbyterian in Clearwater, Florida. Pastor Raymond came to First Presbyterian in June 2004 with 24 years of pastoral leadership experience.
Raymond has been married for 35 years to Donna and they have two daughters, Sarah and Anna. Some of his hobbies are tropical fish, sports and vegetable and flower gardening, particularly coleus and crotons.
Dr. Guterman has written five books, available through the church office: The Road to Healing; the 12-Steps for Everyone and the Serenity Prayer; The ABCs of Christianity; Lord, Teach Us to Pray and A Quote a Day to Keep the Devil Away.
Pastor Raymond says that he loves serving on the staff of a wonderful church that has a grand history and a promising and hopeful future! "I love the fact that everyone is welcome to come and grow in and serve our Lord with us here and that we have all ages in all stages of the Christian life in our three Sunday worship services which we have year-round. Two things that I’m passion about are mission (local and international ) and growing in discipleship and Bible study. It’s wonderfully staggering how many members we have involved in so many ministry and mission endeavors. We have outstanding youth, children’s and music ministries and are blessed to have a very gifted and dedicated staff team. Also, my wife and I love Ocala and don’t miss in the least of all of the traffic in Tampa Bay where we ministered for 15 years before feeling Called to Ocala, where we still feel very much Called!"
The Rev. Darren Bess
Pastor Darren, a native Floridian and life-long Presbyterian, was born and educated in Deland, where he served as an ordained elder, small group leader (adult Bible study), nominating committee chair, church school volunteer, liturgist, choir member, Vacation Bible School volunteer, praise team drummer and congregational care volunteer serving home communion and working in the Interfaith kitchen.
Pastor Darren received a nursing degree from Daytona Beach Community College, after which he served four years as a critical care registered nurse in Asheville, NC. He worked three years in staff development and nursing in Sanford, FL, before owning and operating a lawn care and irrigation business in Deland for four years. Pastor Darren received his Master of Divinity at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling.
Pastor Darren is married to his childhood sweetheart, Carol, and they have four children, Briley, Hayley and twins Chloe and Caleb.
One ministry, among many, which I’m currently involved and excited about, is supporting our Deacons as we continue to foster an environment of caring and service to others at First Presbyterian Church of Ocala. Elders and Deacons are assigned families within our church to contact a few times each year with a card or a phone call. We have found this supports people making connections, funneling pastoral concerns to the appropriate person(s) and provides an opportunity to offer care and or encouragement. As a pastor, it has always warmed my heart when I witness God’s people caring for one another. We are imperfects concerned for other imperfects - made perfect - by God’s grace in His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
I’m also excited to see our members' desire and appetite for the study and learning of God’s Word. We provide numerous opportunities for Christian Education throughout each week for children, youth, adults and those like me who are still struggling to grow up. Our classes range from introductory material concerning the Bible through advanced studies.
When I think about such things, it excites me to be part of a church, where as disciples of Jesus we seriously seek the understanding of God’s Word, and then perhaps more importantly, desire to apply God’s Word in our lives and in the lives of those around us. These are the beautiful moments, when as a pastor I see and experience even for myself lost people finding the Way and dead people coming alive.
David Bedenbaugh . director of music
My philosophy of music in worship is that music draws the soul to God, opens the heart’s door to His presence, and prepares worshipers to receive God’s Word. My personal goal is simply to be the best musician I can be, help others to do the same, and to genuinely worship God from my heart. I am happy doing this through whatever musical style or song choice best meets the needs and goals of the church and worship service. My approach in leading worship is to listen to the needs and goals of the congregation and to follow the direction of the pastor and worship committee.
My training in classical music began at Stetson University where I studied piano with Michael Rickman, voice with Craig Maddox, and conducting with Duncan Couch. I have served as a church musician for over a decade in Florida and Nashville, TN. In addition to classical studies I've completed a full length album of CCM songs for indie label Slingshot Records, and recently an album of worship songs written for our FPC congregation, recorded by Cross & Crowns, our contemporary service worship band.
David joined us at FPC in August of 2011.
Norman Slade . organist & pianist
Norman Slade, a native of England, became active as a church musician at age 17. Norman emigrated with his wife and children and became American citizens in 1981. He made music -- both as a church musician and concert pianist -- an adjunct to a business career, with the last 17 years of the latter as a computer programmer. Norman feels honored now to be serving such a "warm and welcoming family at First Presbyterian." Norman can be reached at email@example.com.
Scott Bourne . children's ministries director
Scott is very excited to have this opportunity to minister with the children of FPC and looks forward to seeing them grow and learn more about the mighty God that we serve. It's his desire for them to see Jesus come alive through Bible stories, activities and music, as well as learning to share His love with friends here and all around the world.
Scott is married to Dawn and have two grown children. He currently teaches guitar, chorus and band at Osceola Middle School. Scott and Dawn both grew up in the great state of Mississippi (Hattiesburg). He is also an ordained minister.
Scott has a BA of Music in church music and is in the process of completing a MA of Music in music education.
Pam Steiner. business & financial administrator
Pam is responsible for the accuracy of the financial side of the church as well as ensuring that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. Pam serves as staff liaison to our Buildings and Grounds Committee, Finance Committee, Endowment Committee and Personnel Committee.
Pam and her husband John have settled down in Salt Springs, Florida after serving many years in the ministry in various locations throughout the Southeast, Midwest and New England. Pam grew up in Tavares, Florida and has three grown sons, one daughter-in-law and one grandson, Noah, who lives way up in Maine.
In her spare time Pam enjoys writing a blog entitled "Closed Doors, Open Windows". You can check it out at http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com
Heather Roberts . administrative assistant
Heather is responsible for the monthly newsletter The Spire; the weekly internet page Inspire.net; daily email "Thought for Today", administrative support for pastoral staff, program staff, Session members; church publications; forms; church mailings and various tasks as needed. Heather is accountable to the Business/Financial Administrator.
Heather attended FPC in Gainesville, Florida where she grew up, then FPC Ocala when her family moved to Ocala in the early 1970's. She returned to Ocala in 2002 and happily shares a cottage on one of the many lakes in The Forest.
M. Theodora Christopher . administrative secretary
Theo is responsible for website design, the weekly Sunday church bulletin and specialty bulletins (e.g. funerals and weddings). She also maintains the church member database, coordinates materials for the bi-monthly Inquirers' luncheon and assists the Business/Financial Administrator. She also assists the program and pastoral staff as needed.
Theodora Christopher hails from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, but lived in Laurelton, Queens, New York for over 25 years. She relocated to Ocala with her husband in 2004. Theo and her husband Alfred are members of Presbyterian Church at Marion Oaks.
Dana Rodgers & Evelyn Yorlano
. nursery attendants .
Dana has been with us for 15 years.
Evelyn has been with us for 13 years.
Dana Rodgers & Evelyn Yorlano
. nursery attendants .
Dana has been with us for 15 years.
Evelyn has been with us for 13 years.
Alan Wilson . kitchen manager
Alan joined the staff in 2013.
Danny Arango . sexton
Danny started as Sexton in June 2011.
Daniel Adkins . custodian
Daniel Adkins has been our custodian for many years.
Sam Petterson . youth & young adult
My name is Sam Pettersen. I've been married to my beautiful wife, Apryl, for three and half years.
We both love youth ministry so much that we got engaged at a youth lock-in, where she later got pied in the face. The video of it is on YouTube and it’s great.
I've been in youth ministry for almost 10 years and I can't think of a better job. I love teaching the Word, hanging out with students, and creating these ridiculous moments in students’ lives that they'll never forget. I'm also born and raised from Oklahoma and if you're wondering, no, I did not live in a teepee and ride a horse to school! When I'm not at youth, you can catch me binge-watching T.V. shows with my wife, playing board games, running, reading, or listening to podcasts.
My wife is the most amazing singer in the world (Sorry David). She's been singing all her life and was trained classically. She loves musicals and has performed in a bunch of them. My wife loves worship and it’s probably her favorite part of church. My wife is a Texan through and through, which means don't mess with her. Ha!
We have two shelties, Pippin and Penelope, and we are addicted to coffee. I'm talking coffee snobbery to the next level. We both love the outdoors and the ocean, and we love the people of this church. We're excited to be a part of this community and we can't wait to see what God is going to do next! —Sam
NOV - DEC
Sun | 8am-12pm
cantata & concert
Sun | 8am-12pm
Mon | 2pm
christmas eve services
Thurs | 5pm & 7pm
Sun | 8am-12pm
marion civic chorale
Sun | 3pm
Wed | 5:30pm
Sun | 8am-12pm
SUNDAY November 1st
Outside the Fellowship Hall 8:15am -12pm
Come and support our missions! Find wonderful crafts made to support those working out in the mission field.
We celebrate God's church at FPC and dedicate our lives and offerings anew to God's work in and through us to our Ocala community and beyond!
Pilgrimage is a spiritual renewal movement with the goal of renewing and invigorating the faith of participants, inspiring and equipping them to reform their environments after the Kingdom of God.
Pilgrimage expresses the love of Christ through a weekend of uplifting music, laughter, learning and worship. It is a lay-led spiritual retreat that that expresses and celebrates Christ’s love for you.
Pilgrimage grew out of the Spanish Cursillo movement. Pronounced ‘cur-SEE-yo’, this is a Spanish word meaning “short course.” Cursillo originated within the Catholic Church in 1949 in Spain and migrated to the U.S. in 1957. It teaches basic Christian doctrines and is used by many denominations. Presbyterian Pilgrimage is faithful to the teaching of scripture and to the reformed doctrine of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
More info here: www.floridacursillo.org
Conference Room 2pm-3:30
Feeling Artsy? Come join us and free your inner artist!
MARION CHORALE CONCERT
Sunday 3pm in our SANCTUARY
Come join in the spirit as our 2015 Concert Series ends
with a Christmas bang with the very talented Marion Civic Chorale!
The Marion Civic Chorale is our area's pre-eminent chorus, providing musical entertainment for all of the Central Florida area. The Chorale performs at civic functions, residential community organization gatherings, and with church and high school choirs. In addition, we present concerts for Veteran's Day, the holiday season and in the spring, each year.
Members of the Chorale come from throughout the area, from a wide variety of backgrounds and musical experience, who all share a common love of music, singing and entertaining.
A Very Musical Sunday!
At all three of our services we offer inspiring music to brighten up your Advent journey. Come at 8:15 or 11:00 and hear our Chancel Choir sing traditional anthems paired with read Lessons. Come at 9:30 to hear our very own Cross & Crowns present an upbeat and thoughtful hour filled with solos, trios, scriptures, prayer and congregational singing of your favorite CCM songs!
CHRISTMAS POTLUCK DINNER
Fellowship Hall 5:30pm
One of our favorite things to do-eat! We love meeting together and eating together.
Join us for a wonderful night of food and musical entertainment...and bring a dish!
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
Join us for a fun and touching service featuring our Children's Choir as they present to us a Christmas play directed by Scott Bourne. Come ready to sing well known carols and songs along with the rest of the congregation.
This service is what Christmas is all about: beautiful traditional carols and readings illuminated by the natural glow of candlelight. Our Pastors, Chancel Choir, String Ensemble, pianist & organist will all lend their talents for a time of Christmas warmth and inspiration, culminating in the entire congregation singing together by candle light.
Sunday Morning Bulletins
Follow our worship program each Sunday morning with us. Find meaningful liturgy, prayers for your personal devotions, and follow those listed in need of prayer.
Follow our weekly words to the congregation at FPC.
Included are thoughts from the Pastor's desk
as well as week to week notes from our program staff.
Sun 8am - 11am | Mon-Thurs 8:30am-4pm
COME CHECK OUT A BOOK
Keep up-to-date on our catalogue!
~ List of Books by ~
We've added some wonderful books to our shelves this past year:
We have works of fiction by
Beverly Lewis, Lauren Snelling, and Liz Higgs
and the DVD, "Courageous", just to name a few.
Suggestions for new books and DVDs are always welcome.
FPC has a well stocked library for your reading enjoyment.
Our library is a treasure of information and quiet coziness.
Come visit and read a bit. We have 3266 Books, DVDs, CDs in our library!
Our library is located behind the conference room and staff offices.