I am not a gardener! I am what some call a “brown thumb.” Maybe this is just because I have lived my entire adult life in an apartment and after a few unsuccessful attempts to have some indoor plants I just gave up on the idea until a moved to a house. Hesitantly, I tried to replant a couple of Succulents, and at first, my reputation of being a “brown thumb” seemed to be confirmed. However, to my surprise, the quasi-dead, brownish plant bounced back a few days later. I still can’t believe the replanting worked and the plants grew so fast that soon I had to replant it in larger pots.
Like my Succulents, Grace Life Community Church is a “replanting” of Grace Bible Fellowship, which carried out its ministry in Pinellas Park, Florida, for forty years. Pastor Larry and Alice Riemersma established GBF in 1976 with a group of about twelve people as a church committed to the proclamation of the Gospel of the Grace of God. The Lord greatly blessed the efforts of that core group, the church grew and in a two-phase effort built a nice facility in Pinellas Park.
However, due to many factors, church attendance fell steadily until in November 2016 the church decided to make a bold move we called “Downsizing For Growth.” As the name hints, the plan was to sell the present facilities and purchase a smaller location while retaining funds to invest in the replanting of the church. We sold our building in September 2017 and bought a new property the following month. After a complete renovation we started meeting at 10527 Park Blvd N in Seminole and held a grand opening on Ressurection Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Unfortunately, our congregation once again struggled to maintain the ministry due to a combination of factors, including the cost of renovating the church building and the Covid Pandemic. However, the realization that even when prevented from meeting in person, our church continued to exist and serve one another led the Elders to decide that we would function more effectively without the financial and logistic burden of owning and caring for a building. Therefore, in February 2022 we sold our facility, and after a few months of meeting in a hotel conference room, we have rented a space that suits our present needs and allow for some growth.