Open Circle MCC: The Villages, Florida

Church History Timeline


Sept. 2009
Six people met to discuss the possibility of planting an MCC church in The Villages.

Later that week, Rev. Carol approached Rev. Elder Lillie Brock for permission to submit feasibility study.

Nov. 2009
Permission was granted by Rev. Elder Brock and Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson to submit a Feasibility Study.

We began to seek a worship location.

The Open Circle blog was launched as an interim web presence.

Jan. 4, 2010
Kickoff gathering at the home of Noreen Cherry and Genette Heinz with 42 in attendance.

Jan. 7, 2010
Feasibility Study presented to Rev. Elder Lille Brock and Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.

Jan. 17, 2010
First worship service with Rev. Elder Lillie Brock preaching, Rev. Carol, and Shirley Dasher Strader, seminarian, assisting in celebration; 23 in attendance.

Jan. 23, 2010
Open Circle participated in the Rainbow Family Business Expo

Feb. 5, 2010
First church newsletter was published.

Feb. 14, 2010
Began meeting in the offices of Garvin Financial Group. Members donated chairs

Feb. 2010
talks began with Temple Shalom to rent a small room.

March 5, 2010
First Board of Director's Meeting: Genette Heinz, Elaine Davis, Peggy Garvin, Rev. Carol.

April 4, 2010
First Easter service with 32 in attendance.

May 16, 2010
First service in Temple Shalom; 42 present.

June 27, 2010
Rev. Carol resigned from Joy MCC and became bi- vocational to focus all pastoral energies on Open Circle.

July 1, 2010
Open Circle sent in its first tithe report and tithe of $64.25.

July/Aug. 2010
Started our first mission outreach by providing school supplies for the children of Fruitland Park Elementary School.

Aug. 2010
First church directory is developed.

July 29, 2010
First choir practice was held under the direction of Laurel Logan and Rev. Carol.

Aug. 2010
Board of Directors authorized Rev. Carol to make a proposal to the Temple to move into the large worship space.

Aug. 2010
Stewardship and Bylaws teams were formed.

Aug. 10, 2010
Articles of incorporation were submitted to the Department of State

Aug. 20, 2010
Launched our web page.

Sept 5, 2010
First 10 a.m. service at the Temple.

Jan. 9, 2011
Open Circle became a fully affiliated MCC church. Rev. Carol Chambers was formally welcomed into MCC clergy after transferring her ordination from a prior denomination. 79 charter members joined Open Circle.

Feb. 27, 2011
First Congregational Meeting was held, the Board of Directors and Lay Delegate were elected, the Bylaws were approved and Rev. Carol was called to be pastor.

April 7, 2011
Board of Directors voted to establish a Building Fund.

April 24, 2011
Second Easter service held with 115 in attendance.

June 12, 2011
Pentecost Sunday; 11 new members joined bringing membership to 108.

Oct. 19, 2011
Men’s Group formed with 15 men attending the first meeting.

Nov. 20, 2011
Congregational Meeting held. New Board members and a second Lay Delegate elected.

Dec. 18, 2011
Christmas program held at Temple Shalom; 165 in attendance.

Jan. 2012
Open Circle and Rev. Carol received MCC awards for Church Planting and Church Growth.

July 9, 2012
18 months after MCC affiliation, Open Circle purchased 4.2 acres of land for the campus and future site of the church. Paid in full!

Summer of 2012
Buildings on the campus were renovated and church office moved from the pastor’s home.

Nov. 2012-Feb. 2013
Rev. Donna Twardowski served as Associate Pastor until health issues forced her to retire from active ministry.

Nov. 4, 2012
Consecration Sunday held at the new campus.

Nov. 18, 2012
Congregational Meeting held with new Board members and an alternate Lay Delegate elected.

Jan. 20, 2013
Open Circle celebrated its 2nd anniversary as a fully affiliated MCC church.

July 2013
10 members of Open Circle attended General Conference in Chicago, IL.

Nov. 23, 2014
new Board seated

Nov. 30, 2014
began interim process; Shirley Strader, Gap Pastor

Dec. 2, 2014
Rev. Carol retired

Dec. 28, 2014
lease ended at Temple Shalom

Dec. 2014
learned we can’t use the campus for worship

Jan. 4, 2015
4th Congregational Forum

Jan. 18, 2015
began renting at UUFMC; services moved to 3 p.m.

Jan. 23-25, 2015
visit from Rev. Jim Lynch

Jan. 2015
Ad Hoc renovation committee formed

Feb. 8, 2015
congregational meeting

Feb. 22, 2015
Rev. Jim began preaching as Interim Pastor

Mar. 2015
IMAT team formed

June 2015
reworked Vision and Mission statements

July 2015
updated Open Circle Bylaws

Aug. 2, 2015
Congregation Forum to discuss church construction

Aug. 15, 2015
visioning workshop

Aug. 23, 2015
Holy Conversation with Stewardship

Sept. 12, 2015
picnic at campus

Sept. 16, 2015
meeting with contractor

Apr. 10, 2016
returned to campus and held first worship service

In addition to the above, the Board worked diligently throughout this year on issues related to our plan to return to the campus. They dealt with architects, engineers, contractors, Marion County building department, and more.
A people ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus