In 2008, the parish finalized a partnership with a mission in the town of Santa Maria in our companion diocese of Honduras. In 2010, thanks to two generous parishioners, land was purchased for the mission, which is now named the Church of the Good Shepherd. A church was consecrated by Bishop Allen in 2016.
After twenty years of service, the pipe organ console was replaced and the pipes were moved to a new chamber in the chancel in 2009.
Deacon Suzanne Mulkin joined the Good Shepherd family in 2009, assisting with parish calling and serving as Chaplain at the Lake Wales Hospital one morning per week.
The Vestry endorsed John Motis as an aspirant for the vocational diaconate in 2010. He was ordained after he completed his studies at the diocesan Institute for Christian Studies in Orlando, currently serving as diocesan disaster coordinator and facilitator of the bishop’s “Fresh Expressions” initiative to plant non-traditional congregations.
The Vestry endorsed a plan by our parents to make the Kenney Youth Building, Nursery, and Campbell Building, with their common playground and basketball court, to become a complex of facilities dedicated to the spiritual nurture of our infants, toddlers, elementary, middle and high school students.
Father Tom welcomed the opportunity to mentor Patti Behnstedt as a vocational deacon in Bartow and Alex Earl and Kevin Bartle as postulants for Holy Orders.
One common thread throughout most of our history has been the Thrift Shop on Orange Avenue, which grew under the leadership of Tomi and Max Blackburn, and then Theresa Ryland and Paula Templeton, to the point where the Shop has netted over $50,000 for the past few years in support of many programs and outreach projects.
Father Tom retired at the end of 2017, thus serving the longest time (nearly 21 years) of any Rector to date.
After a nine-month search, The Rev. Canon Timothy Nunez accepted our call to become the eighth Rector of Good Shepherd. He started his tenure on January 1, 2019. Prior to joining us, Father Tim was the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Central Florida. Before that, he served as Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Belleview. His children’s sermons have quickly become a favorite part of the service for both children and adults.
Thus, in the period of over ninety years, the church has grown from its modest beginnings in a small town into a congregation which prides itself on its "sense of family" and its accomplishments. An additional source of pride is the fact that the church has accomplished its objectives without having the burden of any indebtedness. We are a happy, healthy parish family.