Information collected by

Joy Church Historian

Margret Todd

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Church History

JOY Lutheran Church


Ocala, Florida

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1987-  The seed for Joy Lutheran Church was planted, when mission planners of LCA Division for Outreach saw that the growing population in the SW Ocala area of SR 200 could be served by a Lutheran Church and sent Pastor Dean L Swenson to Ocala a Pastor-Developer.  First interest meeting was held in November of 1987.

1988- First service of Joy was held on February 21. 1988 at Marion Landing Clubhouse. Joy is to be the first new Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in this part of the state, which newly-merged and came into being January 1, 1988.

Second service was held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, and all services after that for about two years at 4pm each Sunday in the Sanctuary.


On March 6, 1988 the first child was baptized at Joy Lutheran Church.In the spring of 1988, the present property was selected and a contract to purchase was signed by the ELCA.
September- Joys Women of the ELCA was organized.


1989- January 20-21, Joy held its first retreat at the Christian Church Conference Center on SR 40 with 25 people in attendance.



May 7, 1989, Lutheran Men in Mission was organized

July- Mission statement and financial program for the church were planned by the Service, Finance and Stewardship Committees of Joy and the Director of ELCA Commission for Financial Support.


November- "Tidings of Joy" the parish newsletter was first published. Christmas Day Service was the first service held in the remodeled house which served as Joy's temporary Sanctuary.


1990- Regular Sunday morning worship services begun on January 14 in the remodeled house on the property on SR 200

The charter statement and congregational constitution were adopted; the first Congregational Council was elected.
April- one hundred twenty charter members and six associate members signed the Charter.
April 29, Pastor Swenson was called to serve Joy Lutheran Church Joy's mission statement was approved and we registered as a non-profit corporation in Florida.
September 3, 1990- A second Sunday service was added with one hundred fourteen persons worshiping

1991- The Church by-laws were written and a feasibility study was made to plan a fund raising campaign.

1992- The members of Joy continued to actively work for his Kingdom and pursued plans for building a new house of worship.
Memorial Garden and walkway were dedicated.

1993- March- a successful "Vision for Joy" fundraising campaign was held using the services of Lutheran Laity Movement.
October- The Congregation voted to commit to a loan of $700,000 from the ELCA to pay for the existing property and construction of a new building.  At a special congregation meeting we approved the transfer of existing property and buildings from the ELCA to Joy Lutheran Church.  A vote to construct a new sanctuary and approval to name Cogun Industries, Inc to design and build was approved by the congregation and subsequently the ELCA Division for Outreach.


1994- Groundbreaking Service was held on Palm Sunday, March 27

Construction on Joy began May 9

October the trusses were put on the top of the walls and the roof was on the building and construction on Joy was finished not long after.

December the 10 foot light bronze sculpture, titled "The Risen Christ" was lifted up and set in place on the front of Joy. The display includes a six foot statue of Jesus Christ with his arms outstretched and a dove resting upon a circular wreath framework. The sculpture was made by Candice Knapp.

1995- January 15 at 10am, new Sanctuary of joy Lutheran Church is dedicated to the Glory of God. The Valedictory Service was held at Swenson Hall the former worship place and then the Procession to the new church led by Cross, Candles, Banners, Altar Guild bearing the appointments, the choir, Architects, Contractors, Building Committee,
the Church Council and the Clergy. At the doors of the Church the Architect and Contractor presented the keys of the Church to the Chairman of the Building Committee and then to the President of the Council. The Congregation and Processional entered the Nave and began the dedication of the building, Altar, Appointments, Baptismal Font, The
Pulpit and Lecteen, and all other furnishings.

April 9- Joy celebrated the observance of our Fifth Anniversary of Charter and Recognition

Also in April, Contracts were signed with White Stained Glass Studios for 6 windows- Passion, Easter, Pentecost, Advent, Christmas and Palm Sunday for a cost of $16,268.00, paid for by memorials and special gifts.

June 8- the Stained glass windows were installed in the church.

October 29- Was the public unveiling of the original painting of Noah's Ark scenes on one entire wall in our Joy Church Nursery and was painted by Joy member and artist Betty Legg.

1997- October, Joy's Pipe Organ brought and installed. An Organ fund was started and will continue until 1999.

1998- Pipes for the Organ were ordered from Italy and will arrive in December.

LMM joined the rest of the Florida -Bahamas Synod's Global Outreach Committee in the 'Pigs and Pastors' project in Haiti.


1999- February 15, Organ Pipes were installed, thereby completing our New Rodgers 905 Digital Organ.

July 1, Pastor Dean Swenson retired and his last service was on June 27. Where his family honored him with a special Communion Service.

July 1, we welcomed our Interim Pastor to Joy- Rev. Dr. Marvin Seemann.

August 8- An Installation Communion Service was celebrated and included Dr Baines and Dr Harris as well as other ministers from the Pinelands Conference.

2000- May Joy celebrated its Tenth Anniversary.

September- Joy's Processional Cross was purchased using donated funds.

December- Sherry Hickman called to be Joy's Organist to replace Bob Perinchief who was leaving as Organist and Choir Director of December 31.

2001- Sherry Hickman was hired as Organist for Joy (Associate in Ministry).

2002 - Pastor Marvin Seemann leaves as interim Pastor of Joy Lutheran Church.

June- Pastor Edward Holloway, Jr was called to be the new Pastor for Joy Lutheran Church.

July 14- The Installation of Pastor Edward Holloway, Jr was held at Joy.

2004- Fran Johnson became Joy's Administrative Assistant.


April- A celebration organ concert sponsored by Central Music Company of Clearwater was held.


Joy started printing our own bulletins, with the purchase of a new CD program for the computer.

May 14, Joy had an "Evening with the Swensons" to celebrate Pastor Swenson's retirement from and service to Joy Lutheran Church.