Celebrating 27 Years of Working Together for Jesus
The history of the group dates back to 1991 when two pastors; Jeff Krall of Family Worship Center and Pastor Thomas Tkachuk (now with the Lord) of the First Congregational Church formed the Sanford Ministers Fellowship.
Their goal was to have a place for the unique fellowship that can only occur between ministry leaders doing ministry in the same city. It was to be a place where leaders could set aside their ministry titles for a moment and relate to each other on a first name basis as children of God.
The group’s desire was to fulfill the Lord’s desire; to be a place where the prayer of Jesus for us to be one would be realized; where the lost could testify to the authenticity of Christ’s claim to be the Savior of the world, simply by beholding our love for each other.
Through the years dozens of ministry leaders have participated in many successful events where churches have worked together to lift up the name of Christ and to serve the community with a tangible expression of His love… with various events.
Monthly and sometimes twice a month Ministry Leaders Luncheons every month. This is where ministry leaders from different denominations and networks who may not typically ever interact with each other see that they often have much more in common than they realize. This where the “joining and knitting” of the Body of Christ begins. It is here where the maturing Christian leader recognizes we aren’t here in the city to “compete” with each other but to “complete” each other. We facilitated dozens of Workshops and Conferences to encourage and strengthen the Body of Christ.
Several churches worked together produce Halloween alternative events at Sanford Middle School and Millennium Middle School in 1993.
Several churches in 1994 even broke with tradition and gave up their most sacred Sunday of the year to promote their individual church to participate in a community Sunday Easter Services at the Civic Center. Their desire was to show the Church is unified on the day our Lord was resurrected.
1998 Tornados – When people think of Florida disasters, hurricanes always comes to mind, but tornadoes have cast their deadly pall on the state as well. One Sunday night in 1998 became the deadliest tornado event in Florida history, with 12 tornadoes touching down overnight from Feb. 22-23, in a swath of destruction from Kissimmee to Daytona Beach killing 42, leaving hundreds more injured and destroying or damaging thousands of homes. The Sanford Ministers Fellowship opened up its first bank account to collect funds for the tornado victims. We helped facilitate the community Prayer Service at First Baptist.
We facilitated the Special Prayer and Repentance Ceremony with the Police Chief and city leaders for the way city elders treated Jackie Robinson in November of 2003 at the Historic Memorial Baseball Stadium.
We repented right at the spot where Jackie was refused to play baseball just because of the color of his skin.
We have sought to participate in identification repentance wherever the Lord leads us lead us.
In 2010 area ministers and police officials gathered to pray on the property of the new Police Department property to break the blockage of bureaucracy in Tallahassee that has been holding up the release of the property.
One ministered noted that he saw in his mind a bureaucrat‘s office in Tallahassee cluttered and filled with papers. He then removed a piece of paper from the stack of papers and ordered the property’s status be expedited immediately. Prayer works.
We worked with community leaders in Sanford and Seminole County during the Trayvon Martin tragedy to keep the peace in our community in 2012. The Justice Department suggested the area churches create a pastors group with the black ministers who normally didn’t attend the Sanford Ministers Fellowship and created Sanford Pastors Connecting. We were glad to work with Ministry Leaders regardless of what the name of the organization was.
Pastor Jeff Krall became Co-Chair of the Sanford Pastors Connecting group along with Dr. Harry Rucker and then later with Pastor Valerie Houston. This is where some honest and frank conversations about race took place. We met informally at Cracker-barrel a few times to build trusting relationships before and during the trial. The Sheriff’s Department hosted several Ministry leaders meeting to help everyone understand the process and provided special seating for area pastors in the courtroom.
During this time a Documentary called Sanford: The Untold Story was produced by Steve Strang from Charisma Media to tell the story of what took place during this time. This is well worth your time to see.
In 2015 we facilitated a local missionary evangelists to Africa to produce the Sanford 2015 Celebrating Life Together Event at the Sanford Historic Memorial Baseball Stadium. This evangelistic collaboration of over a dozen black, brown and white churches was positively received and still produces warm memories of how we can work successfully and Celebrate Life together. Also approximately 10,000 meals were packaged in affiliation with Feeding Children Everywhere for children in need at our area schools.
We sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit to honor our local veterans and discovered the great need of recognizing our Vietnam Veterans. We sponsored in conjunction with the City of Sanford, Harvest Time International and Seminole County the first Annual Vietnam Veterans Recognition Service at the Sanford Civic Center in 2015.
This turned out to be one of the finest community events anyone has seen at the Civic center.
In 2016 we hosted the 2nd Veterans Event with special recognition of our Vietnam Veterans. Another honor filled event for Sanford/Seminole County.
2016 represents the 25th anniversary of believers in Sanford working together for Jesus and our official name change into the Sanford Regional Ministry Center.
After 25 years of bringing community leaders together the Lord has increased the scope of the group’s work and influence from hosting a monthly luncheon to providing mediation services between leaders and ministries, hosting workshops, dialogue around race relations, veteran’s events, and collaboration with business leaders for economic development, as well as education and government leaders.
In April of 2016 we hosted a Fundraiser Luncheon for the Hopper Center—Benefiting the restoration and sustainability of the New Hopper Center. The Historic Hopper Academy was built in 1906 as the first school for African-Americans in Sanford and Seminole County. The Lord has highlighted this project as another step towards healing both sides of the city’s racial history. As we share our history together we will be able to walk together into a brighter future together.
Justice Department Chooses Sanford as Model for Bringing Communities Together
During the 2013 trial of George Zimmerman regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the Justice Department, convened local clergy and law enforcement in a working group designed to decrease misinformation and maintain peace in the community. During the trial, these leaders met regularly and constantly monitored developments in the trial, including sitting in the courtroom each day, to quash false rumors and promote nonviolence. The Justice Department now uses our experience in the following video in cities across America. This is the fulfillment of one of the reasons we founded the Ministers Fellowship in 1991, as you can see from our Goal #7 –”To be a model by the grace of God to other cities throughout the nation as to the need and benefits of such Christian fellowships”. To watch the CRS video see; “God Squad—Keeping Peace in Sanford FL”
In August 2017 we worked with Harvest Time International to host the Homelessness Symposium to help dozens of faith-based homeless agencies to work with the Community Resource Network.