History of Guilgal SDA Church
HISTORY OF GUILGAL SDA CHURCH
In the spring of 1988, some brothers and sisters broke away from Bethel Church of the Florida Conference to establish a new group in the Orlando area. They began with prayer meetings, Bible studies and Spirit of Prophecy studies.
When the decision was made to hold Sabbath morning worship services, Barnett Park was our first place of worship. Efforts to find a place to worship led us to St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church on Alhambra Drive. Dr. Bryan Stamper, Pastor of the church agreed to allow the group to meet on his church premises all day Sabbath, Wednesday and Friday evenings for a monthly fee of $200. A contract was signed.
Providence was guiding our feeble steps. The future was bright and we were all of good courage. As time passed, new members and friends were added to the pioneers. The need for organization was felt. Officers were chosen and the church was organized into departments like any Adventist church. To the following were entrusted the following positions: Elders, Serge Jeudy, Edouarlus Edouard, Jean-Baptiste Alexandre, and Willy Cherenfant. Sabbath School Directors: Leonide Cherenfant and Serge Meus. Sabbath School Secretaries: Noemie Pierre and Joanne Etienne. Treasurer: Mony Dorce. Youth Society Directors: Leonide Cherenfant and Marie Claude Dorce. Church Secretaries: Willy Cherenfant and Marie Claude Dorce. Director of Personal Ministry: Chcriez Oxil. Presidents of the Diaconate: Phito Noel and Suffranisc Frederique. President of Dorcas: Olivia Paul. President of Good Samaritan: Marcel Romelus. Director of the Children’s Section: Michelle Footman. The name Guilgal was chosen.
Having felt the need for a leader, the group turned to Pastor Max Charles who did not bargain for his services. His knowledge and wisdom served as a pillar and compass and sustained us through the early days, which, like all beginnings, were tentative. During this period of transition, we had the pleasure of hearing several guests share the Bread of Life with us.
The church membership continued to grow. Soon after, the group was placed under the umbrella of the Beracah church until it was integrated into the Southeastern Conference sisterhood of churches. Pastor Brutus preached the inaugural sermon. The group was compared to the wandering people who finally entered the promised land after many trials and tribulations. It was Gilgal, he said, that was the point of a new beginning for the people of Israel, and it is this example that we must follow. You have potential, and under the guidance of the Most High you will succeed and reach the Promised Land. This sermon and the service of the day gave us the desire to work together to serve as a beacon for the Haitian community in Orlando.
In 1990, Pastor Job Fleurimond was placed in Guilgal as the lead pastor. Under his leadership, the church organized fundraising campaigns that raised funds that Brother Paul Alphonse matched dollar for dollar. The Volny family (Juliette Jean-Baptiste and her parents Jeanne and Jules) sent generous contributions to the church for the acquisition of land for the future church building. In 1995, Guilgal’s new place of worship was dedicated at 2909 N. Pine Hills Rd, Orlando, FL 32808. In 1996, the first gospel campaign was preached by Pastor Nathanael Myrtil. One hundred and five souls were baptized to the glory of God.
Pastor Fleurimond was transferred from Guilgal in 1996 and Pastor Ronald Jean-Baptiste became the leader. He spent 10 years there. The church experienced an unprecedented growth during his time there and the membership reached almost one thousand. A second service had to be established to alleviate the rush of people who met there every Sabbath morning. Gilgal became a useful church for the community and many programs were established. One of Pastor John Baptist’s most cherished projects was the establishment of a “community center. Four acres of land was acquired for construction. But before he could even get started, Pastor Jean-Baptiste himself was transferred to Tampa. This displeased many of the members, and Guilgal experienced a period of turmoil that lasted for over a year.
On October 6, 2007, the Southeastern Conference introduced Pastor Lesly Jacques as the new leader of Guilgal. A week later a group of brothers and sisters left the church to establish an independent church. Despite the difficulties, Guilgal remains the apple of God’s eye. The church continues to grow. Under the leadership of Pastor Jacques, the church has been reorganized, the building renovated, souls are being baptized.
In 2010 Evans High School, wanting to expand, offered a good amount of money to the Southeastern Conference to acquire the Guilgal church. In 2011, Guilgal moved from 2029 Pine Hills to begin worshiping at Reverend Jean Carrol’s Philadelphia Baptist Church. Since then we have been worshiping there with the same spiritual warmth. In the meantime, the construction of the temple at the newly acquired land under the direction of Pastor Jean-Baptiste has begun. Pastor Lesly was elected coordinator of the Haitian churches at the southeastern conference. On December 8, 2012, the Southeastern Conference introduced Pastor Nicolas Louis as the new leader of Guilgal. The church continues to hold the evangelical torch in Orlando. Now we can thank God because our beautiful temple is almost complete. The new address of the new temple will be 5668 N. Pine Hills Road, Orlando, FL 32810.
Today we thank God for the many blessings He has showered upon His people over the past twenty-eight years. His people during the past twenty-eight years. Blessed be the Lord forever and ever! Amen!