History of Church of the Holy SpiritSong
Church of the Holy SpiritSong (COHSS), founded in 1999, grew from the evangelical ministry, SpiritSong Ministries, originally founded by Reverend Deanna Jaworski and Jill Andrews in 1997. The church was incorporated as a 501c3 in 1999. There were approximately 16 founding members. The board of trustees consisted of five (5) members, including the founding Pastor, Rev. Jaworski (pictured right), and there were three (3) elders appointed as spiritual overseers. The church first began meeting as a mid-week worship service for those who were attending other churches on Sunday.
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Soon it became obvious there was need for Sunday services to be held and the mid-week service was temporarily abandoned in favor of Sunday worship. Facilities were rented from the Embassy Suites Hotel in Boca Raton, Florida. The church remained there for some time and as attendance hovered near sixty (60) each Sunday, COHSS began to look for larger facilities. COHSS moved to a facility in Ft. Lauderdale, The Sheraton Suites Hotel. That hotel’s capacity to accommodate the larger size as well as being located closer to the community COHSS has committed to serve, made it a logical venue.
Though operating exclusively from rented facilities for over nine years, COHSS provides for outreach and counseling opportunities to the community at large as well as its own congregation. COHSS has an active recovery program, spiritual development courses, and Bible study opportunities open to the community.
In addition to the worship experience provided by COHSS, we began serving the community almost from its inception. A Food Pantry was established and with the help of donations from the congregation as well as support from Harvest Palm Beach, COHSS provided food to nearly 90 people each week. For 2004, 21,844.5 lbs. of food were collected and distributed. In addition, COHSS members distributed 1000 Thanksgiving Day meals in 2004, 1,500 meals in 2005, 2000 meals in 2006, and over 2500 in 2007, as the church followed its call to “go out into the community.” Feed My Sheep, started in 2008 as an outreach at a local Congregational Church Facility, and currently serves a freshly-cooked meal one Saturday a month to the homeless near Federal and Oakland Park Blvd. Greater than thirty five (35) individuals and families are reached through this program each month.
In September of 2005, our weekly worship service was moved to the GLCC of South Florida in Ft. Lauderdale. We recognize that many people in our community have been hurt, alienated, and excommunicated by the Church Universal. By moving to the GLCC, we feel we have created an opportunity for a less threatening place for people who are GLBT to attend church. Through the continuation of both outreach and service, COHSS was expected to continue to grow in membership and Christian Discipleship.
In October of 2006, Rev. Deanna Jaworski announced the call of God on her life, as well as the lives of her spouse Jill and son Scott, to move back to New Jersey for a period of three to five years. On May 27, 2007, three new pastors were ordained into service. The new senior pastor is Rev. Tom Millner, and the two new associate pastors were Rev. Suzanne Taczak and Rev. Leslie Tipton. The new team has built upon the foundation set in this church by Jesus Christ, and closely followed by Rev. Jaworski, to meet more of the needs in the communities of Ft. Lauderdale and South Florida. The calling of Reverend Taczak to Orlando has rendered the remaining team of two with no less vigor for the challenges and opportunities at hand to minister to the needs of the communities of South Florida and elsewhere.
In February of 2009, Church of the Holy SpiritSong opened its very own SpiritSong Worship Center, located on the five acre campus of Equality Park, beside the Pride Center, serving the larger community of South Florida, from Wilton Manors. The membership has grown over the past 10 years and currently is at one hundred fifty (150) active members. While appearing small, the growth has been significant and dynamic when viewed from the founding membership of 16.
Additionally, Church of the Holy SpiritSong New Jersey (COHSSnj) will be officially launched in early 2010, as a sister body serving the needs of the communities in and around the Jersey Shore. Link to them now at http://www.cohssnj.org.