Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 81 of 143

Page 82 2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide BY DANIEL SUTPHIN Sun Writer A small church with a big history − the First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda recently celebrated its 125th anniversary at its sanctuary on the corner of Airport and Taylor roads. "Through it's 125-year history, (we've) battled all sorts of stuff," said Rev. Barksdale Pullen III during the anniversary service. "There's been location changes, natural disasters, denominational shifts ... but through it all, the congregation has remained true to the word of God." Pullen took over as pastor in January 2020 from the Rev. Stephen Mock, who served as the church's pastor for almost 17 years before retiring.. Mock said the congregation's small church atmosphere has been part of the strength behind their longevity. "We've always felt like a family." The congregation has worshiped at the current location since 2006. In 2004, Hurricane Charley destroyed the church's longtime home on Harvey Street in downtown Punta Gorda (built in 1901). The need for bigger property prompted the congregation to move instead of rebuild. "This property was kind of God's blessing to us because we were ready to give up trying to find land to rebuild," Mock said. The First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda was started Oct. 13, 1895 as the Presbytery of South Florida of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. "It started out with six Presbyterian elders from up north that decided to start a congregation down here that was a mission church up until the mid-1950s," Mock said. "It was very small, but it still hung on and carried on." For more information on area churches, see the directory in the back of this magazine or visit puntagordachamber.com Punta Gorda church still going after 125-plus years The Rev. Barksdale Pullen III gives a sermon during Sunday service at The First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda's 125th anniversary celebration. Sun photos by Daniel Sutphin Current Rev. Barksdale Pullen III, left, took over as pastor for the First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda after the Rev. Stephen Mock retired from the position in December 2019.

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