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First Christian Church, is one of the founding churches in Winter Haven, Florida, established in 1909. 

​Guiding Values 

Like Other Brother and Sister Flocks within the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, First Christian Church, is an Open and Affirming congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  We affirm the life and teachings of Jesus Christ by welcoming all people of diverse races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status to worship and participate fully in all aspects of church life in a safe, loving, nurturing, and compassionate community.  We affirm the faith, baptism, and spiritual gifts of all Christians, celebrating that all people are part of God's good creation.  We work to advocate for those who know the pain of exclusion and discrimination by the church and society.  We invite you to help us

embody our denomination's identity statement - "We are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.  As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us."

We have no "creeds" that are required; there is no set of beliefs about God that you must profess in order to count this as your church community.  We strive for the Christian faith which is both socially relevant to our time and intellectually sound while holding true to Jesus' teachings about a God of unconditional love for each and all.  No one is excluded from God's grace!  Everyone has their own questions about faith and life, and we celebrate that!  At First Christian Church you will find a company of friends eager to help and encourage you as you move forward on your spiritual journey.

As far as we are concerned, your "membership" in this community is defined by your participation.  At the same time, each Sunday we give everyone an opportunity to make an affirmation or re-affirmation of faith in response to our movement's traditional question, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and do you take Him as your Savior?", and we celebrate when individuals come to know Jesus Christ in this way!

This Means:

  • We find our unity in Christ, not in particular positions on theological or political issues.

  • We take the Bible seriously, but not literally.  We believe the central message of the scripture is that God loves each and every person and wants justice for each and every person.

  • We won’t tell you what you "have to" believe, and we cherish our freedom to differ in opinion.

  • We believe in helping others in need at home and around the world.

  • We believe every person, of every age, sex, race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity has gifts to share in ministry and leadership.

  • We celebrate communion every Sunday, and everyone is welcome.

  • We practice baptism by immersion while acknowledging, accepting, and celebrating other forms of baptism as well. Typically, individuals begin a journey toward baptism around age 10.

How We Worship

Our Vision: Living and Proclaiming the gracious love of Christ through action and word to each and all.

Our Mission: Excellence in traditional worship in a welcoming atmosphere | Practicing radical hospitality, where all means all | Expecting and honoring diversity in Christian belief | Inspiring the community through excellent music in a variety of forms | Providing Christian learning opportunities in an environment that encourages personal spiritual growth | Challenging ourselves to be outrageously generous in time, talent, and money | Joyfully serving God and neighbor, with particular emphasis on serving at-risk children and youth


First Christian Church

Our journey – Looking Back Ten Years

By: Rev Marilyn Holloway

Change is constantly happening to us as individuals, families and as the church.  Ten years ago our church began a journey that has changed the way we are the Church and do ministry.  It is so good to have several new people in the church and to think about our future as we vision and plan for what our church will do in the new building.  It is a good time for everyone to be reminded of where we have been in these past 10 years.  Having been a congregation in ministry for 100 years, many things had changed in our lives.  We had a large building and a small, aging congregation which was not growing.  The cost of just maintaining a large building was taking away money that was needed to be used for ministry. What should we do?

New Beginnings

We entered a time of study, discussion, prayer, and reflection about where we were as a church and what we felt God was calling us to be.  The name of the process was called New Beginnings.  What came out of that process?

  1. The decision to sell the church and find another place to rent where we could reduce costs and do more ministry.

  2. We redesigned the way we were structured and moved from a large church board and committees that we could not staff to a smaller Leadership Team that would make decisions by consensus.

  3. We went from a full time minister that we could not afford to a Part Time minister who could help us through the process of selling the church and moving.We called Rev. Rob Mason to that position.

  4. When we sold the church, we wanted some of the money to continue to represent our church and ministries that we felt were important.  We created a legacy statement and several ministries received money in our name.  Some of the money stayed with the church to provide a way to work on our growth and future.

  5. We worked through the grief process of leaving the old church building and did the physical work of giving away and selling some of the things in the church.

  6. We planned a wonderful Service of Celebration for November 15, 2014, to celebrate the ministry of the church which had gone on for 100 years.

It would end in that place but would continue on.  Some members chose to go to Haines City Christian Church which met their need at the time.  About 40 members decided to continue meeting and carving out a new future together in a new place.


Time of Transition

  1. Rev. Mason ended his ministry with us at that point.

  2. The church building had not yet sold and our ministries to the community continued in the that church building. We were providing food and worship several times a week to the homeless in our community.  We also had our Thanksgiving dinner for the community which had gone on for over 20 years and was started by Elders Joe and Margaret Ayers and staffed by the congregation.

  3. Rev. Marilyn Holloway planned and coordinated worship each Sunday for the next year as we met at Ott Laughlin Funeral home, free of charge.

In God’s timing, a year later, the building sold to a pre-school, Ott Laughlin

needed their space back for a planned redecoration, and we found this space on 6th street which would become our new home.


Six Years on Sixth Street

  1. The congregation worked to make this space into the worship space it is today.  Many improvements were made to the space including paint, decorating, the purchase of a stove and refrigerator to equip a kitchen, etc.

  2. Pastoral work was shared by Elders who took out communion to our homebound members and ministered to families who lost a member to death.  During the past 10 years we have lost 10 members to death.

  3. Rev. Rob Mason was called again to provide mostly pastoral work for the congregation.

  4. We started a youth group for the first time in many years.  We only had 3-4 youth, but they came and began bringing friends.  The youth group started to grow and had many events including giving out of back packs to children in the community.  Aftershock Youth continues to grow and flourish.

  5. We purchased a van for the church which has been used to transport youth to church and for their fun events, to pick up elderly who needed a ride, and to take one of our members to dialysis every week.  As of 2023, we sold the van.

  6. Having helped us again at our time of need, Rev. Mason ended his ministry.

  7. We called Rev. Jennifer Moreno to be our new Part Time minister.  Her focus was to be to increase the vitality of worship and music, help the church grow, and continue to build the youth program of the church.  She works directly with the youth and has developed many good relationships.

  8. Jennifer’s family (Team Moreno) have added a great deal to our fellowship.  Ryan, Brianna and Dianna have all pitched in to contribute leadership and for two summers, our church has had the most youth at our summer camp at Silver Springs and we have witnessed their growth through that.  Parents of new families who have come to the church also helped at camp as counselors and at church with the youth.

  9. When Mark and Elizabeth Ferreira and their three children started to come, we soon discovered their gifts.  Mark is now the Minister of Music and Elizabeth is doing the technical work for the service in a capable way.

  10. Our young people have been very involved in worship and have served as deacons and as liturgists for the worship.We have seen them growing in

Confidence and ability.

  1. During the time of Covid, Jennifer’s ability with social media was put to good use and now our congregation reaches people in the military and in many places. All of the new families that are now coming and involved in church first became involved with the church by seeing us on Facebook.Evangelism is happening in new ways today.

  2. And now we have signed a lease for 5 years to worship in a new place.


What now?  Let’s vision!


Welcome to the FCC BARN!

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