THE NORTH FORT MYERS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
In August 2003, a small group of people began meeting together on Wednesday evenings for Bible Study and Prayer. As the weeks
went by the vision for a new PCA church plant in the North Fort Myers area was established. We were given “Mission”
status by the Presbytery on October 22, 2003, and incorporated as North Fort Myers Presbyterian Church November 12, 2003.
The first service of North Fort Myers Presbyterian Church was held on January 11, 2004, at ECHO. There were 24 people present.
Core Group Officers were: Lanny Moore, Sr. - President, Dawson Gladding - Vice President, Earl Jordan - Secretary, Bill Burdette -
Treasurer, Dick Fessel - Director.
November 7, 2004, was Dann’s first Sunday as our new pastor. February 6, 2005, was the date of our becoming a particular
church in the PCA, installation of our officers and Dann’s ordination and instalation.
Organizing members (27 members and 3 covenant children): Barbara Beeman; Susan Branin; Bill, Lynn & Kip Burdette; Dann & Christi
Cecil (Aiden & Caleb); Carolyn Faris; Dick & Jennifer Fessel; Pam Gastineau; Dawson & Lucy Gladding; Earl & Linda Jordan; Don &
Diane Langenburg; Bob & Virginia MacDonald; Mary McGinnis; Herb Mitchell; Christine Montesino (Hunter); Lanny & Lucy Moore;
Martin & Bonnie Price; Jerry & Peg Smyth.
Dann Cecil had been called as
pastor and was ordained on that date (Feb. 6, 2005). The original officers (shown below, left to right) were Deacon Don Langenberg, Deacon
Dick Fessel (chairman), Elder Earl Jordan (clerk of session), Elder Lanny Moore Sr., Elder Dawson Gladding, and Deacon Bill
Burdette. Not having any property as yet, the church from its inception met in the auditorium of ECHO at 17391 Durrance Road in
North Fort Myers.
More informally, Dan Cecil is shown with his present family, (Caleb, Christi holding Charis, and Dann holding Aiden). The original
officers are shown with their wives. Sadly, two of them died within a year: Lanny Moore on November 7, 2005, from lung cancer, and
Don Langenburg on January 9, 2006, from a brain aneurism. Bill Burdette was elected elder in the place of Lanny, leaving Dick Fessel
the sole deacon..
The original deaconate was composed of Richard Fessel (chairman), Bill Burdette (treasurer) and Don Langenburg. Upon the election of
Bill Burdette to the session, and the death of Don Langenberg, the diaconate was reduced to Dick Fessel alone.
The membership at the time of becoming a particular church was 27 (with 3 Covenant Kids). Most of these people had formerly been members
of Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and had long-standing relationships with each other.
Within six months, due to the Lord's leading, the session bought and paid for 2-1/2 acres of prime property at 2871 Trail Dairy Road,
North Fort Myers, just east of US 41 and less than a mile from Del Prado Blvd. extension, on which several large building projects
were under way, indicating a rich field of prospective members.
But search as we did, we could not find a suitable temporary location for 18 months, when the Lord led us to
1916 Commercial Drive, in Fort Myers just across Cleveland Avenue (US 41) from the Sears store in Edison Mall. The place had ample
space, but was in terrible condition. By dint of hard work almost full time by Earl and Linda Jordan, together with congregational
gatherindgs of 10-15 each of the five Saturdays in August 2006, and some during the week, the building was turned into a beautiful
facility, as shown by the photos at left and right. The result of that hard work is shown in this picture of the entire congregation,
taken immediately after the worship service on September 3, 2006.
The following Sunday we held a church dinner (see left) to celebrate the new facility. To show the age range of the
congregation, we have this photo (see right) of the oldest (Herb Mitchell, nearly 93) holding Charis Cecil (ten months).
It would seem a liitle odd that the North Fort Myers Presbyterian Church would locate in the center of Fort Myers, but that is
how the Lord led us. We thought we would be getting a rental property in the center of North Fort Myers, but one thing after another
delayed the contract, largely a matter of a battle between the owner and the County staff which had to approve the lease. Then
suddenly we were led to this property we now occcupy. It was at the right price, but in terrible condition, as mentioned above. But
now, due to the hard work of so many, the place is beautiful. We have since come to the understanding of why God brought us to this
place -- it is a real mission field! Not only do many poor people live in the vicinity, but the government offices to which certain
people (like delinquent teenagers) have to check in periodically are located nearby.
On the 20th of May, 2007, the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony took place for our new sanctuary at 2871 Trail Dairy Road, North
Fort Myers, just a block east of US 41 and about nine miles north of our present location opposite Edison Mall in downtown Fort Myers.
The event was performed by our officers, as you can see in the photo to the left, and was observed by most of our congregation, as
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