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SPRING LAKE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

On October 3, 1976 about 150 people gathered at the shopping center in the heart of Spring Lake to formally organize the Spring Lake Presbyterian church. It was an anticipated moment for people like Mary Yontek, whose husband had recently died and she needed a project to fill her mind and heart and the new community needed a church. The Rev. Barbara Yontek, Mary’s daughter, had contacted St. John’s Presbytery and Jack Ryan, sales manager of Coral Ridge Properties, developers of Spring Lake, to suggest the community’s need for a church.

Teenager Donna Greenhalgh was first in line to put her name to the document that petitioned the Presbytery to form the congregation as a church of the United Presbyterian Church, USA. Forty-nine other people followed, putting their names to the list of charter members. Before this evening there had been fifteen months of investigating, searching, and meetings led by representatives of the Presbytery. Their mission was to determine if there was sufficient interest in the community to form a church. Dr. Harry Bryan was the first of these emissaries from Orlando. Realizing the zeal among residents, Bryan began worship services in rented quarters at the shopping center. The first was held on December 7, 1975. Neighboring congregations in Sebring, and as far away as Alabama, supplied resources for worship.

The search for a permanent pastor ended when the Rev. Paul Stauning, a pastor in Harrisburg, Pa. accepted the call. He was installed as pastor on October 2, 1977. With funds given by the Presbytery and raised by the congregation, the present buildings were dedicated on November 26, 1978.