by Nori Nicholas
Over the years there have been thousands of people who have called SRC their church home. Each one has brought the gift of their talent, personality, creativity and ideas that has impacted and created the unique church culture that exists at SRC.
It would be impossible to mention each person. But some need special mention because of the important role that they played in the growth and formation of SRC.
Sharon Demko & Cheryl Burdin: Spanish River Christian School
During all these years the Spanish River Christian School continued to grow with Sharon Demko at the helm. There was a commitment between church and school that they would work together impacting the world for Christ. As the church grew and so did SRCS. Sharon Demko had a vision to add a middle school. In order to do this the school would need additional facilities. Funds were raised, many church members and school parents gave generously so that the middle school could have a home. Plans were drawn and the building was constructed.
During that process portable classrooms were added to house grades 5, 6, and 7 so we could add students as we were building the new middle school. SRCS was a buzz in the community as new construction proceeded. By the time the new building opened for the school year in 1997 there were full classes, two of each grade level through 7th grade, and the first 8th grade graduating class.
We were all sad to say “goodbye” to Sharon Demko when she retired at the end of the school year in 2014. We have been so blessed that the Cheryl Burdin was able to take over the reins of leadership at the school. Cheryl is not new to the SRCS, before she became the headmaster she was the Technology Administrator for the school.
Linda Childs: River Tots
As Spanish River Christian School grew its original roots as a “Mom’s Morning Out” program disappeared but there was still a need for a way to give respite to moms of tots. Linda Childs saw this need and in 2000 she launched River Tots with two classes and a total of 12 mommy’s with their children. (The children in those first two classes will be graduating from high school this year!) It was a special, sweet time with mom’s and children and word began to spread. Within a short time they moved from two classes to four classes to six classes and then on to multiple days of the week.
At the time Linda was teaching/leading all of the classes but gradually additional teachers were hired. God provided mom’s who knew the program, had a heart for sharing Jesus with both mommy and child. They understood the importance of this type of program in the life of a mom with a toddler! River Tots continues to grow. Sixteen years later there are nearly 200 moms participating in River Tots each semester, relationships have been built and lives are being changed.
Kay Londeree, Bonnie Sturgis, Kay Widmaier & Eileen Bruen: Children's Ministry
Children’s ministry has always been an important part of the ministry at SRC. I remember an incident many years ago. David and I were visiting with our eldest son and his family in Texas. Our oldest granddaughter, in high school at the time, was proud to announce that she had her first job, she was hostess in a Mexican restaurant. When her granddaddy asked her what was the most important part of her job she replied, “making the kids happy because the parents will come back if their kids love their experience.” I think we came away from that conversation with a renewed appreciation of the import of a truly great children’s ministry.
There have been many wonderful leaders of our Children’s programs through the years, of special note are Kay Londeree, Bonnie Sturgis, Kay Widmaier and most recently Eileen Bruen who brings a special joy and excitement to everything with her vivacious, outgoing personality. There are two main aspects of Children’s ministry, to provide a safe loving environment where parents can leave their children during worship services, and to provide learning opportunities in age appropriate ways for children.
River Adventure Pals (RAP) is a wonderful program where kids learn spiritual truths, values and interpersonal skills while having fun. They meet on Wednesday nights and currently has an enrollment of 90 kids. RAP has its roots in a Pioneer Club program that was started by Eunice Lewis and Don Dodelin. Although the name and some of the activities have changed, it remains an opportunity for kids to make friends and grow in a relationship with Jesus in a small group environment.
Carol Walters: TLC
Carol Walters had the passion for saving the lives of the unborn. She had the vision to start the TLC Clinic in Boca Raton in 1982. This was the first clinic in town dedicated to help women who found themselves in a crisis pregnancy. The intent was to come along side women who were feeling pressured to have an abortion and to give them the true opportunity of choice, the choice to give their babies life. This clinic was staffed and supported by SRC for the first several years until they were able to broaden their support base to include other churches. TLC merged with another prolife group in West Palm Beach to become First Care. The Boca Raton clinic had to close its door in 2011 but has just reopened a brand new clinic at 190 NW Glades Road just one mile from the FAU campus.
Jackie Adames: Nurturing Your Newborn
Jackie Adames brought Nurturing Your Newborn to SRC. Jackie is a nurse who was teaching a class for new mothers at the Boca Regional Hospital. She saw the potential for this type of a ministry at the church. She could see the possibility of moms from all over Boca building relationships and creating a community right in our own church. Her vision was to share the Gospel with women in this vulnerable life stage.
Jackie became volunteer leader for Nurturing Your Newborn at SRC in 2002 and was joined by Sara Tallbacka in 2003. There was a five year anniversary celebration at SRC and all the families who had participated were invited. David Nicholas went to the celebration and shared the Gospel with at least 100 families in attendance. In Jackie’s own words, “As I stood by him and he prayed, I knew that God had called me to develop this ministry as a greater outreach in our community. I felt called to leave my post at the hospital and work at SRC. I spoke to Ron Tobias about my vision for this family outreach. We prayed about it and he gave me a part time position, a computer and a place to meet with Moms. “
In 2007 Nurturing Your Newborn expanded their reach by creating a DAD’s program. This ministry has become a significant door through which many young families have found their way into the church.
Craig Kindell: Ride 4 Orphans and Missions Ministry
Craig Kindell has been a long time SRC member. He has been an enthusiastic choir and praise team member. In 2004 he was challenged to go on a mission trip to Mexico. The experience touched him so deeply that in 2005 he made two more mission trips – Haiti this time. He continued to be involved in mission trips and then in 2009 the mission coordinator resigned and Craig hesitantly offered to lead a trip to Haiti. With the help of Jim Tallbacka and Jackie Adames we put together a medical team which did a mobile clinic for 10 different orphanages in southern Haiti.
In Craig’s words, “It was on that trip I remember walking into a room at dusk at an orphanage in Les Cayes which I thought was empty. When my eyes grew accustomed to the dark I realized that there were children sitting around the room quietly eating their dinner in the dark since the orphanage had no power for lighting. I remember wondering how we could help fix that.”
A few months later in January of 2010, the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Just ten days after the earthquake Craig was part of a SRC team led by Jackie Adames that provided a mobile clinic at the epicenter of the earthquake in Haiti.
In 2011 Craig retired from his job as programmer for IBM and started working full-time at SRC as the volunteer missions coordinator. He has led trips to Colombia, Haiti, Chad and Malawi. In 2012 he partnered with SonLight Power Inc., a solar power missions organization, to install solar power at one of our church plant locations in Jeremie, Haiti. Those orphans eating in the dark who had touched his heart three years before now could eat their supper in the light.
All of these mission trips cost money and have to be funded. In 2013 at the suggestion of Eric Johnson a charity bike ride event was launched. The Ride 4 Orphans raises money to fund our solar projects at children's villages in Chad, Malawi and Haiti as well as helping local foster care organizations 4KIDs and Place of Hope.
In Craig’s words,
“It has been a remarkable journey for me since my first mission trip in 2004, and the Lord has me doing things I never thought I was capable of doing. I am part travel agent, part mission team leader, and part fund raiser none of which I could have ever imagined myself doing just twelve years ago. I have been on over 25 mission trips over the past twelve years and it has been a joy working alongside our dedicated church planters all over the world, some of whom are working in very difficult circumstances, even risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel. It is truly a privilege to be part of advancing God's kingdom and I look forward to doing this for many years to come, Lord willing.”
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