Bahia Vista Mennonite Church (formerly known as Tuttle Avenue Mennonite Church), (Mennonite Church), located in Sarasota, Florida, was organized in 1950 by the Virginia Mennonite Conference with 15 charter members. Truman H. Brunk was appointed bishop, and Myron Augsburger pastor. During two years, while Augsburger was engaged in educational work and tent evangelism, Paul H. Martin served as pastor. The meetinghouse was dedicated on 31 December 1950, and later enlarged. During the late 1950s the attendance varied from 50 in summer to 600 or more in winter; the membership in 1957 was 93, with H. Michael Shenk as pastor. Shenk was ordained to the ministry in 1956 and served as pastor until 1971. In the late 1950s the congregation promoted a home mission outpost, a weekly radio program called "The Voice of Truth," and in co-operation with two other local congregations promoted the Shekinah Bible School, a four-week school held at the Tuttle Avenue Church.
John H. Shenk and Stanlee D. Kauffman provided leadership in the 1970s and 1980s. The congregation reached a membership of over 600. A new church building was dedicated on 28 December 1980 on Bahia Vista Street, 30 years after the Tuttle Avenue dedication.
In the 1990s the congregation leveled off at about 650 members, with attendance soaring to over 1500 during the winter months. New programs were developed and many of them, such as the Christian Fine Arts Series, Community Night and Charis Center, were geared toward the broader Christian community in Sarasota. Bahia Vista paid off the debt on its facilities, which were often used by outside groups, and financially supported a variety of missions and ministries. A. Don Augsburger and Barry Wm. Loop served as pastors during this time. In the late 1990s, Bahia Vista adopted a new mission statement, entered into its first building project since the move to the new location, and began to dream about how God would lead in the future.
In the fall of 2001 Glenn Steiner became the senior pastor of Bahia Vista, and served until March of 2008. David L. Kniss was the Interim Pastor in 2009; the membership was 250.
Miller, James P. "History." Bahia Vista Mennonite Church. http://www.bahiavistamennonite.com/Home/History (accessed 6 April 2009)
Address: 4041 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota, Florida 34232
Website: Bahia Vista Mennonite Church
Southeast Mennonite Conference
|Author(s)||Myron S. Augsburger|
|James P. Miller|
|Date Published||April 2009|
Cite This Article
Augsburger, Myron S. and James P. Miller. "Bahia Vista Mennonite Church (Sarasota, Florida, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2009. Web. 4 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bahia_Vista_Mennonite_Church_(Sarasota,_Florida,_USA)&oldid=75077.
Augsburger, Myron S. and James P. Miller. (April 2009). Bahia Vista Mennonite Church (Sarasota, Florida, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bahia_Vista_Mennonite_Church_(Sarasota,_Florida,_USA)&oldid=75077.
Herald Press website.
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