Our Faith is rooted in the One Triune God to whom we belong in life and death, who came in Jesus Christ to reconcile the world, and whose Spirit transforms us into Christ’s image.
Our Mission is to make God known by growing as disciples of Jesus Christ, building a community of peace, and caring for the needs of others.
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The Kitchen Table Group
The vision for a Lakewood Ranch Church develops around a kitchen table.
The Idea Grows
Regular planning sessions are held at a variety of Lakewood Ranch locations.
Rev. Elizabeth Deibert is called as Pastor. Sunday night meetings are held at Living Lord Lutheran Church on State Road 70.
New Place of Worship
Sunday morning worship is moved to Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida.)
Music Director Called
Music and Arts Director Gia Havener joins the staff; Mission Outreach expands around Lakewood Ranch and beyond.
Youth & Families Ministry Grows
Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas is called as Pastor to Youth and Families.
Peace Church is chartered as the 39th church in Peace River Presbytery.
Peace relocates to the Manatee Association of Realtors building on Lakewood Ranch Blvd. The congregation continues to grow.
Continued Growth and Development
Peace continues to develop groups for prayer, Bible study, youth, peacemaking, Christianity & science, interfaith dialogue, exercise, movie discussions, parenthood, marriage, and more.
The Building Vision Team begins to develop a master plan for either a new church building or the purchase of an existing one.
Purchase of Permanent Home
Peace purchases the former Aurora Ministries property on State Road 64 and establishes a permanent home. Peace celebrates its first Christmas in its new home.
New Home Projects
The congregation begins the work of making our former office building suitable for church activities. The chapel is painted and wired for sound. Rooms are furnished. Walls come down. And the kids' wing begins its transformation into a friendly place.
Music Program Grows!
With the gift of a grand piano and bells from a sister church, the Music Program at Peace grows to 65 participants. Children and Youth number more than 40 with 20 in college.
New Sanctuary Finance Goal Met
Peace forums on a variety of challenging topics and Peaceful feasts to promote understanding across faith traditions help the congregation to live into our name.
Groundbreaking ceremony for new sanctuary held April 9, 2017. The session calls an intern for the Children, Youth, and Families ministry, John Daniel DeBevoise.
Since the purchase of the current property the dream has always been to construct a sanctuary.
In 2016 the financial goal for this building was reached with plans to begin construction in 2017.
April 9, 2017 we held our groundbreaking ceremony for the new sanctuary.
This is a visual rendering of our future place of worship.
**Thank you to all who helped make this possible**
Elizabeth is a Tarheel basketball fan, a flower gardener, and a lover of Montreat, the Presbyterian Conference Center in the N. Carolina mountains . After graduating from the University of North Carolina with a B. Music Ed., Elizabeth worked as a music teacher for a year, before following the call to ministry (which explains her trumpet and guitar in worship). She and husband, Richard, a physician, attended Columbia Theological Seminary, and after ordination, they served as co-pastors at Immanuel Presbyterian in Montgomery, Alabama from 1990-1999. The Deiberts next lived for several years in Cambridge, England, where Richard received his PhD. in New Testament. Upon their return to the US, Elizabeth served as interim pastor of Faison Presbyterian Church in Faison, North Carolina before being called to serve as Peace's founding pastor in 2005. Richard practices medicine at Tidewell Hospice at Lakewood Ranch. Richard and Elizabeth have four adult children, two of whom are married; Emily (Nico), Catherine (Taylor), Andrew, and Rebecca.
Gia has been playing the organ for worship since she was twelve years old. Her roots are in Massachusetts, where she trained at the Berklee School of Music and at the New England Conservatory. She spent most of her adulthood in SW Florida managing several music stores and doing tours to promote new lines of organs. Gia has been leading our music program at Peace since 2007 and has two sons and two granddaughters. In addition to leading several choirs here at Peace, Gia regularly delights the congregation with her diverse playing styles.
John Daniel, an Information Communication Technology major, Business minor at Florida State University, who is discerning a potential call to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, will spend the summer working with Peace. He worked as a Cedarkirk camp counselor last summer and has extensive experience with the Montreat conference center, both Music and Worship and Youth conferences. He is currently a youth advisor at First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee and serves on the Executive Board of the UKirk (PCUSA college ministry) at Florida State. John grew up in Winter Park, Florida where he helped deliver a state championship in basketball at Winter Park High School. He has an older sister in Tampa, an older brother in Washington D.C., and his parents who are co-pastors at Park Lake Presbyterian Church in downtown Orlando. He is extremely excited to help the youth at Peace grow in both their understanding of Christ's role in their own life and their role of being Christ's light in an ever changing world.
Damaris is a child development specialist who serves as co-director of Kids R Kids, daycare in Lakewood Ranch during the week. She has three children of her own and understands the needs of families.
God comes to us in free and undeserved favor in the person of Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose for us that we might belong to God and serve Christ in the world. Following Jesus, Presbyterians are engaged in the world and in seeking thoughtful solutions to the challenges of our time.
Presbyterians affirm that God comes to us with grace and love in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose for us so that we might have eternal and abundant life in him. As Christ’s disciples, called to ministry in his name, we seek to continue his mission of teaching the truth, feeding the hungry, healing the broken, and welcoming strangers. God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, giving us the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love to be Christ’s faithful disciples in the world.
More than two million people call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) their spiritual home. Worshiping in 10,000 Presbyterian congregations throughout the United States, they engage the communities in which they live and serve with God’s love.
Learn more about the PCUSA at PCUSA.ORG as well as information about the Peace River Presbytery at PEACERIVERPRESBYTERY.ORG
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We want you to walk in and feel at home. So wear what makes you comfortable and able to focus on your time at Peace. Some of us dress up for worship, and others do not. You'll fit in no matter what you're wearing. We may not look impressive on the outside, but inside, you will find people who care deeply.
There are no reserved parking spaces; park wherever you like. Please forgive our construction work, which will make parking more challenging for a few months.
There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit wherever you feel comfortable. We have armchairs for those with mobility challenges, and we're happy to make room for those who use wheelchairs or other personal mobility aids. Until our new sanctuary is complete, seating will often be cozy, so we recommend coming a few minutes early.
Children are cherished and welcomed at Peace. And again, we want you to feel comfortable, so you have choices. Nursing moms are welcome to stay in worship and may slip into the side parlor while still being able to see and hear worship. Families who wish to keep their infants and preschoolers with them in the worship service are supported and free to slip out as needed. Infants and preschoolers are also welcome in our nursery, where they are supervised by Damaris Luna, a child development specialist and co-director of Kids R Kids in Lakewood Ranch, and background-checked volunteers.
All children are invited to participate in Pastor Elizabeth's children's sermon, and preschoolers can then return to be with their family or be led to the childcare rooms for supervised play during the sermon. Children are brought back to their parents for Communion each service. Grade school children are encouraged to stay with their families during worship. We provide age-appropriate bags with coloring sheets, crayons, blank paper, and a little treat; they are available at the end of the children’s sermon. Children’s Bibles are also accessible on a bookcase nearby.
No. If you are visiting with us, we don't expect you to put money in the offering, and you are welcome to just let it pass you by.
Yes. For those who are hearing impaired, we have special hearing devices that you can wear that will allow you to control the volume; just ask.
For those who are visually impaired, we project readings, prayers, and hymns on a large screen above the communion table.
For those with mobility issues, we will gladly accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, or any other equipment in the chapel and throughout the building. If you prefer to stay seated at Communion, servers will come to you.
For those with dietary issues, we offer a gluten-free wafer and juice at Communion, as well as snacks during Fellowship labeled with dietary information.
Ours is an intergenerational blended worship service that lasts 60-65 minutes. We include the best of tradition, believing that there is value in staying connected to the roots of our faith.
We also include the best of the emerging contemporary elements of worship, believing that the church is always reforming to speak clearly to the current generation. At a Peace service, we pray together, we read Scripture together, we sing together. There are many participatory parts. We also celebrate Communion every week using grape juice and homemade bread, baked in our chapel. Anyone at any age who seeks Christ is welcome to receive at the communion table.
It's not our communion table - it's Christ's. And it's open to all who seek to respond to Christ's love.
8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday Worship at Peace is rooted in tradition and committed to relevance and freshness. Both services are nearly identical, blending the best of contemporary and historical styles. Lively Learning (Sunday School) classes for all ages are held at 9:45 a.m. Currently services are being held in our chapel inside the main building. A new sanctuary is in the planning stages. (see Building Vision)
Most of our young families attend the 11 a.m service after Lively Learning. Peace loves having kids in worship: Pastor Elizabeth includes a children's sermon every week, and we invite them to join in Communion (young children may exit during the sermon for supervised learning and return for Communion.) Nursery care is provided, but we love the sights and sounds of babies too!
A major part of Protestant worship is the sermon, and we expect you'll enjoy and be uplifted by the engaging sermons of Pastor Elizabeth. Her gentle and joyous spirit (and her occasional North Carolina drawl) will embrace you, surprise you, and, we hope, nudge you forward in your relationship with Christ.
Ask most of our members why they joined Peace, and they'll tell you it was a combination of the warm greeting they received and sense of family they feel as we worship together. Whether it is through familiar hymns or new spiritual songs, beautiful visual art or the sight of children walking up to Communion, you too will feel God's presence among our people.
Communion is celebrated weekly at both services. We come forward to receive the Bread and Cup. Children are invited, as are Christians from any church, and all seekers who wish to participate in this act of fellowship and nurture.
Peace welcomes infants, children, youth, and adults to the Sacrament of Baptism conducted during our regular times of worships. Infants and children must be sponsored by at least one parent or guardian who promises to nurture the child in faith.
Confirmation classes for youth are held as needed. In this sacrament, young people confirm the vows made by their parents at their baptism, and they make their own profession of faith as young adults. If they have not already been baptized, they will be at their confirmation.
Our adult choir is a vibrant, energetic group of dedicated singers, ranging in age from young adults to retirees. The choir sings from a broad spectrum of styles from traditional to spiritual to newly composed anthems.
Music Director, Gia Havener, makes choir rehearsals enjoyable and has a remarkable ability to play all music - from classic hymns to jazzy spirituals and contemporary songs - in just the right spirit of prayerful worship.New singers welcome! We rehearse on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm. Come!
Peace is fortunate to have received a wonderful gift of three octaves of melody chimes. Come try your hand at this beautiful musical experience, or contact Gia at the church for more information. Our group rehearses on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm.
The Gospel Guys are a bunch of church friends who love to harmonize, singing old-time and barbershop-style Christian songs and hymns. They meet weekly on Tuesday afternoon to practice songs they often present in Worship (sometimes 8:30 a.m., sometimes 11 a.m.), and share at various locations around the community.
Peace's newest musical group is for women of all ages who love to sing. Rehearsals are held on Fridays at 1:30 pm. Speak to Gia about joining, or just drop in and see if it's for you.
Child care is provided on Sundays from 8:15 am to 12:30 pm to allow parents to participate in worship, Fellowship, and Lively Learning.
Damaris Luna is our professional childcare manager. Damaris is a child development specialist who serves as co-director of Kids R Kids, daycare in Lakewood Ranch during the week. She has three children of her own and understands the needs of families.
Your children are safe with us. All staff and volunteers who work with children have been fingerprinted and background-checked.
Meets monthly to view a film and then have a lively discussion afterwards.
Monthly potluck to share joys and challenges of raising chldren
Meets Tuesday mornings at 6:45 a.m. at Peace for coffee and a time of prayer and study.
Meets weekly on a Wednesday mornings at 9:30am until 10:30am at Peace.
Groups of women gather occasionally to take walks, share dinner or drinks, walk on the beach, or to have baby showers.
Meets twice monthly to work on prayer shawls and other requested needs for the community.
Meets about once a month for 6 months in one another's homes, the church or restaurants to share a meal and fellowship.
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Mondays @ 1:45-3:00 pm: Qi Gong (medicinal form of Tai Chi)
Mondays @ 6:00 pm: Cub Scouts
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday @ 6:00 pm AND Tuesday, Thursday, Friday @ 9:30 am: Jazzercise
Wednesdays @ 1:00-4:00: Mah Jongg
Contact the front office (941-753-7778) or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
At least 4 times a year, an invitation is extended to prospective members to join with Pastor Elizabeth in a short course of study, discussion, and fellowship. We want all our members to understand who we are as Presbyterians and as members of this faith community. Your commitment to being a member is not only a sign of your faith in Christ, but a promise to support and participate with us in the ministry and mission of his Church. When you're ready to officially join, let Pastor Elizabeth know. We have several participants who keep their official membership in their former church, but who regularly worship with us. Talk to Pastor Elizabeth about the affiliation process.
Peace Church loves sharing the Word with its young people. To that end, we strive to make our classrooms inviting, creative spaces where young people can feel at home with God and with each other.
Our pre-K and younger elementary children learn about the Bible, worship, and discipleship in their Sacred Space and Creative Space rooms using the Godly Play™ curriculum. Our older elementary and younger youth classes rotate through a series of creative workshops to learn major Bible stories in-depth through art, video, drama, cooking, computer software, and Bible games. Our Youth settle into their youth room couches every week for Bible discussion & activities relevant to their age and needs.
Our Nursery is staffed by a certified care-giver Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. As well, children of all ages are always welcome in worship.
Our creative spaces and learning experiences are part of our overall effort to make the House of the Lord a home where God's Word is sown and grown.
From the beginning, Peace Presbyterian has made a commitment to youth ministry beyond what you would expect for a congregation our size in Florida.
This commitment includes youth ministry staff, a healthy youth budget, and an inclusive vision for youth participating and leading in the congregation.
A high percentage of Peace youth participate in the life of the church. Challenged to grow through education, worship, mission, and fun and fellowship, the young people of Peace reach out to serve others within this church, our local community, and God's creation throughout the world.
...and we have quite a few of them!
Whether you're a young adult living in town or away at college,
Peace Church is family.
Peace Church believes that it does indeed take a village to "raise children in the way they should go."
To this end, we strive to make our congregation and events family and parent-friendly.
At Peace, our children and youth get to know a wide variety and age-range of adults in meaningful ways. And our older members are especially generous with their support and attention to the needs of our younger generation.
At Peace, we are lifelong learners. Classes are intergenerational, informal, and generally short-term so you can participate as you feel led. From deep discussions of Jesus and the Gospels, to thoughtful dialogue about current events, to affinity groups on parenting, mental illness, caring for aging parents, life transitions, and managing stress, Peace offers options on Sunday mornings for all adults who want to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Cedarkirk in Lithia, Florida is a mission of Peace River Presbytery, which our church is associated with, and Tampa Bay Presbytery.
This wonderful church camp offers outdoor and conference experiences for our members.
Each summer, a group of Peace kids attends one of Cedarkirk's many different camp offerings for a week of recreation, friendship, and spiritual formation.
As a sign of our commitment to our families and children, Peace gives each participant a partial scholarship to help pay their church camp registration.
Cedarkirk runs a summer day camp at Peace and every year Peace families have a retreat at Cedarkirk. Peace Church makes an annual mission donation to support the camp's ministry to others.
One of our BIGGEST youth ministry events of the year is our annual trip to the Montreat Youth Conference in North Carolina. Our teenagers worship, play, and learn with a thousand other Presbyterian teens in a safe and spiritually alive experience.
Fishing in Lake Susan, energizers in the morning, and community at meals are part of what makes Montreat such a thin place.
To faithfully and responsibly manage the financial resources of the church, to provide for personnel reviews for all staff members, and to write policies governing the above.
To provide opportunities for adults to grow in Christian discipleship through Bible studies, small groups, discussions, and devotionals.
To develop a master plan for the Peace campus, especially the sanctuary building, and to obtain all necessary approvals, as well as carry-out a fund-raising campaign in coordination with Gratitude Team.
To provide opportunities for building authentic relationships and nurturing discipleship among the children, youth, young adults, and families of the church.
To nurture authentic relationships and pray for the congregation, with special attention to those in great need and, through the Stephen Ministry, to provide one one-on-one confidential care to people after a divorce, a death or another life crisis
To host the fellowship time between Sunday services, encouraging conversation and providing a welcoming atmosphere for all who attend, along with supporting those who host congregational get-togethers and events that strengthen the joyous unity of Christ's Body.
To encourage and facilitate the involvement of Peace people in giving their time, talent, and treasure with gratitude in their hearts, and to make sure gifts are recorded and people thanked.
To embody the lifestyle of Jesus Christ by compassionate service to those in need by providing various opportunities for the congregation to give and serve locally, nationally, and throughout the world.
To make Peace’s presence known in the community through website, signage, publicity, and special events, and to welcome guests warmly, providing follow-up contact to encourage their return visits
To make the missions of Peace possible by caring for the building and grounds
To assist the Pastor and Director of Music in providing inspiring worship experiences that bring glory to God and challenge and comfort congregants
Helping in our community is an exciting part of our congregation's focus. We recognize that we have been blessed, and in turn, we want to bless others in the name of Jesus Christ. Annually, we tithe at least 10% of our operating budget to support denominational missions and local mission groups such as Mission Beth-El and Cedarkirk Camp and Conference Center.
Mission Team leaders and elder present our Souper Bowl of Caring offering to the Manatee County Food Bank (February 2014)
Additionally, we regularly highlight an important missional need somewhere in our community, country or around the world. Our members respond in many ways, including purchasing supplies, writing checks, and getting involved with the mission partner.
Recent local mission projects include:
Peace Church has had a long and rewarding relationship with the people of Mission Beth-El in Wimauma, who work to aid the farm workers who struggle to feed their families and educate their children. Each Thursday morning, Peace people travel together to Wimauma every Thursday morning to pack groceries and organize clothing donations.
Other assistance throughout the year includes a back-to-school backpack drive and a Christmas Giving Tree.
For more information, visit www.beth-el.info/