The Ukrainian Baptist Church of North Port, Florida rejoiced in the Lord as it observed its 30th anniversary at the Sunday morning worship service on October 27, 2019.
About 100 people participated heartily during the congregational singing, which included five songs in the Ukrainian language led by Brother Leonid Kushnir: “The Name of Jesus Is So Sweet” (Ісусове Святе І’мя); “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” (Люблю Твій, Боже, дім); “Church in the Wildwood” (Дізнавсь я про церкву живую); “Be Glad in the Lord and Rejoice” (Радійте, співайти і славте); and “O, God, we so gladly dedicate this building” (О, Боже, ми так радо всі цей дім присвячуєм Тобі).
The choir, under the direction of Yura Troyanоvskiy, sang two songs nicely: “Come rejoicing, come with singing, alleluia” (Богові хвалу віддайте, алелуя) and “Church of God, Arise” (Церкво Божа підіймайся).
Pastor Avdiy Chripczuk opened the service with prayer and reading the Scripture passage from Matthew 16:13-16 — When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Former members, guests and current members heard about the local church’s history. All the former pastors spoke briefly: Rev. Walter Sauchuk, the founding pastor who is still a member; Rev. Sergey Chernyakov; Rev. Stepan Zinchuk (still a member); Rev. Michael Jakubovich (still a member); and Rev. Vitaliy Bernatskiy.
Rev. Jakubovich, who served as pastor for about 10 years, pointed out that the church began meeting in facilities of two American churches before purchasing a building in 2003.
There also were solos, a recitation of a poem and duets, including two by former members Alex Zinchuk (playing guitar) and his wife. They invited the congregation to join them in the second song, “The Village Church” (Місце є дороге).
The sermon was delivered by Brother Stepan Yakovets based on the Scripture passage “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18).
After the service, the celebration continued with a meal in the fellowship hall next door. A canopy was set up outside for the overflow crowd.
The choir sings under the direction of Yura Troyanоvskiy.
After singing a duet, former members Alex Zinchuk and his wife lead the congregation in a song.
Rev. Michael Jakubovich, who served as pastor of the church for about 10 years, talks about the history of the North Port church.