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Westside Jacksonville United Methodist Church and day care closing

6:36 PM, Aug 13, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Greg Daniels' son attends the Oak Crest day care. He was told that it will be closing along with the church; not what he wanted to hear.

"It is really good for our kids. He's been here since he was a baby," said Daniels.

The day care has been in business 30 years. Miki Kramer, another parent, said the church's closing is as painful as losing a family member.

"My daughter was baptized here. All of her friends are here. It weights heavy on my heart," said Kramer.

Dr. Pamela Hall is the pastor of Oak Crest United Methodist Church. Hall said the church is facing real challenges.

"My job as pastor is to take care of the people in the church," Hall said, "and my people are hurting. Because this is very hard for them -- to say goodbye."

Oak Crest UMC is 51 years old, but for decades, its congregation has been dwindling. Recently, the buildings were damaged by Tropical storms Beryl and Debby and combined, everything has taken a toll on its limited resources.

"This is not a not a surprise. They knew the church had struggled for sometime," said Hall, "They (the congregation) are sadden by reaching this decision, but they're not surprised."

But some are surprised the decision to close affects the day care. 20 workers will lose their jobs.

"They are not separate," said Pastor Hall, "They will follow the church. As the church discontinues, so will the ministries of the church."

Tiffany Kramer, a member, would like to see someone step up and save Oak Crest United Methodist Church and the day care, until at least next summer. 

"I think it will take the support of the community to get it going," said Kramer.

This past Sunday, Pastor Hall read Jeremiah Chapter 29 verse 11 to the church to let them know there's hope.

"He (God) has a plan for us and that's what we're claiming," she said.

The United Methodist Church has yet to announce the closing date, but the decision to close has already been made. 

First Coast News

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