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A closer look: One Hillsborough church


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2001

University Church of God

LOCATION: 10948 Central Ave., Tampa (813) 933-3991

SERVICES AND PROGRAMS: Sunday: 9:15 a.m. Bible study; 10:30 a.m. regular worship and 6:30 p.m. prayer and praise; Wednesday: 7 p.m. home improvement "The Garage," meaning place of repair and restoration. The church offers programs for children and youth, Ladies Fellowship, Promise Keepers for men, music, recreational activities, singles ministries, senior adult group, support groups, MARS (Making A Radical Stand) for fifth- and sixth-graders; and Circle of Friends for kindergarten through fourth-graders.

LEADERSHIP: The Rev. David Nitz has been the pastor at the church for more than five years. He attended Lee College in Cleveland, Tenn. He and his wife, Amy celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in March. They have three sons: Michael, Jamie and Phillip.

HISTORY: The church began with a series of revival meetings in June 1927. The meetings began in a brush arbor on 12th Street in Sulphur Springs and were transferred to a tent later that summer. A group of 29 organized the church in early 1928, known then as the Sulphur Springs Church of God. After moving to its current location, the name was changed to the University Church of God. In June 1973, the present facilities were dedicated.

MEMBERSHIP: About 1,500

OUTREACH TO THE COMMUNITY: The church has a Shephard's Closet that provides food to the needy. Each Saturday, University Church has a Jumpstart program in which breakfast is taken into the community to feed the homeless, and if the people who are fed come to church on Sunday, they are given lunch. At Easter, the church sponsors an Easter egg hunt for children in the community. The church also supports Metropolitan Ministries and the North Tampa Crisis Center as well as about 25 missionaries.

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