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Little church has big plans in Dade City

A large new church will settle on 9 acres, replacing a tiny one a man built for his wife to preach in.


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 15, 2001

DADE CITY -- For some, a small white house on a corner lot, with eight pews and a pulpit, is church.

More than 40 years ago, Ned Hanner Sr. built the one-room house for his wife, Mother Flowers Hanner, to preach in. The Hanners raised nine children. One, William, became pastor at the little white church when Mrs. Hanner died in December 1982.

"Mom always said, God has something for you to do," William Hanner said. "She said God showed her I could take over where she left off."

Since then, he has preached from the same dark wood pulpit his mother preached from. Behind the pulpit hangs her picture and a cross.

William, 51, and his wife, Patrice, 49, have an 18-year-old daughter, Meisha, who attends the church. William's sisters, Neddie Lee Hanner, Viola Vaughns and Ethel Lean Perry, also attend.

In 1987, the church broke ties with the Saint Peters Apostolic Organization in Tampa and is now an independent, non-denominational church called At the Church of the Living Christ.

Now church members are anticipating a big change.

The church recently bought 9 acres at Dixie and Johnson streets in Dade City to build a new 7,000-square-foot church.

A T-shaped building is planned with classrooms, a nursery, a multipurpose room with kitchen, administrative offices and a carport. A ground-breaking ceremony is set for 3 p.m. Sept. 30.

The current church, which is about 21 feet long and 13 feet wide, has been remodeled only once with fresh paint and paneling.

On Tuesday, several members gathered at the church for a weekly Bible study. They described their church as "non-judging" and "full of God's love." They say their pastor's teaching comes "straight from the word of God."

The group and the pastor said that anyone is welcome to attend.

"This is similar to a hospital for the wounded, anyone that wants another chance at life," William Hanner said.

Along with the pastor, his wife and many of the members were born and raised in Dade City.

Deryl Williams, 43, is one. He met the pastor on the street corner in 1993 and started coming to the church.

"He is an honest man," said Williams, who attends with his wife, Alga.

Verta Kui, 60, said she started attending 17 years ago, when her son was in "some trouble."

"I found out I needed more help than him, realizing that I can't help someone else until I help myself," Kui said.

Kui said she was excited about the new church because there will be more room to dance. The church has a set of drums, keyboard, tambourines, bongos and maracas. Patrice Hanner said "whoever feels led by the spirit" is welcome to play an instrument or sing on Sundays. Hanner's style of preaching is evangelistic, which is a zealous way of presenting the Gospel, and he teaches from the King James version.

"We have what it takes, the anointing that breaks the yoke that binds, the word and the lifestyle," he said.

- Angela Miller-Hood covers Religion news in Pasco County and can be reached by calling (352) 521-5757, ext. 29, or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6108, then 29. Her e-mail address is

If you go

At the Church of the Living Christ is at 38400 Roosevelt Ave., Dade City. Pastor William Hanner can be reached at (352) 567-0573. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. followed by a service at 11:30 a.m. and a service at 7 p.m. A prayer and deliverance service is held at 7:30 p.m. Mondays. Bible studies are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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