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A closer look: One Hillsborough church

By SHANNON BREEN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 15, 2001


Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

LOCATION: 0604 N Valrico Road, Valrico (813) 689-3130

LEADERSHIP: Stephen L. Rudacille has been priest for 24 years. He earned his bachelor's degree in history at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. He also earned a master's of divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Va. He has been married to Gayle for 39 years, and they have two children: Ann and Jeremy. They also have two grandchildren with one on the way. Mrs. Rudacille has been training social workers for about 18 years.

SERVICES AND PROGRAMS: Worship services are held each Sunday at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.; Christian education for all ages at 9 a.m. Home group ministries, adults' and children's choirs, youth groups, and senior citizens group are available.

HISTORY: The church was chartered in 1957 on land donated by the Kiser family. The first sanctuary was built in 1960, and in 1987, the congregation moved into a new, larger sanctuary.

RECENT SERMON TOPIC OR THEME: "Related to the cost of discipleship." Episcopal churches practice liturgical preaching from the scripture. This year, sermons are from the Gospel of Luke.

MEMBERSHIP: About 700 members.

OUTREACH TO THE COMMUNITY: The church works with ECHO (emergency food pantry), support the Brandon Outreach Center (medical help for the needy), prison ministry, Share program, ALPHA (10-week program on the introduction of Christianity), Meals on Wheels, Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops, and provides space for Alcoholics Anonymous groups to meet.

NOTABLE: The church also provides space, in the church parish hall, for St. Mark's Mar Thomas Church (a Christian church with ancient roots in India). This congregation meets at 11 a.m. each Sunday.

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