Rev. Swicegood was ordained by the Connecticut Valley Presbytery and a member of the Presbytery of Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Pfeiffer College, his Bachelor of Divinity from Drew Theological School, and his Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to this Church Rev. Swicegood was called to large Presbyterian churches in Mississippi, North Carolina, Illinois, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
His resume begins with “At this point in my life, I seek — above everything else — to be personally surrendered to God in Jesus Christ that God will be able to use all the gifts which God has given me. The best years of my ministry lie before me, because I can testify in my own life as to the transforming power of Jesus. I await on tiptoe for what God has in store for me next.”
He ended all his sermons with “The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the work of God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8.
Choir members brought the idea of developing a handbell choir to the pastor and Council on Ministries. They were given the go ahead, but no funding. The first set of bells was borrowed from the First Presbyterian Church in Sun City. They formed in October 2002 as the Carillon Handbell Choir and played two to three octave music Christmas Eve. In 2003 the choir was given permission to fundraise for their own four-octave set of handbells and third octave of choir chimes.
A Buy-A-Bell campaign was held to purchase 5 octaves, C3-C8. Within 17 minutes the bells were all bought for a total of $19,565. By the spring of 2004, the choir retuned the borrowed bells. The Heavenly Handbell Choir was formed with those new to music, and the Campaña de los Niños Handbell Choir with five young men. In 2017 a new three octave set of bells was purchased using donations and memorial funds.
Rev. Swicegood had just changed the name of the contemporary service to Manna and he was looking for a wall hanging that depicted God providing for our daily needs. The quilters took on the challenge and chose this image that had been part a Manna slide show. They created a full-scale cartoon of the picture and began creating the wall hanging using fabric from their multiple sashes. It was dedicated at the September 2007 Manna service.
Rev. Hopely was ordained by the Swedish Baptist Church of the Baptist General Conference. He received his undergraduate degree in World Religions from Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia (Canada), and his Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. During his seminary education, Rev. Hopely worked as an associate minister at a Baptist church in Bellingham, Washington.
Following graduation, he was called to serve as senior pastor at the Twin Harbor Baptist Church, Westport, Washington. In Rev. Hopely’s vision statement he stated “I am Christocentric in my theology and have been able to transcend denominational and religious boundaries because of my conviction that God’s love expressed through Jesus Christ is open to all people.”
Rev. Hopely was raised by a Protestant mother and a Roman Catholic father. His home was an example of Christian unity as he experienced how Christian believers from differing backgrounds could love one another and still hold to their individual beliefs. This ignited a passion in Rev. Hopely’s heart for ecumenical ministry.
The Garden of Memories was expanded to include about 350 additional interment sites and a Veteran’s Memorial Fountain. It was dedicated on September 27, 2009, in memory of Col. Walter A. Douglass and Chief Master Sergeant John Petty.
The fountain was made possible thanks to financial gifts by Virginia “Ginny” Douglass and Susan Petty Adams in memory of their husbands and their military service. The plaque reads, “May all who look into the waters of this fountain reflect on the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces whose service has helped to secure our freedom.”
The Veterans Wall of Service was donated by Isabel Clark in honor of her husband John “Scotty” Clark who was a career Air Force veteran of two wars, WWII and the Vietnam War. Isabel wanted a spot to offer the families of local veterans a permanent spot to display a plaque with their name.
The Cantera stone monument was placed next to the Veterans Fountain on the west end of the Garden of Memories. The side plaque reads, “The Wall of Military Service is dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have faithfully served our country to ensure our freedoms.”
The dedication was held July 19, 2015 with family and the congregation.