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AN ISSUE OF WATER
 
        
Appearing before county commissioners would be a stress enhancer for most of us, regardless of Sarasota's
allegedly overall laid back demeanor.  For a rapidly expanding area which in recent years was considered
the #1 destination in the USA and annually boasts of the cool white sands of Siesta Key Beach consistently
making the top 10 list, Sarasota is looking a little less attractive than it used to primarily from the influx of
bodies everywhere.  The traffic on Tamiami Trail says it all.

Inside the county perimeters there is a lengthy stretch of road within the sprawling town of Venice which has
long been the home of wholesale nurseries situated on large acreage where they grow a plethora of tropical
plants and trees; a landscaper's delight.  Nestled in picturesque groves along the same road are an
assortment of churches, some larger and some smaller, of which a few have been there seemingly forever,
enjoying their relative anonymity while worshipping in their respective ways.  This once unchartered area is
no longer that, and it appears that it will soon be a major commercial stretch of road with supermarkets and
malls, utterly destroying the ambiance and intent of those who believed the road to be the best kept secret in
town.  Progress.

Rev Dr Sherry Kennedy is the pastor of one such gathering of believers who claim their Venice Boulevard
location to be their church home.  It's one of the smaller congregations along the stretch with a membership
barely over 100, although the attendees exceed that number, and a large segment of the regulars drive a
minimum of a half hour to get there.  Why would they do that?  There are plenty of churches in the Sarasota
area to choose from which are filled with born-again parishioners, with good pastors and a decent social
interaction.

The appearance of Rev Kennedy and an attractive woman named Liz, vice moderator of the church, at a
recent commissioner's meeting might lend insight into this phenomenon.  An apparent oversight caused six
months of frustration for this modest congregation wanting to erect a new and much needed facility, requiring
it to pay $500,000, an amount exceeding the church's annual budget several times over, to have a water
pipe line extended down the lengthy boulevard.  This brought these two saintly women to the forefront.  This
small church's being required to pay for the "hook-up" on behalf of all the huge interests along the road
would threaten the future of the church.  It was an inequitable situation in many ways.

Knowing the invisible brick wall they would surely be up against, these two saints didn't go to the
commissioners unarmed.  Like Joshua who ordered the blasting of trumpets to demolish the great walls of
Jericho in seven days, which was of course illogical by the world's standards, this small congregation had
simultaneousy gathered in prayer back in their chapel, or in homes, or at work places while the two women
approached the commission.  The armor of the world is never an equal match against the people of God who
were in this case employing the weapon of prayer.  God's people are often opposed by other factions, yet
perpetually protected.

As God's women presented their argument before the powers that were, the Holy Spirit filled the room like a
cloud, hovering over all, altering the mood and ushering the presence of God into their very midst.  Like a
slingshot versus a formidable giant, God's glory filled the chambers and delivered
victory that very hour; the water issue resolved once and for all.  In the words of one commissioner, "common
sense" prevailed at last.  Perhaps one or more of the commissioners were accustomed to the presence of
the Holy Spirit in their lives.  That I don't know, but it's comforting to envision that possibility.

Why would people make such an effort to go great distances to attend a little church in the middle of
nowhere?  I think you know.






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