A New Look

The decision to remain downtown led to the renovation plans being dusted off and a well-planned, detailed fundraising campaign beginning on January 21, 1985, and ending three months later on Victory Sunday, March 24.

A contract was signed with Witt Construction Company, Inc. on March 19, 1985, with work to be completed by July 1, 1985, at a cost of $160,922.00. The church had to borrow $120,000.00 but had pledges to pay it off by March 31, 1988.

Cross above the choir loft

The final gathering of the church in the sanctuary before the renovation was on Easter, April 7, 1985. Services were held in the dining area of Fellowship Hall while the work was in progress. Among other things, the natural wood beauty of the sanctuary was restored and the ceiling was redone to better enhance acoustical quality. The wooden cross that is mounted above the choir loft was a gift to the church from David Leonard, the architect.

Our decision also impacted the decision by the conference to plant Lakeside Fellowship on the Markham Woods Road site where it remained until highway 417 was built across that property. It later moved to west Hwy 46. Grace United Methodist moved from their Airport Road location to the property on Country Club Road in Lake Mary.


After a fund-raising campaign, we were able to purchase a 15 passenger van in January of 1988. This was needed by many small groups, especially our Youth Group.

Church Van!


Happening in Sanford 

On January 26, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after takeoff. This tragedy was felt all over the nation, and certainly here in Central Florida and the Space Coast. The explosion killed all the crew members on board, including a civilian, Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire who was scheduled to be the first teacher in space

Challenger Crew


In 1989, Octavius “Ocky” Clark, was setting records in track and field. Clark, from Sanford and an accomplished runner at Seminole High School, had great success at Santa Fe Community in the 1980s. “Clark would win two National Junior College indoor 800 meters titles and one outdoor championship. He never lost a National Junior College race. From 1982-84 Clark established the Junior College Indoor and Outdoor National Record. Accomplishing 5 Junior College All-American titles in only two years… During the Winter of 1989, Ocky would break the indoor American Record for 800m and also establish an indoor American Record for 1000m that would stand for fifteen years.. In 1991, at the age of 30, Clark traveled to Havana, Cuba to represent the United States at the Pan American Games where he won the gold medal at 800 meters which was presented to him by Fidel Castro.”¹ Significant to the life of our church Ocky is the nephew of Jim and Ethyl Thornton

In 1989, Sanford’s downtown residential district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sanford’s downtown commercial district received this designation in 1976. The residential districts has 434 buildings in a wide range of historic architectural styles including Craftsman, Prairie, Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, National, Colonial Revival, Spanish Eclectic, and Mission.² These historic designations are part of what gives Sanford its charm and appeal and what makes this such an ideal place to work and live!

Historic District Sign outside the church


Happening around the world


1987– The world population is estimated to have reached five billion people, according to the United Nations.

1988– The Morris worm, the first computer worm distributed via the Internet, written by Robert Tappan Morris, is launched from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S.

1989– In Alaska’s Prince William Sound, the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (38,000 m3) of oil after running aground.

1989– Students from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an and Nanjing begin protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

1990– Universal Studios and Nickelodeon Studios open in Orlando, FL

1991– In the Białowieża Forest Nature Reserve in Belarus, leaders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine sign an agreement ending the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocky_Clark

[2] https://www.sanfordfl.gov/departments/development-services/planning-and-development-services/historic-preservation-new