The children of Holy Family presented Bishop Greg with a beautiful, handmade, three-panel "welcome card."
Church of the Holy Family enters its 61st year in 2013, and the vibrant, spirit-filled church is more youthful and energetic than ever.
“We are truly blessed,” said the Rev. Peter Magill, rector. Fr. Magill and his multicultural flock welcomed Bishop Greg and Laura Lee Brewer on Sunday, Jan. 13. Bishop Brewer confirmed, received and gave First Communion to members Holy Family, and confirmed members from St. John-the-Baptist Episcopal Church, Orlando.
In addition to the confirmations, receptions and First Communions, the Jan. 13 service saw an especially warm moment with the reaffirmation of marriage vows of Fr. Pete and Jane Magill, whose 40th anniversary was that day. And the children of Holy Family presented Bishop Greg with a beautiful, handmade, three-panel "welcome card."
In 1952, under the leadership of the Very Osborne R. Littleford, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Church of the Holy Family was formed as a mission in the Diocese.
In 1979, the church moved to its current site on Hiawassee Road. “The vision and wisdom of the Vestry and Building Committee placed Church of the Holy Family in one of the most spacious, visible and accessible sites in West Orlando,” the church’s official history says.
Since then, Holy Family has flourished to become one of the largest multicultural parishes in the Diocese of Central Florida. Sunday attendance tops 175 between the 7:30 and the 10:30 a.m. service.
Growing membership encompassing a variety of cultural backgrounds has helped expand Holy Family’s ministries in many directions.
“We have a mentoring program that helps kids after school, a Bible study every day and a grief-support group one day a week,” Fr. Magill said. “This is a very spirit-filled congregation, and we try to stay centered in the positive things the Lord has for us to do in this area of the diocese.”
Fr. Magill has served in the ordained ministry for 36 years years and holds a Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity. Fr. Pete is a certified Hospice Minister and holds a Diploma of Clinical Psychology. He has ministered as Religious Educator of three Parochial Schools and served as Chaplin of Norfolk General Trauma Unit in Virginia. Fr. Magill also founded and directed a community soup kitchen.
In 1982 Fr. Magill was called to parish ministry in Florida and in 1997 became Rector of Church of the Holy Family. Parishioners say they are blessed by Fr. Pete’s special gifts and skills in parish visioning, spiritual growth, church development, preaching and teaching.
The work of the congregation is truly a team effort, Fr. Magill said.
"Fr. Arthur Johnson has been instrumental to the ministry at Holy Family and invaluable to me personally," Fr. Magill said.
Fr. Johnson came to Holy Family in 2007 after retiring from the Diocese of Long Island. He teaches a weekly Bible study, assists at Sunday worship and heads up Holy Family's Prayer and Healing Ministry.
"Fr. Johnson was an answer to prayer because within a few months of his arrival, I became ill and was no longer able to visit hospitals and nursing homes," Fr. Magill said. "Fr. Johnson volunteered the sole responsibility for visiting the sick within the parish, thereby ensuring the continuation of this essential ministry and endearing the hearts of Holy Family members to him."
Also in support of the parish and its neighbors, the Rev. Gabriel Tassy joined the parish in 2004 as Diocesan Missioner to the Haitian Community in Pine Hills. Haitian by birth, Father Gabriel speaks three languages; Creole, French and English.
Along with his responsibilities to the Haitian Community, Fr. Gabriel assists at worship services and serves in pastoral care ministry.