History

Pastors

Maranatha Fellowship Church was born in a prayer meeting on January 02, 1991 with 16 people in attendance. We held our first worship service four days later at the Winter Park Seventh Day Adventist Church with 39 present and Rev. Charles A. Epperson as our first pastor. A month later Maranatha moved to the chapel of the Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home on Lake Ivanhoe, where we worshipped for nearly 2 years.

In 1992 Maranatha purchased the property at 1820 East End Avenue from the Edgewood Congregational Church and began holding worship services on November 08, 1992. Three months later we officially adopted the name of Maranatha Fellowship Church and became affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Rev. Epperson served as our pastor until he passed away in June 1996.

Rev. Grady Mangham served as our interim pastor until December 08, 1996 when Rev. Curtis L. Pace was called to be Maranatha’s second pastor. When Rev. Pace moved on in 2000, Rev. William Austin served as our interim pastor until we called him to be our third pastor in August 2001. Upon his retirement in 2008, Rev. Barry Peterson served as our next pastor until he moved out west in September 2013. Rev. Terry Truffin then served as a fill-in pastor, then as our interim pastor, and finally, on January 29, 2014, as our fifth full-time pastor. When Pastor Truffin retired in August 2016 we asked Steve Graves to serve as Maranatha’s interim pastor, which he has been doing for the past four years.

Church Site and Building

Our church property has a bit more history. Under the leadership of Rev. Carroll Blakeslee, construction of the church building located at 1820 East End Avenue began in 1953. When construction finished in 1956 the new church was named Faith Chapel. What began as a leap of faith has touched the lives of multiple generations.

The new church was the only church in the immediate area at the time, serving the community just north of Corrine Drive. There were very few businesses nearby, but there was a growing collection of small residences. In those early days, the church seemed to be located near the end of civilization in metropolitan Orlando; but, we know the Lord strategically placed the church there to fulfill His purposes for the developing neighborhood.

For many years, the church was only a few blocks from an important military base. During the 40’s and 50’s, the Orlando Air Force Base operated a tactical missile training facility at the corner of Corrine Drive and Bennett Road. In 1968, the base became the Orlando Naval Training Center, training thousands of Naval men and women until it closed in 1995. The Baldwin Park community now occupies the land where the base was located.

The original church structure still stands. A steeple was later added to enhance the overall appearance of the church, and a number of internal renovations have been made to create more functional space.  The church edifice remains a landmark of our community’s history.

Throughout the years, the church has been a sanctuary of hope and a tribute to the Lord’s faithfulness.  It stands as a steady reminder of God’s grace, and it will continue to be used for His glory so long as His providence sustains us.