Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

United Methodist Church's Family Life Center Nearly Complete; the Center Will Open Just as Two Pastors Leave the Church

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

United Methodist Church's Family Life Center Nearly Complete; the Center Will Open Just as Two Pastors Leave the Church

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

The draped cross is perched atop the new brick-faced structure, and the parking lot far below is done.

Yet orange cones at the driveways to Mandarin United Methodist Church's new family life center mean some parts aren't finished on the two-story, 42,000-square-foot design church officials hoped to have open by Easter.

It should be open by July, just when two of the three pastors, the Rev. Dave Brazelton and the Rev. Curran Spottswood, retire. A retirement celebration for Spottswood is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the church, while a celebration for Brazelton will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 31.

Brazelton said he and his wife are moving to Lakeland, where the state's United Methodist headquarters is and their widowed daughter and her children live. But it won't be a rocking chair for him.

"The wheels are turning; I am 66 and [Spottswood] is 65, but soon 66. We both agreed when we came that if everything went well, we would probably retire at this time," Brazelton said. "I will never retire. But what I will do is accept the retirement check and still work at churches and teach for the rest of my life. That is just who I am."

Spottswood said he and his wife will move to a home in St. Augustine Beach he's owned for 30 years and see what retirement has to offer.

"I'm going to spend some time lying in the sun and licking my paws like an old dog. I want to slow down," Spottswood said. "I will not stay retired forever. I am too Type A for that. ... I want to sail, make it to the Keys and wander a little bit, then say 'It is time' and God will nudge me."

The 3,000-member church at 11270 San Jose Blvd. has grown in recent years, with a 3,900-square-foot center with nurseries, bride and groom rooms and classrooms added two years ago. A church study showed a continued need in the Mandarin community for facilities to handle more growth, so plans were drawn up for the Family Life Center.

The estimated $5.5 million Family Life Center's construction began in the spring of 2008. …

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