The Beverly Hills Community Church is centrally located on Civic Circle right in the middle of this quaint small community. The location, next to the Lions Club and Community Center, looks like the setting from a Norman Rockwell painting. In June 2015, they celebrated their 50th anniversary.
This once-thriving church was rocked by the embezzlement of nearly $20,000 last year by the trusted former church secretary. They had to hire a certified public accountant, treasurer and an office manager to straighten things out. Some of the church records were deleted or corrupted and no longer useful. Many files had to be rebuilt.
As a result of the insider theft, some members of the congregation left the church, concerned there was inadequate monitoring of the finances.
But, the books are back in order now and the church staff is comprised of all volunteer parishioners.
According to part-time secretary, Bonnie Wilson, “This congregation is amazing.”
“All of the staff positions have been filled by church members who stepped up to volunteer their services,” Wilson said.
Among them are Bonnie’s husband, Howard, who is one of the seven church elders, and two alternates, and Mary Lou Warhol, who is also an elder and the vice president of the Ladies Guild. The other volunteers fill the positions of office manager, treasurer, three alternate treasurers, two part-time office workers and a 15-member choir with an organist and pianist.
“You can’t stand still, you have to move on,” Warhol said.
That’s what they are doing, under the direction of provisional pastor,Warren Hoyt, who has been with the church since March. In May, he graduated from Regent University with a Master of Divinity degree. He has been in the ministry for 40 years and most recently was a pastor in Texas and Lakeland.
Most of Hoyt’s former work was as a missionary. He traveled to 26 countries and speaks Spanish and Russian. His wife accompanied him occasionally, but spent most of her time at home raising their four children.
The couple have lived in Homosassa since 2016 and Hoyt commutes to Beverly Hills on his motorcycle. He is taking his time making changes until the church members adjust to a new leader. But, the one change he has made so far is starting a new Bible study group.
The Ladies Guild is an active arm of the church, hosting most of the fundraising efforts. One of their fundraisers is a Military Card Party. This annual event held in September attracts players from around the county. It is social event and a great way to meet people, said organizers. They also serve a meal and dessert, a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction.
This year’s event will be on Sept. 13 in the Jack Steele Fellowship Hall, next to the church, which is the original church building.
The Ladies Guild also stages a rummage sale every March, a Christmas Bazaar in December and a Country Store the third Friday of most every month, except in June, July, August and December. The Country Store includes a spaghetti dinner and donated items for sale such as jewelry, knick-knacks, dishes and other household items.
This philanthropic little church sponsors Boy Scout Troop 452. It is a two-way relationship. In return, they get assistance from the scouts for setting up events and other projects requiring additional help.
The congregation also donates clothing and household items to Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (CASA), The Path and the Family Resource Center in Hernando, which assists the homeless population.
With all of the elements in place for success, they are anticipating future growth. This active congregation hopes to grow as the word spreads about their recovery and resilience. For information regarding the fundraisers and joining the church, call the office at 352-746-3620.