Lots of babies, young children and young parents.

Lots of songs of hallelujah, hope and grace.

Everything Grace Pointe Church in Hernando does points to grace.

Last Sunday, the congregation that meets in the historic little yellow church building on Florida Avenue celebrated its first year as a church.

It was a year of blessing, said the church’s pastor, Jonathan Powers.

“God has blessed us so we can bless others -- and he keeps blessing us.”

From the beginning, Powers wanted Grace Pointe to be a place that’s not inward looking, a church that doesn’t insulate itself from the needs and the neediness of the world outside its doors.

In their first year:

For Mother's Day they partnered with Connors Gifts to allow the children of single moms or whose dad was abroad to purchase a gift to give their mom.

They did the same for Father's Day, but partnered with Ace Hardware.

Had a 4th of July community event in Hernando Park with bounce houses, slides, fireworks, free hotdogs, cotton candy popcorn. 

As a "pay it forward day," each person in the congregation was given $10 cash to either use or give to someone as they felt led. 

They partnered with Hernando Nazarene, Hernando UMC and the Elks Lodge for a trunk or treat at the old historic Hernando School for Halloween.

They’ve given away food and bikes, served a free breakfast on Thanksgiving Day  -- and baptized people in the lake.

At their first baptism in January, despite it being rainy and windy and 46 degree outside, that didn’t stop them.

Powers is the first one to testify to the grace of God.

"I am very excited about this upcoming year," he said. "We are a blessed church -- we have no payroll whatsoever, so we have been able to build up our account, and I am looking so forward to God blessing some people with it."

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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