Following in her footsteps

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG Englewood Foursquare Church Pastor Jeff Geenen

ENGLEWOOD — Volunteers like Englewood residents Margaret Signor and Mindy Warner at Englewood Foursquare Church are optimistic their new pastor, Jeff Geenen, will continue the legacy of his predecessor, Sue Bannan, who died in January.

“Sue’s outreach was to help the homeless and (those with) low income,” Signor said. “I feel the new pastor will help expand Sue’s vision.”

“He wants to open the shop more and get more people to volunteer,” Warner said. “He visited and helped me bring out stuff (for the store) to find out how much work it is. We’re going to stay open and provide for the community.”

Geenen was licensed for the ministry through the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

“Right now, the church is in a state of transition,” Geenen said. “I believe that what we can do is to expand the tradition of the ministry. It’s been a mission-minded church and we want to continue with that vision.”

In taking over the church, Geenen found himself in a situation similar to when he took over the North Port Foursquare church, which he took over when the pastor moved away. A Port Charlotte resident, Geenen will continue to run the North Port church as he gets acclimated to the Englewood church.

“I felt the Lord had called me to that and I talked to the powers that be,” Geenen said. “I talk to Sue’s husband, Gary (Bannan) and we’re coming together.”

Joining Geenen at Englewood Foursquare is Ginjah Gardner, a minister who will be a worship leader. Gardner’s known Geenen and his wife for more than eight years and worked with Geenen at the North Port church.

“I met them at Messianic Synagogue where we’re both members,” Gardner said. “(Geenen) was ordained as an elder there.”

Gardner said there is more work to be done in order for the Englewood church to reach its potential.

“We need to change the way things are to focus on individual gifts and expand on them,” she said. “I’m delighted to work with Jeff. We work really well together. He loves people.”

Signor said Geenen would like to get more people involved.

“He wants to build up the church,” Signor said. “He would like to get young families in with children.”

Warner said Foursquare Church sells donated items like clothing, accessories, food and other items. The church acquires an assortment of food donations from other churches like St. David’s Episcopal Church, Community Presbyterian Church and Englewood United Methodist Church. Publix donates baked goods. EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary donates items they can’t sell and pet food.

“Everyone has the spirit of commitment, the spirit to carry on the mission to love the homeless, to feed the homeless and provide needs through the blessing shop,” Geenen said. “Outreach efforts will increase. My philosophy is; God gives churches, leaders, pastors, or whatever, resources. He’ll provide financial and human resources, but they’re God’s resources. I just see an opportunity where the Englewood Foursquare does a great job, maybe out of necessity, getting a community of believers, whatever denomination you are.”

For more information about Englewood Foursquare Church, call 941-475-7161.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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