Religion

Parrish's Harvest Field Church turns 10 with emphasis on Christ and community

PARRISH -- When Harvest Field Community Church was organized 10 years ago, it was something of a "nomad church" for the first year.

The first worship services were held in the open air of the Gamble Plantation pavilion before moving indoors at Blackburn Elementary School followed by a stay at The Gardens 55-plus community.

In 2006, the Rev. Terry Cary got a tip a church building was available for rent at 7710 121st Ave. E., Parrish.

Immediately, Cary and several members of the congregation drove to check on the empty church building.

"Oh my. I felt like Jesus was telling me 'Welcome home,'" Cary said.

The landlord was considering renting the building to a printer but chose the young Harvest Field Community Church congregation. The sanctuary still had all its pews, decorated nursery and fellowship hall, Cary recalled.

The congregation moved in for Easter 2006.

Remembering the nondenominational congregation's challenges in finding a place to worship, associate pastor Bonnie Cary, Terry Cary's wife, said the church wants to share its facility with the community as much as possible.

"We try to make this a community place," she said.

Terry Cary adds: "This is God's house. It's to be used."

It has been used for rehearsals by Parrish Playworks, as a worship place for Back to the Word Church on Saturdays, and by others.

Although small -- the church has a regular attendance of about 35 -- the congregation is engaged and active.

Cary is called frequently to minister to patients at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, and the church is the corporate sponsor for Boy Scout Troop 41.

Food collected by the troop annually is distributed to Parrish families during Christmas and Thanksgiving, with the congregation chipping in to buy hams and turkeys. Most recently, the scouts and the church were able to aid 22 families.

Terry Cary said he wanted to preach ever since childhood, but went into construction work at his father's insistence.

When the Carys and Barbara and Jerry Brady started the church in a little room at the Brady's home, Terry Cary was still working in construction.

The Carys are graduates of the Evangelical Church Alliance. Their work with the church is labor of love. Neither takes a salary or charges for conducting weddings or funerals.

Mike Euga, now chairman of the church board, said he and his wife, Karen, were looking for a church. Karen Euga was specifically looking for a church in need of a keyboardist. In a chance call she made to Keyboards and More where Bonnie Cary worked, Karen Euga learned about Harvest Field.

"It was definitely a divine appointment," Bonnie Cary said, noting the church had lost its keyboardist.

Karen Euga was asked to play at the first worship service she attended at Harvest Field.

The church sign indicates Harvest Field is Bible-based and Christ-centered.

"This is a family oriented church, from little ones we have seen born to older ones getting ready to leave," Bonnie Cary said.

The church name is taken from Matthew 9:37-38: "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'"

Services include 8:45 a.m. Sunday school followed by worship at 10 a.m. Sundays. Information: 941-725-4150 or harvestfieldcc.org.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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