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Seminole Presbyterian Launches Concert Series

The congregation hopes to deepen ties with its original neighborhood, Old Seminole Heights, by hosting classical music performances.

So how can a church that's currently between permanent homes get more reaquainted with its former neighborhood?

Try classical music.

The Seminole Presbyterian Church will present its first Friday, 7 p.m., at , 5103 N Central Ave., with a free concert of Bach cello suites performed by Grace Juliano.

That's right - Seminole Presbyterian is currently "A church within a church," as senior pastor John Keen put it, taking up residence at St. Paul Lutheran across from Hillsborough High School.

"It's kind of like a homecoming," Keen said of Seminole Presbyterian's 2009 move from its former campus at 6101 N Habana Ave., back to Old Seminole Heights. The congregation began life in the neighborhood at a private home on Branch Avenue in 1913. By 1919 it had its own building on the corner of Florida and Comanche avenues.

In 1960 the congregation left Seminole Heights for its new Habana campus, and in 1967 established the Seminole Presbyterian School. In 2000 the school broke away from the church, and eventually changed its name to Cambridge Christian School.

In 2009 the church left the campus to take up residence at St. Paul, and is currently negotiating to sell its portion of the Habana property to Cambridge, according to Keen.

Keen said renting from St. Paul has proven to be a good fit for now for his congregation. “They've been very gracious to open their doors up to us,” said Keen.

The Fine Arts Series is meant to be gesture of reaquaitance as the congregation gradually settles back in to the neighborhood. "'We're kind of new to the community again," Keen said. "This is one of those things like, alright, let's get to know our neighborhood. Our church has a desire to reach out to the fine arts community. We understand there's a high concentration of USF professors living in this area, and generally there's a population here that we feel appreciates classical music."

Keen said he hopes community response to the Fine Arts Series will warrant quarterly shows in the near term, and possibly monthly shows later.

The performance is free, but Keen said donations will be accepted Friday night to help defray the event's cost.

Jacquelyn Toenes January 19, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Important Correction: The concert will be on FRIDAY night (not Saturday as reported). We look forward to seeing everyone on Friday, January 20 at 7:00 PM.
Michael Canning January 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Thanks, Jacquelyn. We made the correction.

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