Kanapaha Presbyterian Church: Rooted in History and Relevant for Today


“What’s so important about the continuity of Kanapaha Presbyterian is that it is the mother church for all the other Presbyterian congregations in the region,” Karen commented. “Through thick and thin, we have survived and continue to strive to grow as Christians. And we’re deeply involved in community outreach through Habitat for Humanity and Family Promise, a program that provides food and temporary shelter for the homeless.”

Kanapaha also partners with nearby Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in backpack and shoe giveaway programs, as well as joint hymn singalongs.

The church could be considered progressive in its choice of two female pastors since 1993. The current one, Reverend Dr. Dawn M. Conti, recently earned her doctorate of ministry in preaching. She also conducts a weekly, early morning “Tuesday at Barney’s” Bible study. On September twenty-fifth, Rev. Dr. Conti kicks off a six-week sermon series entitled, “The Road to Abundant Life: The Nuts and Bolts of Living the Christian Life.”

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As part of her deep dedication, Karen helps produce the annual Heart, Home and History Tour, which includes the old church cemetery (the site of the original church), the 1886 sanctuary, and reenactments of Serena Haile reading from her diary. On October 30, 2016, an All Saints Day Cemetery Tour is scheduled, featuring firstperson portrayals by descendants of some of the ancestral dead.

Only half a mile from Haile Plantation, and with its close ties to the Historic Haile Homestead, Kanapaha Presbyterian Church remains a place of reverent worship and community service. It’s a strong thread of local tradition weaving the reminder that faith, hope, and charity transcend the often deleterious effects of time.

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