At the end of a gently winding, wooded dirt road sits a quiet church of about 50 active parishioners. Unless you stumble upon it, you might not even know it exists. But like Dot and Frank Bibber, once you do, you probably won't ever leave.
Eight years ago, the Bibbers took a leisurely drive out to Campground Road in North Brooksville and discovered the little nondenominational church, with its old-fashioned looking exterior and cozy detached hall.
Dot had read about the little church in a newspaper article and the two were curious.
Frank is now the church board president and Dot is the treasurer.
The church has had its challenges. The former pastor suffered a stroke a year ago, which prompted the parishioners to search for a temporary replacement. They found Pastor Ward L. Hall, a boisterous, approachable and friendly traditional pastor who was also looking for a new mission.
Hall had a strong resume and is still active as a volunteer chaplain for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
"I came to pastor the church for two weeks," Hall remembered, while the previous pastor recovered. His one-year anniversary will be celebrated on Nov. 4.
Faith Fellowship is a family church, following a traditional service that centers on contemporary gospel with old-fashioned organ, piano and guitar music. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m., with service at 11 a.m.
The service usually runs about an hour and a half, Hall said, depending on "how anointed I am." Wednesday service begins at 7 p.m.
The church maintains its traditional format, what some younger people may find boring, Hall said. But the atmosphere is centered on delivering the Gospel in an environment that is inspired by the old teachings.
The entire congregation gets involved with the service, making it a true partnership between the pastor and his parishioners.
The Bibbers believe the church was particularly blessed when Pastor Hall came to the pulpit.
"He has really made the difference," Frank said.
Hall's passion comes from a deep belief in the miracles of serving God. He narrates several moments in his life when he witnessed personal miracles that have kept him here for almost 70 years.
In 2004, he suffered a horrific fall while trimming branches that obstructed the view of his church's sign.
A compound fracture with 8 inches of bone loss had his orthopedic surgeon fearing amputation was the only option.
"I requested that he save my leg," Hall remembered. "I told him 'I know God can grow bone where there is no bone and flesh where there is no flesh, so please try to save my leg.'"
The surgeon, impressed by Hall's faith, told him he would try but could make no promises.
"After five major operations and five days in intensive care, at least a year and three-fourths under God's blessing and my dear wife's loving-care, I am walking and testifying and faithfully serving our precious Heavenly Father." Hall said.
Hall also suffered a heart attack in 2011 and underwent open heart surgery.
"They found I had a leaking aortic valve and I was born with a heart defect," he said.
"I should have died before age 50."
Other challenges have certainly defined this man. And he credits the partnership he shares with his wife for much of his good fortune.
He and Thelma have been married for 48 years.
"She is my rock," he said.
Together the couple weathered several storms, including losing a child from anorexia at just 32. But their faith has held them together. And they rejoice as a unit at Faith Fellowship.
Other minor issues have plagued his transition into his new journey.
A leaking septic drain-field and the removal of a massive tree that threatened the church structure had to be dealt with. A few interior issues also faced this peace-loving pastor.
"I've been putting out fires as I try to win souls," he chuckled with an endearing smile.
The church has come together and worked bringing their message to as many people as possible.
"We are looking to add a youth pastor to attract younger people," Hall said.
The church also holds Gospel Jams every second Sunday of the month.
They are a creative group. Recently when the county forced them to remove their changeable letter sign from the entrance to their street, the parishioners got together and mounted the sign on a donated boat and trailer.
Perhaps a symbol of survival in changing tides.a safe harbor for spiritual souls.
Faith Fellowship Church is located at 19255 Campground Road; Brooksville.
They can be reached at (352) 796-6589.