As Walt Disney announced the opening of Walt Disney World in 1964, the transformation that Orlando would soon undergo was beyond anyone’s imagination. By 1968, construction began and people from all over the nation were coming to Orlando seeking to be a part of this modern “gold rush”. It did not take long for families to realize their expectations were not realistic and the number of new Central Floridians on the brink of poverty began to skyrocket. Orlando’s downtown churches recognized a growing need to help provide assistance to the low-income and underserved residents of the community, a need greater than each of the churches could facilitate individually.
Collaboration was determined to be the most effective way to serve the growing needs of this burgeoning population of newcomers to Central Florida. As a combined effort from [the former Orange County Association of Churches] First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, First United Methodist Church of Orlando, Cathedral Church of St. Luke, St. James Cathedral and Trinity Lutheran Church, the Christian Service Center for Central Florida, Inc. was established on June 1, 1971 to provide direct assistance for individuals and families facing critical need.
For 40 years, the Christian Service Center has provided the hurting of Central Florida with various programs designed to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs, regardless of race, religion or gender. Millions of men, women and children have been served from the Center’s three locations in Downtown Orlando, West Orange County and Winter Park. Today, one of Central Florida’s oldest interdenominational ministries, the Christian Service Center maintains its distinguished reputation for impacting lives, thanks to its strong base of community partners including over 7,000 local businesses, civic organizations, foundations and individuals and over 250 Central Florida churches.
Compelled by the love of Jesus Christ, the Christian Service Center seeks to mobilize the Central Florida community under one common mission to eradicate poverty through the provision of services and resources that foster hope, well-being and empowerment. The work of the Christian Service Center and those serving on its behalf shall be a living testament to Christ’s example – clothed in compassion, humility and servanthood; radiating grace, hope, love and above all, bringing glory to God.
To prevent homelessness, combat poverty, cultivate self-sufficiency, restore hope and glorify God through the faithful provision of services that directly address physical, emotional and spiritual needs for families and individuals who are struggling in Central Florida.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” –Matthew 25:40