Voleer Thomas | For The Guardian
The founding of PASSAGE Family Church was the result of a vision inspired by the Holy Spirit to gather, teach and lead others to Christ and make disciples locally and globally
Co-founded by Pastor George B. Dix Jr and his wife, Lady Michele Dix, the church at 2020 NE 15th St. celebrated its 20th anniversary during Sunday morning worship service.
The church held its first service on March 3, 2002, at the Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel and Conference Center in northwest Gainesville.
Approximately 50 friends and family members attended the first service that led to 12 people deciding to partner with the church, and after nine months of active ministry and service to the Gainesville community, PASSAGE purchased its existing 700-seat sanctuary and education center.
During the celebration service Sunday morning, Pastor Shelia Baker-Bell welcomed the congregation and Minister Evette Hutchinson read a proclamation from Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe declaring March 13 “PASSAGE Family Church Day.”
The reading of the proclamation was followed by the lighting of a memorial candle- to honor the memory of the late Elder George B. Dix Sr. The candle was lit by Gerald and Cassie Chism, who are the son-in-law and daughter of George B. Dix Sr.
Dix Jr. said he prayed to have people with like minds join his mission.
“I asked, ‘Please surround me with with people with talents and an anointing on their lives,’” Dix said. “This work is from the Holy Spirit and those who have helped us.”
His wife said being a pastor’s wife was not what she expected but it is a role she loves and has embraced.
“I said to myself I’d be like the ladies in my past,” she said. “The Lord said, ‘All I ask of you is to be yourself.’ The Lord has given him (her husband) a massive vision and he could not have done it without each and every one of you.”
The service also included remarks from Praize 107.5 Operations Manager Latecia Richards and Temple of Praise and Restoration Outreach Center Pastor Dr. David E. Richardson II.
Terry Robinson Sr. was the keynote speaker of the celebration and was introduced by his wife Dr. Shari Robinson.
The couple traveled from Dover, New Hampshire, to celebrate the occasion with PASSAGE, which was their home church when they lived in Gainesville.
“You see the public face, but when the doors were closed they connected with us,” Shari Robinson said about the founders of the church. “You are our spiritual parents. We have forever been changed with your leadership.”
The subject of Terry Robinson’s sermon was “Walking in the Spirit, Stepping Into True worship.”
Robinson said he became a Christian in 1980 while serving in the United States Army in Nuremberg, Germany.
“The Holy Ghost is my counselor,” Robinson said. “When I went through a spiritual transformation, it felt like I was losing my mind.”
Robinson said he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, had an aneurysm in his heart, and suffered prostate problems, and got through those trying times by having absolute faith in God.
“When I went through surgery, he (God) was taking things out that I don’t need and what was harming me.” Robinson said.
He told parishioners to have faith in God fully regardless of difficult circumstances.
“The greatest peace you can have is the peace you have with God,” Robinson said. “Open up your heart to know who the Holy Spirit is.”