Jacksonville is in a time of many new things. We have a new mayor and we are in a new season with schools starting for a new year, new expectations for the Jaguars, and a big victory for the Sharks (arena football). But it wasn’t always that way. 500 years ago a band of pilgrims, the Huguenots, landed on the banks of a river they called the River May. They called it that because the date of their landing was May 1st, 1564.
I can identify with the idea of being a newcomer, although my coming to Jacksonville was 500 years after the Huguenots. Although we are separated by centuries I think there are some things which are strangely similar. In Cape Town, South Africa, we also celebrate the coming of a band of pilgrims looking for religious freedom. Yes, they were the Huguenots – Christians which fled from France to find a new life with freedom to worship God. It is interesting then that I now find myself in Jacksonville, another city which owes its beginnings to the same group of pioneers. As they came with a heart to worship God and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in a similar way, I too have come to Jacksonville to share that same gospel and bring about the same desire – a freedom to worship God and a passion to communicate the gospel.
For that reason, Suzanne and I formed First Coast Christian Outreach. Our vision is to “Serve the community and transform lives.”
That river May is now The St. John’s River. Times have changed, but the dream remains.