New joint worship center in Ocala to house Temple Beth Shalom, First United Church of Christ

A new joint worship center will house congregations from Temple Beth Shalom and First United Church of Christ in a project being spurred on by Circle Square Foundation.

The announcement came from Ken Colen, CEO of On Top of The World (OTOW), during a recent exCEPtional Morning meeting of the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership. Colen indicated that both organizations had recently reached out about needing a new space.

“Temple Beth Shalom is in need of new space. First United Church of Christ came to me and said, we need space,” said Colen. He suggested that after some thought, he and the Rev. Dr. Harold “Hal” McSwain came to the same conclusion that a joint worship center might work.

The organizations agreed that a shared space would equate to cost savings in the form of shared office staff, parking and social space, among others.

The new facility will be funded by the Circle Square Foundation, the charitable extension of On Top of the World (OTOW), and will be located in the OTOW community.

“On Top of the World is donating the land. Circle Square foundation is funding the building and allowing the faith community to be lessees within that space,” said Colen.

Colen says they expect the organizations to acquire the building within the next “7 to 10 years.” He praised the joint worship center and what it could mean for the community.

“Ultimately, it promotes empowerment and understanding,” said Colen.

No completion date for the project was announced. Check back on in the coming months for updates.