Open Arms Christian Fellowship Church History
Under the guidance of Pastor Leofric W. Thomas, Sr., thirty-three persons met in the music suite of the Abyssinia Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida on April 13, 1999, to formulate the beginning of the Open Arms Christian Fellowship Church of Jacksonville, Fl.
The first worship experience was held on Sunday, April 18, 1999, at the Paxon middle School. On that day, 347 persons became part of what God was doing through Pastor Thomas and his wife Sandy called Open Arms Christian Fellowship. Open Arms worshipped in Paxon Middle School from April 1999 to September 2000. In October 2000, the church relocated to the William M. Raines High School to accommodate the growth and progress of the ministry.
Increasing by numbers, the congregation grew to 650 disciples. Open Arms remained at the Raines high school until June of 2001, when the church purchased the former First Baptist Church of Garden City on Dunn Avenue. The congregation held its first worship encounter on July 15, 2001.
Since arriving on Dunn Avenue, Open Arms has grown to over 1,500 disciples. Several outreach ministries have been established as well as various community activities to facilitate God’s work for this ministry. Open Arms recently moved into its new ministry facility, which seats 1,000 persons. It also houses a music suite, state of the art recording studio, administrative suite, and several classrooms.