When Palm Coast United Methodist Church (PCUMC) opens its new campus worship center, it will be the fruition of years of planning. And while many church members will feel a great sense of pride, Larry Torino, chairman of the New Campus Planning Committee, will see firsthand the impact he’s made on the church and in the community.
The address of the new church will be named “One Torino Drive” in Torino’s honor.
When PCUMC purchased 22 acres of land in 1999, the plan was to build a new campus. After the initial phase of construction was completed in 2012, the second phase, which included a new worship center, was put on hold. Larry’s strategy to sell parcels of the Church’s land to fund building the new campus resulted in $3,000,000 in property sales. A critical element in enabling the Church to move forward.
Torino, who is the senior urban designer for Flagler Beach, said seeing the “complete void of neighborhood and local community level goods and services” made the land sales a good choice.
“We recognized the availability of land that would otherwise serve no practical purpose as a source to generate and contribute a windfall of funds,” for the new building, Torino said.
Because of Torino, the 25,500-square-foot campus, which was paused for nearly a decade, is scheduled to open this fall.
Beverly Patrick and her husband, Gordon, had the idea to name the street after Torino. She said once Larry became chair of the planning committee, things started moving again.
“He had the knowledge, expertise, fortitude and faith to work through and around obstacles,” she said. “As Gordon and I were discussing the new church at home one evening Gordon said the road leading into the new church should be named after Larry. I immediately said yes.”
They approached PCUMC member Howard Holley. He said, “I received an email from the Patricks suggesting that it would be appropriate to name the street after Larry Torino – Torino Drive. She felt that the new campus would still be a dream, a concept, a vision had it not been for Larry. I didn’t have the background or understand the church’s history as she did but based on what I knew then, and now, I completely agreed.” Holley led the effort to secure the necessary approvals and the support of Flagler Health+ to make the new street name a reality.
Rev. Dr. Kevin James, who has been pastor of PCUMC since 2012, said Torino is one of many members who is passionate about the church. The members are “like kids on Christmas morning, waiting with tippy-toe anticipation for the new church.”
“Truly like countless members at PCUMC, Larry has demonstrated his faith commitment to Christ, his passion for Christ’s church and His people. He is well deserving of this honor we are bestowing upon him and his lovely bride, Dianne. And it’s also extended beyond Larry to the people who have been faithful through this process.”
Torino said Pastor James has been a big inspiration for his involvement at PCUMC, and that he and his wife are thankful to be members.
“PCUMC has become a part of my life I never envisioned. As to leading the new campus effort, I look back and see how past working experiences all have contributed to what has evolved in this journey. Most certainly, never did I give thought to serving in the capacity that I find myself.”