When he came to First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood in 2006, a reporter asked Pastor Kennedy McGowan his thoughts and perspective. He responded, “I’m very excited and intend to do more outreach to the residents and businesspeople in the city.” He has stayed true to his intent and today is either personally active or has enlisted church members to participate in many local organizations across Hollywood and Broward County.
His reach has been wide and extended overseas to Haiti with “Hollywood Cares,” a remarkable collaborative Ministry with Temple Beth El that supported an orphanage for girls with HIV. The girls are now grown, but Hollywood Cares continues assisting them with higher education needs.
For the better part of 20 years, Pastor Kennedy has been actively leading and growing the Church, its Learning Centers and Ministries. In the cover photo, Pastor Kennedy (from left to right) appears with Fatima Marin, Executive Director of the Church’s Hollywood Learning Centers; Alba Adiles, Director of the Learning Center at St. James; Rebecca Ortiz, Director of the Learning Center Downtown; and Jacqueline Carbonell, Director of the Early Learning Center.
Pastor Kennedy and Marin, worked closely together, with the full support of the Church Elders and governance, to successfully persevere through the COVID pandemic, maintaining all employees, providing on-line education to every student, and assisting parents if a special situation arose.
The resolute teachers and administrators were able to create a secure, properly distanced, outdoor, in-person graduation ceremony for each class and student.
Over the last several years, the strength of management combined with professionalism and dedication of the entire learning center team has been instrumental in the overall growth of the Church’s Hollywood Learning Centers and has allowed the school to successfully grow and create additional campuses.
Everyone is always “Invited, Welcomed and Loved” at First Presbyterian. The church guided by Pastor Kennedy continues to grow its Community Outreach and Family Ministries. Yezi Williams is the Director of Community Outreach and her husband Daniel Williams, the Director of Family Ministries.
The Williams family plays an essential, expanding and collaborative role in developing learning programs for children and adults as well as providing activities and programs for children, families, couples, individuals, young and old alike.
First Presbyterian is expanding its calendar of events and community activities, including the planning of its 100th Anniversary celebration in 2025. Teaming up with Pastor Kennedy and the Williams’, First Presbyterian Facilities Manager, Bob Roddy has been actively working to enhance the campus and upgrade the facility as required to accommodate the expanded variety of activities planned.
Last year, Pastor Kennedy in coordination with the Williams’ launched “Parties at First”, a continuing monthly series of Friday night dinner events on the church patio. Events are scheduled for the beginning of each month starting in the fall and continuing into the spring.
“Parties at First” events are designed for the entire family and include food, beverages, and chaperoned activities such as pajama parties for kids and a truly enjoyable evening for adults complete with a wonderfully planned menu, fine cuisine and an open bar with specialty cocktails, beer and wine.
“You are invited to be our GUEST and join us for “Parties at First” events. Reservations are requested. This is First Presbyterian’s way of saying THANK YOU for being our neighbor.” We know you will enjoy the evening and we look forward to seeing you!