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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Austin HornbostelChildren and their families gather under the shelter house to watch a puppet show Saturday afternoon at Proctor Park as part of Abundant Life United Pentecostal Church’s community festival. The congregation is new to the community, having hosted its first service Sunday evening at the Moniteau County Library.

California now has a new church congregation option for the community to attend on the weekends.

Pastor Scott Breedlove and his family have established Abundant Life United Pentecostal Church in California, and kicked off their arrival by hosting a community festival welcoming members Saturday, July 24. Abundant Life UPC held its first service Sunday.

As a part of the Pentecostal faith, Breedlove said he is ready to bring his church to California. He said his faith was very important to him during his younger years and played a big role in shaping him into the person he has become today.

"I got to church when I was a senior during my last year of college in 1992," Breedlove said. "I actually came out of the drug world and into recovery through a faith-based church organization. I got the call to preach pretty much right away and studied under a pastor, then became a pastor and got my license as a minister."

Eventually, Breedlove started a church of his own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he would preach for eight years. He said he felt a call that would lead him to move to Jefferson City and establish Landmark Church there.

Breedlove said his church's denomination in the state of Missouri is divided into 11 different sections. After a 15-year career as a pastor at Landmark Church, Breedlove explained that he was elected to become presbyter of his congregation, which allowed him to oversee and create new churches in the local area.

"This is mid-Missouri and this section is called 'Section Nine,'" Breedlove said. "I oversee 11 churches currently and we cover 17 counties. When I looked at our map I found that nine of the 17 that I'm over don't have a church of our domination. We have a plan to try to start a church in every county over the next nine years, each year. I identified the counties, made a priority list, and California was our top number one."

Part of bringing the congregation to town was hosting the community festival in Proctor Park Saturday afternoon, in order to celebrate the church's establishment in California. The festival included a free lunch, a bounce house and puppet show for children, unlimited funnel cake, games, and gift cards that were awarded to attendees throughout the event.

Like his church in Jefferson City, Breedlove said this new church will be dedicated to helping the community. He said he hopes the church will be a blessing as the congregation establishes ministries related to food banks, clothing shelters and recovery programs. While he had been told that there was already a good number of churches in California, Breedlove said he believes that Abundant Life UPC will offer a unique experience that people will connect with.

"I don't want to take all the credit," Breedlove said. "This is an effort of several churches — there's five churches that are helping to plant this church. With that in mind, we are here to be a blessing."

Abundant Life UPC's services take place every Sunday at 5 p.m. in the upper level of the Moniteau County Library.

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