In 1941, the Central Orlando Seventh-day Adventist Church was getting over-crowded, and with the goal of evangelism and of contributing to the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 [And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.], the Florida Conference [of Seventh-day Adventist] asked the Central Orlando congregation for volunteers who would branch out and start a church in Winter Park.
There were 81 such volunteers who initially met in the Winter Park Elementary School. After only a few weeks, the congregation outgrew these accommodations and the infant church moved to the Winter Park Women’s Club, where it remained and flourished until the early 1950’s. In 1952, the Kress Congregation moved into the current location at 746 Formosa Avenue.
Among the members of the Winter Park Church meeting in the Women’s Club were the Drs. Daniel H. and Lauretta Eby Kress, who were pioneers in establishing health centers in England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and America. Shortly after their medical careers had begun, Dr. Dan followed his wife’s leading and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Graduates of the first class of the Medical College of the University of Michigan, Dr. Lauretta ministered to women and children, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynocology. When she retired her in our midst, she had credit to the amazing record of having delivered over 5,000 babies without losing a mother.
Dr. Dan specialized in Internal Medicine, particularly gastrointestinal disorders. The Lord greatly used the two devoted Medical Missionaries; Dr. Dan lived to be 94 and Lauretta to be 92. The members of the Winter Park Church so loved and respected the Drs. Kress that they voted unanimously to name their new Sanctuary the Kress Church while the Drs. were still with them and that it should be known as the Kress Memorial Church after their deaths.
When the Kress Congregation first moved to the current location, only the Sanctuary existed. The congregation has flourished over the years since first meeting in the elementary school, we now enjoy our beautiful Sanctuary, the Sabbath School Wing, Fellowship Hall, the Community Services complex and the Pathfinder facilities – all comprising the Kress Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church. We also have the satisfaction of knowing that we have passed on the torch. The Altamonte Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church was established with 68 members of the Kress Memorial Church, and in 1978, another satellite came into being by the formation of the University Church of Seventh-day Adventist.
Kress got its start by meeting at a school, education, especially Christian education is important to Kress Church. Kress is a constituent member of Orlando Junior Academy. Orlando Junior Academy is a pre-K through 8th grade Seventh-day Adventist school. Kress Church and Florida Hospital Seventh-day Adventist Church are the co-owners of the school, and support it by providing leadership, financial support, and sending our children there.
Kress Church is more than just a congregation. Family and fellowship are important to Kress. We truly are a family