Suwannee Democrat

Mayo Free Press

December 27, 2013

Advent Christian Village marks its 100th Anniversary

Live Oak —

As of Dec. 17, Advent Christian Village at Dowling Park crossed the century mark. On that date in 1913, five siblings from North Carolina arrived in Dowling Park following the death of their mother, thus becoming the first residents of what was then called the Advent Christian Home and Orphanage. Soon after, retired pastors, missionaries and their spouses joined them, making ACV the first retirement community in the sunshine state. This rural village has sheltered senior adults and ministered to those in need ever since. 

When any organization or individual reaches 100 years, it calls for a grand celebration. Throughout 2013, ACV has been commemorating its great milestone. There have been dedications, recognitions, and performances. The celebration culminated on Dec. 17, when Advent Christian Village members, current and past employees, and friends from near and far filled  Rumph Dining Room to commemorate the actual anniversary date: Founders’ Day.

Jazz music by Tallahassee’s Yellow Dog Jazz Band set a festive tone and complemented the buffet of traditional southern fare. Green and gold décor (ACV’s colors) adorned tables and walls. Following the meal, current President Craig Carter, past President Jim Humbles, and President Emeritus Pomeroy Carter joined together to weave a narrative explaining how, along with God’s guidance, it took people with a heart for ministry as well as people with generous hearts to establish Advent Christian Village and to sustain it. Fires, floods, the Great Depression, and wars were not enough to defeat the great work being done in Dowling Park.

As do most great parties, this celebration included the cutting of a grand cake. Sheila Gardner and three of her siblings, Rena Cross, Clifford Kastor and Ray Kastor, did the honors. They are the children of Eula Setzer Kastor, one of the original five siblings that came to Dowling Park on that day 100 years ago. Sheila Gardner wrote down some of the things her mother had told her about life at the Home and Orphanage, and her memories were read during the celebration.  Also on display at the event were items that will go into a time capsule. The items show what life is like now at ACV, as well as how the centennial was celebrated. This capsule will be buried in the courtyard in front of Carter Village Hall to be unearthed at another anniversary celebration many years in the future.

Advent Christian Village at Dowling Park is an accredited, comprehensive retirement community located in north-central Florida along the Suwannee River on 1,200 acres of woodlands and scenic landscapes. It features a comprehensive network of social, recreational and health services; and home ownership, rental homes, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care. ACV is Florida’s first retirement community. It is large enough to offer ample opportunities for a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle, and small enough to enjoy the benefits of a hometown atmosphere. With gratitude this unique village now eagerly embarks on its second century of service to senior adults, families with special needs and children.


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