By Michael Smith

Lakewood Community Church of God is holding services at its newly constructed facility at 1628 Lakewood Dr. in Brandon.

The church’s well-attended grand opening after its service on Sunday, September 17, featured fellowship, fun, games and food.

Bishop Degrando Franks Jr. and First Lady Cathy Franks, who have lived in the area for 19 years, started Lakewood Community Church of God in 2015.

“We are a very loving organization, we’re very diverse,” Bishop Franks said. “There is a place for everyone to fit in and to be able to serve in ministry.”

Bishop Franks, a third-generation Church of God minister, previously served as Lead Pastor at North Metropolitan Church of God in Longwood since 2009. He also was Lead Pastor of International Harvest Center Church of God in Tampa for 12 years.

Dr. Franks is President and Founder of Tampa-based COPE Inc. (Community Organization to Promote Empowerment). COPE has provided more than one million hot meals in a 10-year period and partners with other nonprofits in disaster relief throughout the state. COPE assists area residents with credit counseling, debt consolidation and free income tax preparation. The National Football League awarded Bishop Franks and COPE the Hometown Hero distinction in 2002. COPE also received a High Impact Award from Somebody Cares Tampa Bay as ‘Most Compassionate’ in 2004.

Bishop Franks has served as a board member of Tampa Bay Area Faith Based Alliance, Compassion Worldwide, Women’s Aglow and served as Chaplain of Tampa Fire Rescue for many years.

Lakewood Community Church of God, located next to Lakewood Park, meets on Sunday mornings at 10:30 and Wednesday nights from 7-8:30. The church offers ministries for the entire family, including small groups, men, women, young couples, singles, youth/students, children and toddlers.

For more information about Lakewood Community Church of God, call 643-6637 or email

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