Bruce Merton was born on March 26, 1949. He arrived as a 10 pound bundle of joy at
General Hospital in Hackensack, New Jersey. His mother and father, Joy and Harry,
made a very conscious decision to start a family and, in Bruce’s words, “as God would
have it, I was fortunate enough to be the first born of four natural children.”He
was followed over the next few years by Scott, Kathi and Victoria. Bruce's parents
also adopted Bruce's first cousins, Bob and Mark, whose parents, Bruce’s Aunt Ellen
and Uncle David, died from complications of alcohol related liver disease. The Merton
family was a solid and usually happy family although they lived in fairly cramped
quarters and had a very modest income. Bruce shared a bedroom with three brothers
all the way through high school. At night, mattresses would be pulled out from under
the beds at the far borders of the bedroom and it became a room of “wall to wall”
boys in bed!
Bruce’s mother stayed at home and was the “General of the house.” His father, when
he was healthy, was in the construction business. Bruce learned much about “fixing
things” from his father. He learned much about God from his mother. He learned
a huge amount about loving others and always standing up for what he believed in
from both parents.
Bruce had the opportunity to learn and grow in a number of excellent institutions
of education. Nova High School in Davie, Florida, was the first “advance as fast
as you can” school in the nation. By the time Bruce finished high school, he already
had enough credits to meet the requirements of his freshman year in college. Emory
University in Decatur, Georgia, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida,
Lexington Theological Seminary, The University of Kentucky and Albert Chandler Medical
Center and Teaching Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky rounded out the “institutional
education” he received. After all that education he was allowed to use the terms
Reverend and Doctor before his name. Still he says, “the best and greatest learnings
I ever made were and are rooted in home, family, friends and life experience.”
Bruce and Jill were married on November 24, 1989 and they started the ongoing process
of relating to and loving a “merged” family. Their children, in order of oldest
to youngest are Bruce, Barbara, Bryan and Brent. The “three boys” are now married
to beautiful and unique ladies named, respectively, Karen, Michelle and Amie. Barbara
is a single parent. Bruce and Karen are the parents of Nathan and Trent, grandchildren
numbers one and three. Barbara is parent to grandchild number two, Emily. Bryan
and Michelle are the parents of Marley and Reid, grandchildren five and six. Brent
and Amie are the parents of Kinsley and Paisley, grandchildren numbers four and seven.
In addition to being a very caring, supportive and loving mother and grandmother,
Jill has been a major factor in the growth, development and support of Bruce’s ministry.
Her involvement has been obvious. Even more so, it is often behind the scenes,
non-visible, but always encouraging.
Bruce has pastored nine different churches including full and part-time positions.
The churches are Millville Christian Church in Millville, Kentucky, Albany Christian
Church in Albany, Kentucky, First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Kentucky, Riverside
Christian Church and Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Morningside
United Church of Christ in Orange Park, Florida, Fort Myers Christian Church, Cypress
Lake Presbyterian Church and Peace Community Church in Fort Myers, Florida.
In addition to his calling as a pastor, Bruce has performed significant mission work
with Habitat for Humanity, Lee County Housing Development, the American Red Cross,
and various ministerial associations. He has also provided national leadership in
the International Council of Community Churches.
Bruce officially retired as Pastor of Peace Community Church on April 5, 2015. After
a time away, he will return to Peace Community Church as Pastor Emeritus.