The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) has named Mark G. Van Dorn, lead pastor of Florida Faith Church, a multicultural community “Living Faith For Real People,” as the first Chaplain ever appointed by organization. The ISHOF Board of Directors and the City of Fort Lauderdale approved the relationship in a formal document on April 4th, the day before the official groundbreaking for the renovation of the Aquatic Center.
“ISHOF’s mission stresses the importance of sharing cultures, which naturally extends to the support of all beliefs and faiths,” said Brent Rutemiller, ISHOF CEO.
“This is a huge global statement for the world of sports,” said VanDorn, noting that the move acknowledges the importance of the athlete’s mind, heart, body and soul. “As ISHOF’s Chaplin, we will serve a diversity of beliefs through a multi-faith chaplaincy and its relationship to numerous religious life affiliates. I am very pleased to be able to help with the spiritual needs of all the great people that come to ISHOF and the aquatic center from all parts of the world,” he said.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. (ISHOF), established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale. Recognized by FINA in 1968 as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”, its primary goal is to preserve the history of swimming, celebrate the heroes, promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety.
“The City of Fort Lauderdale has made a huge investment into the ISHOF facility and is building a chapel there where we will be addressing all faiths,” VanDorn said. “It will also include a conference center and banquet facility.”
While Florida Faith Church formerly met at the ISHOF, the congregation is temporarily meeting at The Church by The Sea, located at 2700 Mayan Dr., Fort Lauderdale, during renovations. He plans to return to the Swimming Hall of Fame location upon completion.
A father, family man, friend and extreme sports enthusiast, VanDorn was born in New Jersey, but he and his wife Olga have been an integral part of the South Florida community for over 19 years. Mark spent a large part of his life living between Denver, Colorado, and Madrid, Spain, and his wife is from Caceres, Spain. He can often be found kayaking, scuba diving or surfing.
Mark spent the first 40-years of his life focused on education, business, language and culture, earning degrees including a Masters of Business Administration and a Doctorate in Business Administration. In 2013, Mark received his Master of Divinity degree. He has held executive and administrative positions with state universities and within private and public business enterprise. Mark’s wife, Olga is a journalist for NBC Telemundo. Mark and Olga have a beautiful 6 year old daughter, Gloria who is the light of their lives.
In 2018, ISHOF merged with Sports Publications Inc, the media group behind Swimming World website and magazine, to expand its reach and impact. You can show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.