Lake County pastor to try for Guinness World Record

The Rev. Zach Zehnder to attempt to break longest speech record


MOUNT DORA, Fla. – A Mount Dora pastor is attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest speech.

The Rev. Zach Zehnder of The Cross Church is planning to preach for 50 hours straight. Pastor Zehnder will begin his shot at the record at 7 a.m. Friday and must speak until at least 7:32 a.m. Sunday to break the current record which is 48 hours and 31 minutes.

"I'm excited to do it and I'm excited to get it over with too," said Zehnder, laughing, while setting things up at his church Thursday.

Zehnder decided to go for the record a year ago and has since garnered support from more than 200 people from his church and the Lake County community. Many of them will support him by sitting in for a period of time over the weekend and others have been recruited to help meet Guinness' requirements.

"We actually have to have two independent witnesses at all times. These are people that aren't connected to the church which is actually a really hard sell, to go to someone that you're not too connected with, and ask them to sit for four hours at 3 a.m.," said Zehnder.

Zehnder has also found a way to add purpose to his mission by turning this quest into a fundraiser for a new charity in Lake County called Hand in Hand. So far, they've raised nearly $72,000 of their $100,000 goal. With that help, Hand in Hand was able to open up it's first recovery house, a home built by Habitat for Humanity in Eustis just a few weeks ago.

"We just purchased this house. We've had ownership for about 3 weeks now. We had our grand opening a week ago, moved in our first resident the day after and took our second resident just yesterday," said David Douglas, the executive director of Hand in Hand.

The Powerhouse Recovery home is for men looking for help breaking addiction and for assistance getting their lives back on the right track.

People sitting in on the longest speech this weekend are pledging money to the organization. Zehnder says he's doing things to make sure it's a fun event.

"We're going to get some squirt guns that I'll have and they'll have some. If I'm falling asleep they can squirt me, if they're falling asleep I can squirt them. We're going to keep this fun," said Zehnder.

The entire event is being live streamed online at www.longestspeechever.com. You can go there to see how Zehnder's doing and donate to the cause.