"Holding Forth the Word of Life"
In 1992, under the leadership of Chaplain John Rasberry, the Chapel was presented a bronze plaque by the Town of Melbourne Beach to commemorate listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
of Melbourne Beach
In the Beginning:
The oldest church on the beaches, the Community Chapel of Melbourne Beach, was built in 1892. It has withstood the elements and the changing of the times for over a century.
Life was arduous for these pioneers who settled this rugged peninsula amid scrub, palmettos, wild animals, snakes and mosquitoes. Transportation was by ferry and a barge across the Indian River and handcar on tracks on Ocean Avenue.
A handful of residents who were the initial leaders formed a Sunday School known as the "Melbourne Beach Union Sunday School". Later, the "Union" was deleted. Then it was decided to become permanently non-denominational in order to reach out to all people.
The usual place of worship was in the home of Miss Grace Cummings, which was called "Myrtle Cottage" and was situated just east of the present chapel in what is now our parking lot. It was designated as an Historical Site in 2010.
(Below) Commissioner Infantini and Pastor Secret at the Myrtle Cottage Historical Marker dedication.
The chapel beginnings were not without trauma -
enduring fire, floods, hurricanes and lightning strikes. At the turn of the
century the pace was slow. Church services were still seasonal. The pulpit
was supplied by mainland ministers.
In 1922 the span over the Indian River between Melbourne and Indialantic was completed. That same year the Town of Melbourne Beach was incorporated and electric power was extended to the town.
The hurricane of 1924 struck and undermined the Chapel's foundation. Extensive renovation was required and services did not resume until 1927.
In 1929 the trustees engaged Reverend Walter Lamphear as the first salaried minister. In 1937 a constitution, a charter and petition signed by 43 congregational members was submitted to the Town of Melbourne Beach for incorporation.
Reverend Lamphear was succeeded by Dr. Vincent R. Booth (1939-1943). It was during his ministry in 1942 that major renovations were made to double the seating capacity from 70 to 140 and also increased the size of the chapel. Transepts were added on the east and west sides forming a Latin Cross.
Under the ministry of Chaplain Roy Terry (1982-1988), a retired Air Force Chief of Chaplains, year-round worship services were initiated. Chaplain Terry's dream for the Chapel was to build a Fellowship Hall by the Centennial year of 1992. Although he died in 1988, the Roy Terry Center for Christian Fellowship was dedicated January 10, 1992 on the Chapel's 100th birthday.
Retired Air Force Chaplain John Secret has been serving since July, 2000. In recent years, the Chapel developed a large adjacent lot into a parking lot and completed a major refurbishing of the pews and floors.
Although the Chapel endured the onslaught of the 2004 hurricanes, the Terry Center received major interior damage. The rededication of the totally renovated interior was conducted in September 2005.
With a deep appreciation for its tradition and history, a strong vision for the future continues in fulfilling our mission as "The Caring Christ-centered Chapel".