Church History and Organization
The congregation traces its roots to Faith Mission, founded in Tampa in 1923 by Cora and Fred Markert.
For a Video (1-hour) of The Story of Faith Mission,
In 1928, Faith Mission moved to Crystal Beach with about twenty-eight children. The orphanage was housed in the former three-story Blue Heron Hotel that stood on the north side of Live Oak Park, adjacent to the pier.
In 1937, the Markert's son, Earle, drew plans for a church building they called the Tabernacle. The structure we now use as our sanctuary was completed in 1947. The building was used as an assembly hall and for Sunday afternoon services led by visiting ministers.
Rev. C. W. A. Bredemeier, married to Margaret Markert, daughter of the founders of Faith Mission, became the first pastor in 1958. When various denominations could not form a consensus, a decision was made to become a “Community Church” affiliated with the International Council of Community Churches. Our present church, the Crystal Beach Community Church, was founded in 1957. Faith Mission deeded the property to the Church in 1964.
Rev. Bredemeier served for seventeen years, during which time the congregation developed into a flourishing fellowship. He retired in June 1975.
Rev. Alvin Parker became the second pastor in 1975. A parsonage was purchased during his tenure, and a fellowship hall, Sunday school rooms, and a church office were added to the original building. Rev. Parker also served with dedication for seventeen years.
Rev. James Whitehurst arrived to serve as pastor in June of 1991. During his tenure, the Membership and Evangelism committees welcomed over sixty new members to the congregation. The Men’s Club improved the grounds and landscaping, and a new youth group was formed.
Pastor Paul Stake came to serve as interim pastor in August 1998, when Rev. Whitehurst retired. We were blessed when Dr. Stake accepted our warm invitation to become our permanent pastor. He was installed on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 1999 and served ably until 2002. On April 12, 2009, Rev. Dr. Paul Stake spoke at the dedication service for our new Family Learning Center. His presentation contains a very interesting and personal view of our history. You may read it by clicking here.
Rev. James Bradley arrived to serve as pastor in June of 2002. The congregation experienced significant growth, particularly with regard to young families under his leadership. The church music program was expanded to include both adult and children choirs under Judy Bradley’s direction. Many facility updates were also made and the congregation has continued to grow, adding 139 new members. Rev. Bradley retired in the fall of 2007.
The congregation is governed by its members. In annual meetings, the congregation elects the officers of the corporation and the officers of the congregation. These officers form the Executive Board and Church Council respectively. The business of the congregation is transacted in the annual and any specially called meetings. The Church Council is administrative in function and always amenable to the congregation.