Community Church - A body of Christian believers dedicated to bringing individuals into fellowship with God and serving a world in need.
Sometime during the 1930's, a hurricane demolished the three churches (Methodist, Baptist, and Catholic) in Santa Rosa Beach. People started meeting for worship in homes and public buildings. In the late 1940's, groups were congealing, and the congregation which was to become The Community Church was meeting in a small building on what is now County Road 393 and Morrell Road. Visiting clergy ministered to the people.
On May 31, 1948, the deed was signed to a parcel on land donated to The Community Church by Gamble and Letitia Williams and construction on a church building was begun. All the work was done by volunteers, with no blueprints. They made their own cement blocks. The first worship service was held on October 8, 1950.
Additions to the building were made in 1956, 1984 and 1987. The first addition expanded eastward to allow space for Sunday School rooms and a rest room. The second expansion extended westward to enlarge the nave. The third expansion again extended eastward and added offices and a fellowship hall.
The original plot of land was extended southward early in the life of the church by purchase of land from the Williams family. Other land acquisitions were made in 1990, 1991, and 1992.
Pastor Thorvald Johnson, a Swedish Baptist, was the first full-time pastor of The Community Church. He served from 1958 until his death in 1982. Dr. Bob Edgar, a United Church of Christ minister, began his pastorate in the spring of 1982. His wife, Nancy Drake, had inherited the family house here from her parents who were early members of The Community Church.
Because of failing health, Dr. Edgar resigned at the end of 1985. Chaplain Robert Hendricks began preaching at The Community Church at the beginning of 1986. Because of the need for a pastor here, he retired from the Air Force a few months ahead of schedule, and answered the call from The Community Church in April. Pastor Hendricks is a United Methodist minister whose home was Jay, Florida, in Santa Rosa County. His wife, Barbara Ann Rodgers, was from Montgomery County in Alabama.
In the spring of 1991, Don Ullrich, another retired Air Force Chaplain, was hired as Associate Pastor. Pastor Ullrich was from New Jersey and his wife, Beverly McFadden, was from Wisconsin. He is a United Church of Christ minister.
Groundbreaking for the present church building and expanded facilities was on June 28th, 1998, and the church was consecrated on October 3, 1999. The original church has been retained as a chapel for use in weddings, funerals, and small worship services.
In late 2002, Pastor Hendricks retired for health reasons. Pastor Ullrich, although also ready to retire, stayed on to minister to our church family while we sought a new pastor for our flock.
On October 5, 2003, we welcomed J. Pete
Hyde as our new pastor and shepherd. Pete is a United Methodist minister from Oklahoma. His wife, Kay Standefer, is also from Oklahoma. Pete and Kay have two children, Matt, a graduate of Northeastern University in Oklahoma, and Kelli--a freshman at Okaloosa-Walton College. Under Pastor Pete's guidance and the leadership of our Board of Deacons, we continue to reach out to our community and God's children as our Mission Statement indicates.