The Fish Window

At the north wall of the sanctuary of our church, facing the boulevard where passersby can see it, is a multi-colored window displaying the Christian symbols. One memorable weekend in early 1978 during the construction period, several core members of the congregation gathered and took turns, under the guidance of the artist who had outlined the design, in placing bits of the specially-ordered hand-blown colored Blenko glass together to create this unusual window.

Central to the design is the outline of ICHTHUS, the fish, an early symbol signifying the Christian belief. The Greek word stands for I-Jesus; Ch-Christ; T-God; HU-Son; S-Saviour

In the very center of the design is the heavenly blue symbol of the eye of God, who sees all. Seven deeper blue circles within the large one symbolizes the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Long suffering, Gentleness, Goodness and Faith. Above is the descending dove, the most familiar representation of the Holy Spirit.

Thus the congregation by its own creation sends the message on which the church is built.
The Beginning

In 1960, a small group in Palm Bay felt the need for a Methodist church. Mr. Thomas Pearman of First Church in Melbourne was asked to find a minister who could supervise the organization. The Official Board of First Methodist Church voted to sponsor the services with the understanding that if advisable, they would organize a new church. Reverend Lockard, a retired minister, was appointed to be in charge until conference time in June of 1960. He was a fine Christian man who visited us many times and was so proud of our progress. He has since passed away.

On February 2, 1960 Dr. H. W Blackburn, District Superintendent, made a survey of Palm Bay community. He decided it would be advisable to organize a church if 25 or more persons would be willing to sign the Charter. The requirement was met. In fact 36 persons signed the Charter.

The church was organized on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960. The meeting place was the Palm Bay Estates Clubhouse. A year later, the services were moved to Palm Bay City Hall. Both locations were situated near the railroad tracks and every time a train passed through, the services were suspended until it had cleared the area. Many were long, slow moving freights!

In May of 1961, the church received a deed from General Development Corp. for a three acre track on Port Malabar Blvd. This was the first step toward the building of a new church. The second step was the ground breaking in January of 1962, The third step was the opening of the doors of the new church Easter, April 1, 1962, We were a missionary church for a few years. First church helped us with the finances.

In June 1960, Reverend Harry Baas was assigned to be our pastor. Reverend Bass and his family remained with the church for five years.

(Condensed from an article by Edna Kirby, an early member of the church)
1960-April 21 the Church was formally organized by district superintendent with 36 members.

1960-Women’s Society of Christian Service, now United Methodist Women, organized.

1962-Sunday School with four classes organized.

1962-First sanctuary erected on land donated by General Development Corp.

1966-Sunday School Annex of 8 classrooms erected. Christ Methodist of St. Petersburg contributed $10,000 of $24,000 cost.

1968-Boy Scout Troop 372 began and later Girl Scout Troup 95.

1974-Building Committee for a new sanctuary began with $85,000 pledged and a loan of $225,000.

1975-Men’s Club, now the United Methodist Men, organized in Decemberr with 41 charter members.

1975-Ground broken for new sanctuary in ceremonies led by district superintendent Ernest Newman.

1976-Sixty members took turns fitting bits of colored, hand-blown Blenko glass into the sanctuary window.

1976-In July, an estimated 500 worshipers came to the first service in the sanctuary which cost $275,681.

1977-Bishop Joel T. McDavid consecrated the sanctuary in February.

1985-All four former ministers attended the April 25th Anniversary Reunion which featured a tent housing 150 people.

1985-Our financial support of Christ United Methodist Church, newly organized in southwest Palm Bay, began with a $4,000 annual contribution.

1987-Reverend Douglas Maw was our English Exchange Minister.

1989-A new parsonage at 2796 Rodeo Dr. was built without incurring debt.

1990-We celebrated our 30th anniversary.

1991-Sanctuary mortgage was paid off.

1992-Mortgage burning celebrated. Sanctuary and parsonage were both dedicated.

1993-New roof installed on the sanctuary.

1995-Preschool implemented.

1997-Refurbishing of exterior church buildings and interior of church nursery.

2001-New organization structure for revitalization of our church’s growth.

2002-A Futuring Conference for our 21st century ministry for our community.

2002-Structural changes to accommodate the Seniors-At-Lunch activities.

2003-Visitation of our immediate neighborhood-Celebrate Jesus Mission.

2004-Initiated long term repairs of damages by hurricanes.

2004-Little Miracles Qualities Day Care housed due to damages at Christ UMC.
Significant Historical Highlights
Palm Bay United Methodist Church Past Ministers
1960-65 Rev. Harry C. Bass, Jr.

1965-70 Rev. David T. Brewer

1970-77 Rev. Frank T. Seibert

1977-83 Rev. D. G. Dieffenwierth

1983-88 Rev. Jesse Baker

1988-96 Rev. Thomas H. Norton, Jr.

1996-01 Rev. M. Ann Godbold

2001-08 Rev. Patricia Downes

2008-14 Rev. Dr. Errol Leslie

2014-15 Pastor Joe Moxley

2015 - Pastor Alex Christian