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
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.
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
1975-Men’s Club, now the United Methodist Men, organized in Decemberr with 41 charter
1975-Ground broken for new sanctuary in ceremonies led by district superintendent Ernest
1976-Sixty members took turns fitting bits of colored, hand-blown Blenko glass into the
1976-In July, an estimated 500 worshipers came to the first service in the sanctuary which cost
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.
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
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