St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Palmetto Bay celebrated its 40th anniversary with a re-dedication service and luncheon on Sunday, Jan. 19. Pastor Daniel Coy presided.
Located at 17700 Old Cutler Rd., the familiar landmark slope-roofed building was completed in August of 1973. Before that, the congregation met at Colonial Drive Elementary School for services. Pastor David Webb was the first pastor of the church.
The east side of the building is covered with native stone on both the exterior and interior.
One member of the congregation attending for whom the anniversary held special significance was Wes Roberts, the only charter member remaining. He was pleased with the re-dedication festivities.
“It was a glorious celebration,” Roberts said. “The Fellowship Hall was beautifully decorated by our ladies. The worship service was well attended and the sanctuary was meaningfully re-dedicated by Pastor Coy, who took time to explain the rite beforehand.
“The choir and organist, Debbie Mar, offered an anthem that aptly fit the occasion, Come Build a Church. I was so happy to be present, but was sorry I was the only charter member still here. However, the scrapbooks that had been assembled and preserved from all those years ago provided many memories. The photo loop presentation was also a real treat to watch. I was pleased to have community leaders join us,” he added.
Of the Palmetto Bay officials invited to the celebration, only Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilmember Joan Lindsay were able to attend the event.
“I have great memories of driving down Old Cutler Road and stopping to watch the construction of the church,” Mayor Stanczyk said. “My husband was a student in architecture at the University of Miami and had an interest in the design of the Church. The curved beams were a new-ish concept in those days. It was a real honor to be invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of such a wonderful church with its congregation. The entire afternoon was a delight, meeting everyone and sharing their celebration.”
Lindsay, who attended with her husband, Jerry Templer, was touched by the reception given them.
“Everyone was very welcoming from the moment we arrived,” Lindsay said. “We enjoyed the service and celebration.”