POMPANO BEACH – The 1960s were a time of high design, carefully detailed modern church architecture in Florida. The state was booming, Billy Graham was evangelizing and thousands upon thousands of churchgoing Americans were relocating to Florida and seeking the same sort of community they found up north.
One superb example of this is First Methodist of Pompano Beach. It is located close to the railroad line, and not the beach, as this area began to grow during the Depression. The complex is a perfect way to see into Florida and American Church history.
The original Chapel of the Church, in back, is well preserved. This 1930s gem even has a carved pelican detail on the eave ending presumably for ventilation but now blocked up with an ugly wire stuck through the middle. In 1957, a superb new sanctuary and parish hall were built. Across the street is a gym and acres of parking. To the east is a preschool; it is well detailed and works perfectly with the church; balconies have unique moulded stone and concrete panels with crosses as the design element.
The main sanctuary is brick, with stunning gold leafed images of Christ across the entrance. The door handles are carved wood with the doves of peace. Even the port cochere entrance canopy echoes the angles of the main sanctuary building, with V-shaped webbing between the curved pilasters.
Sikes Hall, the parish hall, is in brick and its entrance with SIKES HALL in perfect sans serif typography. This is an indication of the visual sophistication of the architects. This dates from 1963, with a handsome turquoise lettering at the door.
Today, the church also mirrors changes in Florida and American religious history. The Methodist church was rebranded Christ Church, as part of the larger Christ Church Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale. The larger church offers preschool there, though the main sanctuary and historic chapel do not appear to be open regularly. However, on the Christ Church website they do still appear to be part of the larger institution as Christ Church chapel. It is good that the Methodist Church has mothballed this property well; in the event that the population changes and there is need for a new Methodist Church, the building will be there, well maintained and ready.
Happily, the church property has new life under the leadership of Darren and Wendy Davis, who lead The Harbour Church in the old gymnasium. They use the parish hall of the church, and have a busy schedule of youth activities, prayer and healing groups, and spirited Sunday worship.
Find out more about The Harbour Church HERE.
Do you have memories of attending the old First Methodist of Pompano? Tell us below.