Historic Black Church in Jensen Beach, Florida, Gets Long-Needed Renovation

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Just in time for Christmas, Saint Peters C.M.E. Church, believed to be the oldest active church in the Jensen Beach area, was graced with a major renovation courtesy of a group of volunteers led by Robert Delancy and supported by general contractor Julius Graham and electrical contractor Alfred Bressaw.

According to elder members of the Mars Hill community in Jensen Beach, 1963 was the last time that the church experienced any type of upgrades or renovations.

During the 1950s and ’60s, the church was used by both the Baptist and the Methodist denominations holding services on alternating Sundays. The church was also the focal point for all community activities and was used by the Martin County Health Department to administer vaccines.

As the years passed, a changing community, death and other inevitable changes decimated the St. Peters congregation to what is now approximately 15 members. The once close-knit community lost its vibrancy, and many of those who still resided in the Mars Hill community opted to travel outside of the community to worship at newer and larger churches.

However, five community women between the ages of 50 and 85 (Helen Delancy, Mary Mack, Victoria Singleton, Henrietta Cooper and Lavonda Graham), all born and raised in the community, refused to allow St. Peters to become a footnote in history; abandoned and forgotten. These women of faith chose to remain steadfast because St. Peters was an important and vital part of their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents. They continuously paid their tithes, donated money and volunteered their labor to keep the doors opened. Many may recall driving through the community and seeing them set up in front of the church selling fish sandwiches and sweet potatoes pies to keep the church operational.

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Source: TC Palm | Robert Delancy