A Little Bit of the Story of Deltona Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
(Update coming soon....)

When we look at Deltona today it is difficult to visualize what it was like in the early years of the 1960s when the Mackle Brothers had a vision of a retirement community in this area where there was nothing but pine trees and palmettos. They began making plans on paper and then started to buy property in the area.

Their plan was to develop a community which would attract retirees from all over the country as well as from other countries. As they did this, they planned to give property to churches and other groups to help make it an attractive place for people to come to settle in Florida.

At that time I-4 was new and all along the highway to Orlando there were orange groves. The Mackles promoted their idea by having dinners and meetings whereby they made it known that property for churches would be made available. A couple from the First Christian Church in DeLand, Gladys and John Cannon, attended one of those meetings and had the foresight to go back to their minister, Rev. Bernard Meece, to suggest that he look into getting property for a church in what was to be the community of Deltona.

5.6 acres of land on Normandy Boulevard between Tivoli and Hancock was acquired for a new Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) even before the first resident moved into Deltona. This was the first property given to a church by Mackles. The Deltona Christian Church was the first church to be organized in this new community. Our sanctuary was built in 1965 and was the second church building to be built in Deltona. At that time there were only a little over 1,000 residents.

The Congregation was started by support of the Florida Region and the First Christian Church in DeLand. They sent some of their key people to be the nucleus of this new congregation, including Col. and Mrs. Aldo Loos. Just like an individual family, people come into the life of the church, do their part, and leave the life of this congregation leaving their legacy for those of us who are still here and will be here in the future.

The first service of the new church was held in the community building on Lake Monroe on February 2, 1964. The First Christian Church in DeLand sent Rev. Loren Dunton to be the interim minister, and he and others surveyed this entire area going door to door in the surrounding communities. Because of the uniqueness of Deltona, we had people from many areas of the country and from many religious backgrounds. These few people took a step in faith and planned to build a building and the first service in the sanctuary on Normandy Boulevard was held on Thanksgiving Sunday in 1965. Remember, these were senior citizens - they were not building just for them, but for those to come in the future. The first resident minister was Rev. Earl D. Luginbuhl who was called in 1965. We have had several other ministers who, just like the people in the congregation, came and did their part, moved on and left their legacy. Rev. J. C. Steele came to serve this congregation in 1984.

The charter opened with 64 persons as charter members and Lois Scheffel is the only one still active in the church. We have sent our first Timothy, Jennifer Steele, into full-time ministry. We continue doing the same type of ministry this congregation has done over the years, but changes have been made and programs added.

There have been so many people who have done so much and many that continue to do much that it is impossible to name them all, but we can see the love they had for this church by the work they have done. Among the specific projects that speak of progress are: the sanctuary has been enlarged, the first fellowship hall added, the narthexes added and one of them recently improved, the current fellowship hall built, and the first fellowship hall has been converted into the education wing.

Just as in our own families, things do not stay the same but the same Gospel is being preached because we know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is our opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors and to leave a legacy for those to follow just as those before us have done. We are but another link in this chain. Praise the Lord for making all this possible. Praise the Lord as we move on in our service to His church.

-Lois Scheffel, Historian


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