History 1974 – 1994

as written by Bill Deeb

Lely Presbyterian Church, a Mission Church sponsored by the Moorings Presbyterian Church, under the guidance of the late Rev. David C. Moss and the Presbytery of the Everglades of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S., first met under the leadership of the Rev. Richard G. Smith in the Riviera Colony Recreation Center in 1972-1973., with a beginning congregation of twelve persons. Meanwhile, plans were made to build a church in Lely Estates on a site donated by Christian W. Duvekot, VP of Lely Estates.

The commissioning and organization of Lely took place on January 27, 1974, in the new church building. There were seventy charter members. Rev. Smith was called to be the first minister, and was installed on April 24, 1974. The dedication of the church was held on May 12, 1974. The keys to the church, as well as the keys to the Allen Organ donated by Mr. Van der Lely, were presented by Mr. Duvekot.

The church grew to more than 200 members over the next ten years. A Sunday School was organized in 1974, and the choir was formed in 1975. In 1981, Lely became self-supporting and a full-fledged church with independent status in the Presbytery. Rev. Smith retired in 1982.

ON April 10, 1983, Lely called Rev Harold B. Brown Jr. who was installed on May 1, 1983.. Wunder Rev. Brown’s leadership, from 1983 through 2003, Lely Presbyterian church prospered. the Choir Director establish a Bell Choir in addition to forming a choir for Sunday services. The young adults had meetings and trips. The Sunday School grew. The church women worked continually to aid many activities. Influence in religious, mental, social and physical activities was achieved.

History 2004

recap from First 30 Years by Bill Deebs.

There have been many physical changes to the facilities over the years. The steeple was never secured satisfactorily. It was taken down and placed out front, leaving room for a sky light to be
installed. After many years, Ruby Meyers had the skylight replaced with the present cut glass window in memo of her husband. This change motivated me (Bill Deeb) to form a team to
developed plans for the side windows. Tis team decided on stain glass windows with a Biblical scene in the center. The following financed a window in memory of loved ones: Victor and Norma Jean Anderson; Dr. Edwin Fuller; George and Charlotte Easton; William and Carol Deeb; and Henry Bos. Many other members contributed generously for the sixth window and the etched window of Jesus Christ in Heaven.

The staging for the pulpit and choir was added with an added background wall, new carpet, and railing made possible with funds from the estate of Hazel Thompson. Victor Miller gave a major contribution to kick off a fund raising program which followed to renovate and add facilities to the church. A few years later an additional building was added to provide space for offices and Christian education. · A new en1rance was added along, with other improvements. Recently the Women’s organization upgraded the Fellowship Hall. There may be other events during the past thirty years that have contributed to the growth of Lely Presbyterian Church. Records are few and incomplete so this narrative was difficult to develop.

In conclusion I must add that the vision of Moorings Presbyterian Church in the early 1970s has bloomed into our loving Lely Presbyterian Church of today. Thank you Moorings!

In 1972, the Moorings Presbyterian Church Long-Range Planning Committee, chaired by Amos VanVorst, started an outreach mission in the Riviera Colony Club House. Under the
direction of Rev. David C Moss, The Lely Chapel of Moorings Presbyterian Church met for worship as a mission for twelve dedicated believers. The Everglades Presbytery of the Presbyterian
Church, USA, set the goal of seventy-five charter members to form a new Lely Presbyterian Church.

In 1973, Lely Estates, Inc., donated land for the construction of a church on St. Andrews Blvd. Funds became available from Moorings Presbyterian Church, Everglades Presbytery, The 1000 Club of Naples, chaired by Jesse Holbrook, Charter Members, and many friends. In April of 1973, ground was broken for the construction of Lely Presbyterian Church by Architects Banshpies and Reeves.

In January of 1974, the Eyerglades Presbytery commissioned the organization of Lely Presbyterian Church. Under the direction of Rev. Richard Smith, the following were elected:

ELDERS: Sigvard Jensen; William E. Starr; ,
William A. Laux; Robert C. Beineke;
William C. Peter; and Mrs. Paul E. Chandler.
DEACONS: William C. Thomas; H. Stanley Dugan;
Forrest C. Adams; Mrs. William A. Laux; •
Alden Thomas Harris, Sr.; and Philip Dow.
TRUSTEES: Ar.hur 0. Caldwell; Randol Taylor; J
William L. McCoy; Joseph E. Odgers; andHoward W. Menig

In April of 1974, Rev. Richard G. Smith was installed as the first minister of Lely Presbyterian Church. On ~fay 12, Rev. Smith and others conducted a Service of Dedication in the newly constructed church in Lely Golf Estates on St. Andrews Blvd. Present at the dedication were Rev. Curry W. Davis, Stated Clerk of the Everglades Presbytery; Rev. Harold S. Hugus, President of the Naples Ministerial Fellowship; Rev. David G. Moss, Minister of Moorings Presbyterian Church; Christi.an W. Duvekot, Vice President of Lely Estates, Inc.; Cornelius Van der Lely, President of Lely Estates, Inc., Zug, Switzerland; and Robert Glubareff, Directing the Moorings Chancel Choir.

From 1974 until 1981, Lely Presbyterian Church was financially underwritten by Moorings Presbyterian Church and the Everglades Presbytery.· Pews and the organ were donated by Cornelius Van der Lely. William Thomas of Lely Presbyterian Church and James Mets of Moorings Presbyterian Church crafted many items of chancel furniture. The cross was crafted by Lynn · Everman.

Rev. Smith retired in the full of 1982. The Rev. Lee Ferro became Interim Pastor until Rev. Harold Brown, Jr., was called and installed in the spring of 1983. He served as Pastor for nearly twenty years when he retired in the fall of 2002. Rev. John Shearer served as Interim Pastor from February 2003 through April 2004.

Phyllis McAllister and Nancy Tatum developed a “Mothers’ Day Out” program started by Ruby Smith, the ministers wife. This program expanded into a preschool program, and in 1980, Jean Harmic Cross began as its director until 1982 when Jackie Spencer became its director. In 1983, 105 St. Andrews Blvd., the former office ofLely Development Corp., was purchased and dedicated as Calvin Hall. Calvin Hall became the office of Lely Presbyterian Church and St. Andrews Preschool. Director Spencer developed the preschool into a productive and vital community program. Mia Vranek was the Director from 1996 to 2001 when Mary Beth Furnari became Director.

Over the past thirty years, our church has had many programs … Sunday School for youth and adults, pot-luck suppers, Adult Bible Study, counseling services, a Woman’s Club, a Men’s Club, Bible School, Dorcas Circle; Friendlies Luncheon, Quilting Club, Choir, Bell Choir, shut-in outreach, and card playing clubs. All of these have kept church members active. There have been many organists and choir directors … Florence West, Reginal Foort, Claire and Warren Wood, Shirley Garlapo, Mae Dimitroff, Lola Roberts, Ray Jones, Archie Sanderson, Bill Bokerman, Norma Jean Anderson, Karl Cole and many substitutes.

History 1994 – 2014

as written by Bill Deeb

Following Harold Brown’s resignation in 2003, Rev. John and Betty Shearer filled the interim while the church actively sought a new pastor. During his tenure, the Bread and Broth program was instituted for the Lenten Season, while Betty contributed her beautiful voice to the choir.

In 2005, Rev. Stephan L. Nagy was welcomed to lead our church family. He and Bethel became not just our spiritual leaders, but also our family activitests. With Steve’s Hungarian flavor, our church became a loving family.

In the years since, many of our family have passed away or moved closer to their families. We were fortunate to have many new members join us.

in 2010, Centro Christiano El Shaddai, a Spanish congregation, with Rev. Pablo Juarez as pastor, became co-occupant of our building. With their assistance, many cosmetic repairs were done to the building and grounds.

The Pre-School program, which flourished throughout almost three decades, was sold to Ernie and Mary Beth Furnari (Director) in 2013, while the church continues to maintain a personal interest in its welfare.

As Rev. Nagy’s health deteriorated, and with his resignation in2012, the search for a new pastor led us to Rev. Dr. James J. Kirk, who became by the hand of God, our new spiritual leader. He was installed as our pastor on January 19, 2014, just in time to celebrate with us the 40th anniversary of Lely Presbyterian Church!

Since Pastor Kirk’s arrival, we have already seen changes. Cosmetic changes have been made to building and rounds; committees have been formed to oversee finance, worship, building and grounds, membership and fellowship.

Once again, our church is growing and is alive with God’s love and passion. We look forward to a long and fulfilling ministry as we all look ahead to the next 40 years!