Having engaged in conversation with influential people around Venice, Mr. Albert Bradley, Managing Editor of the Venice Gondolier, decided to pursue the possibility of establishing a church in Venice.
In the meantime, by a quirk of faith, a gentleman named Rev. Dr. E. Robert Chable and his wife, Marion Boynton, established reisdence in Venice. The family physician recommended that Mrs. Chable move to a warm climate due to her rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Chable also received an offer to become Vice President of Venice-Nokomis Bank with direct responsibilities for the bank's public relations.
Dr. Chable was a licensed and ordained clergyman, having served in several pastorates, associate, pastorates, and interim pastorates in many religious denominations. He had also been Dean of two colleges, one in Michigan and the other in Ohio, before coming to Venice to accept the position offered by the bank. They sought a church where they would enjoy intellectually-respectable preaching, friendly people, and a congruent religious viewpoint. Their choice was The First Congregational Church of Sarasota where they became members.
The first Service of Worship was on Worldwide Communion Sunday, October 7, 1962. Eighty-three people attended the service which was held at the Elks Club on E. Venice Avenue in the Kentucky Military Institute.
Just a few important dates in our history:
February 15, 1963 - Dr. Chable accepted a unanimous call to be the full time Pastor.
February 24, 1963 - The congregation voted to purchase a 5.4 acre plot of land in Venice Gardens at Shamrock Blvd and Tuxedo Rd at a cost of $27,500.
1977 - Rev. Charlene Raitt (who worships with us now) was called to be our Associate Pastor. At that time, she was one of only three female ordained United Church of Christ ministers in the state of Florida.
February 7, 1985 - The first worship of Venice United Church of Christ was held in our new sanctuary.
In those early days, Venice United Church of Christ faced three challenges:
1. 1962 - deciding to establish a United Church of Christ here in Venice
2. 1964 - deciding to build
3. 1968 - moving from being a mission church to being a church in full standing in the Florida Conference, United Church of Christ
Venice United Church of Christ met those challenges and looked forward to building the body of Christ in Venice.