October 9, 2019

Contributed
Island Community Church's sanctuary and auditorium at mile marker 83.2 in Islamorada have been put up for sale. The Upper Keys congregation plans to move to the former Island Christian School property it owns.

Contributed Island Community Church's sanctuary and auditorium at mile marker 83.2 in Islamorada have been put up for sale. The Upper Keys congregation plans to move to the former Island Christian School property it owns.

ISLAMORADA — Island Community Church’s congregation will be moving, but not very far.

A building that has served as the church sanctuary for 45 years was put up for sale this week.

Island Community Church eventually will relocate to the second property it owns, the former Island Christian School campus at mile marker 83.4.

Matecumbe Historical Trust
A photograph from the 1960s shows the Cinemorada movie theater, which later became Island Community Church.

The campus is about a third of a mile from the church sanctuary, which longtime residents may remember as the former Cinemorada movie theater.

“It makes perfect sense,” Senior Pastor Trevor Mann said of the move. “It was a unanimous vote by the elders and the financial advisory board of Island Community Church. … We’re excited about our next chapter.”

As proposed, the Russell Education Building at Island Christian School will be redeveloped with a children’s center on the first floor, meeting rooms and church offices on the second floor, and a youth center on the third floor.

A portion of the separate Family Life Center, primarily used as a gymnasium and events facility by Island Christian School, will accommodate a new sanctuary for a congregation of about 200 members. Plans for a cafe and a small recreational basketball and volleyball court are being considered.

“A church of our size does not need two campuses, and we’ll still have all the space we’ll ever need,” Mann said.

A move to the north campus also will alleviate a parking shortage during services at the current church, he added.

Island Christian School, an educational ministry of Island Community Church, ended its classes in May. Hurricane Irma and a rising cost of living in the Upper Keys caused student enrollment to fall about 40 percent below a level needed to sustain operations.

The church acquired the former Cinemorada movie theater in 1974 to hold its growing membership. Now that property at mile marker 83.2 is being offered at just under $3.3 million. The building and its auditorium cover nearly 16,000 square feet on a 34,815-square-foot corner lot on U.S. 1. Brian Schmitt is the listing agent.

kwadlow@keysnews.com