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History

The story of Christ Memorial Chapel begins with the arrival on Jupiter Island of Mr. and Mrs. William Slocum Barstow. As related by Colonel Arthur S. Dwight, one of the original four Chapel trustees: "Early in 1928 the Barstows first beheld the beauties of Jupiter Island, while motoring north from Miami. Crossing the Inlet at Jupiter Light, they noticed an enticing road leading across a bridge to an island, and yielded to an impulse to explore it, which resulted in the purchase of their home here.Then ensued an interesting discovery. In looking over an old map of the Island, Mrs. Barstow caught sight of one of the streets called Delespine Road. 'That's strange,' she remarked: That is the name of my great-grandfather. He was said to have had some interest in Florida, but where I never knew.' A search of the titles revealed that almost the first sale of land from the Gomez Grant, after the United States Land Office took over, was a tract of 12,000 acres including Jupiter Island purchased by Mrs. Barstow's ancestor, Dr. Joseph Delespine. What magnetic influence was it that attracted her to go exploring across that mysterious bridge?"

Christ Memorial Chapel was completed in 1939, Mrs. Barstow's gift to the Island in memory of her sister, Laura Fontenay Delespine Duclos. It was Mrs. Barstow's thought that this would be the Island church; and that while under the canons of the Episcopal diocese, it would always welcome members of every denomination, residents, and guests, to form a center for worship and fellowship: A House of Prayer for All People.

The Chapel was consecrated on March 13, 1939 by Bishop John D. Wing of the Diocese of South Florida. In 1988, the Chapel was incorporated with the State of Florida. The Articles note that "as a localized and part-time church the Chapel is a Chapel Peculiar and not a parish; "the Priest-in-charge is to be called the Chaplain;" and "the Chapel Council shall have all the powers, duties and responsibilities of a Vestry under under the canons of the Diocese."

The war years, 1941-1945, were brought close to the Island as ships were torpedoed off shore, tankers went up in flames, crews put in and were welcomed on the Island beach. A soldier's choir from Camp Murphy, just across the Sound, sang at the Chapel. The generosity of Outreach was especially designated to British foreign missions and to the Army-Navy Commission. In these years there were more children than usual on the island and a Sunday School was organized with sixteen students.

The Chapel's original Memorial Garden was a gift from Mrs. Joseph V. Reed in 1976. In 2008, an additional Garden was created directly north of the original Garden.

It is all the past clergy and lay persons who have come this way, together with those who will come to share the life of this Chapel, who make up the loving community under God reaching out to each other and as far as the mind can envisage.

 
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