Church By The Sea

Luke 1:37

For nothing will be impossible with God.



We are the body of Christ, a family of faith celebrating God’s Word as a loving and welcoming Church

Dedicated to the preaching of God’s Word through worship. Dedicated to the sharing of God’s Word through teaching and fellowship. Dedicated to the doing of God’s Word through outreach to the seeker, the needy and the broken. 

We worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday. The sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, and a Liturgy for Christian Healing is performed on the last Sunday of each month.

Nursery and children’s Sunday school available during worship.

Listen to previous sermons.



Our Worship Team

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Senior Pastor

Rev. Chris Reny

Rev. Reny, along with his wife, Marie, and two young children, Noah and Grace, accepted the call to join The Church by The Sea family in January 2013. Chris received his Masters from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1990 and was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in 1991. He has served at First United Methodist Church of Smyrna, GA (1994-1997) and First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale (1997-2012). Chris strives to make all feel that The Church by the Sea is a place "Where The Less Than Perfect are More Than Welcome".

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Randy Starr

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Randy Starr attended the Preschool at Church By The Sea in 1965. He has spent over twenty-five years in retail management including merchandising and human resources. Randy is currently serving as chairperson on the Worship Committee as well as serving on the mission committee. He is an elder of the church and just completed a three-year term on the Session Board. He is also currently employed at Church By The Sea as the Administrator.


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Director of Music and Organist

Christopher Kane

A native of California, Christopher Kane is an alumnus of the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance. He also holds a Master of Music degree in Church Music from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. Since 1992, he has been on staff with Church by the Sea. 


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Director of Children's Ministry

Marie Reny

Marie Reny received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a focus in child psychology from Davidson College in 2004. Since that time she has been working in hospitality and managed two small businesses. As the Director of Children's Ministry, Marie is responsible for overseeing the spiritual growth of our children in addition to creating fellowship opportunities for parents and families to grow together and in Christ. With over a decade of experience in the classroom teaching Sunday School, Marie has a passion for creating an exciting and experiential understanding of God's love and for finding ways for our children to apply it in their own lives.


director of youth ministry

Nicholl Stengel

While growing up in a small beach town along the Jersey Shore, Nicholl enjoyed many wonders of the sea on her family’s boat “Midnight Hook.” It was in her childhood that she discovered the love for God, people, and travel. After graduation, she jumped on her first yacht as a Stewardess sailing the East Coast and Caribbean Islands. Through her journey of life, she acquired certifications in Silver Service, STCW, Wines of the World, floral arranging, ballroom dance instruction and trained extensively in private aviation. Her love for church, family, community, dance, Pilates, music, performing arts and writing all contribute to her passion for mentoring youth.


director of youth ministry

Jon Gardner

Born in Fort Lauderdale he attended The Church By The Sea Preschool, St.Marks Episcopal Elementary and Middle School, St.Thomas Aquinas High School, and The University of Florida. After college he became a licensed Realtor and to this day enjoys helping people buy and sell their homes. Since 2016 Jon has sat on the Session at The Church By The Sea and rotated teaching the upper elementary Sunday School class. In 2017 was hired to co-direct the youth group at CBTS. His hobbies include running, bowling, golfing, fishing, History, and following South Florida sports teams.

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Wedding Coordinator 

Deborah Lee

A second generation native of Fort Lauderdale, Debbi began serving the public in Emergency Services, first as a paramedic then as a Police Dispatcher. After leaving Emergency Services, she obtained her Bachelor's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University in 1998. She joined The Church By The Sea's family in 1995 and currently three generations of her family are members. As our Wedding Coordinator, Debbi's past experience allows her to assist our brides in creating the stress free wedding of their dreams.


Office Administrator

Tamika Greenwood

As a mother of two beautiful little girls she received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from Florida International University, Miami. In 2016 she became a member of The Church By The Sea’s family and now teaches Sunday school to the Preschool class. She and her girls love the church and feel blessed to have found it.


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Patricio Garbutt

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, he traveled to Florida at age 15 and has been living here ever since. He met his wife right after graduating from high school and now they have three wonderful children: a boy and two girls. He considers himself very blessed with the family God has given him and also to be part of his work family at The Church By The Sea.


The Story of Our Church

When the little Church By The Sea first formed 65 years ago, it should have been called The Church On The Sea. There was no building, so congregants met aboard the Jungle Queen for services. Collections were gathered in fish nets so the money wouldn't blow away.

Downey approached newspaper publishers, lawyers and businessman to join the church and help put up a building.

L. C. Judd, developer of Harbor Beach, donated a piece of land to the church at what is now Southeast 17th Street and A1A (Seareeze bouldveard). The membership grew to about 100, and everyone chipped in.

" One of our early members was a daily visitor to the race track," said Frazier. "Her day's winnings were first donation to our building fund. She asked Dr. Downey if he would receive tainted money, and he replied that the only trouble was it 'taint enough.'" Frazier recalled there was also an Anheuser and Reynolds. "so we joked that our first building funds came from race track winnings, alcohol and tobacco."

In 1956, two years after the first Jungle Queen service, the church was built. The roof of the sanctuary, appropriately enough, is an upside-down hull of a ship built in a Broward Country shipyard.

Today the church has a courtyard, a fountain and gardens surround the small white brick-and-stucco structure. The church also now has a preschool and a Sunday school.

- From Sun-Sentinel article by Tao Woolfe "Church is once again shipshape," published on January 24, 1994. 

"Many times sun worshipers, in bathing suits, wandered over to sit on the dock and take part in the service," Irma Honebrink Frazier, one of the church's founders wrote in her history of the church. She recalled the two years the congregation met on water. The first church service was on December 6, 1953. "We served our first communion in a restaurant at Bahia Mar. We had it in there because the boat was going up and down." But that was part of having church on a boat, as was getting wet when it rained and taping the music they needed for their services. 

Eventually, church members solved both problems: the rain - with canvas curtains, the music - by the Hammond Organ Co. Hammond lent the church and organ each week for Sunday services. "They would haul it onto the boat on the second deck," Fraizier said. "And we always had altar flowers."

The owner of the boat, Capt. Al Start, donated the boat to the congregation for Sunday services and also for Christmas Day, when congregants would board the boat to sing carols on the water.

The Rev. Edward Downey, who started the church, realized from visiting the residents of Harbor Beach that people of all denominations made up the neighborhood. He had envisioned a Presbyterian church but decided to make the church non-denominational.