Immanuel Anglican began as part of Episcopal church in Destin

Special to Gannett
Immanuel Anglican Church, 250 Indian Bayou Trail in Destin, continues to participate in Destin's Blessing of the Fleet every year.

In 1923, English-born Clement E. Taylor and his family moved to East Pass, as Destin was then known.

He was a lay reader in the Church of England and immensely interested in the establishment of an Episcopal Church in his new home. With other kindred spirits, they held their first meeting that year, in the barrel shed of Willy Marler's fish house.

For a while, they shared the Methodist church until it burned to the ground. Worship continued in various homes until John Maltezzo donated all of his property north of the road for building a church. Progress was made on the little building until the Great Depression hit in 1929, then Maltezzo died without realizing his dream of attending services in his church.

When U.S. Hwy. 98 (the road through Destin) opened for traffic in 1934, some used materials were transported from St. Catherine's in Pensacola, which was being torn down. Foundation blocks of heart pine, the altar, pews and other things were salvaged and brought to Destin by truck. Services were held in this little wooden church from June of 1937 to 1953 when the main building of the concrete block structure was complete. 

The church body grew, and so did the building — adding on a kitchen/fellowship hall, then later an octagonal sanctuary. In the 1970s, the Holy Spirit fell and the body of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church was on fire with God's Spirit and Power.  

Following the Lord's direction, the St. Andrew's Episcopal family became Immanuel Anglican Church in 2000 and moved locations with Father Mike Hesse continuing as pastor. They worshiped in the Destin Community Center for five years until their land and buildings were ready near Indian Bayou, where they continue to worship today.