New Property

A New “LIGHTHOUSE” On The Beach


The Rev. Jon Robbins, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Vero Beach, talks with animation about the church’s beginnings in 2011. “After intense prayer sessions with the congregation, the church was named in honor of the great missionary preacher St. Paul,” he says. “It was St. Paul who implemented God’s plan to reconcile people to him through Jesus.”

Now amidst much joy, a new St. Paul’s structure is rising on Flamevine Lane. According to Robbins, for three years the congregation had been searching for property to build on or an existing building to renovate. For several years they worshipped out of the Surf Club on A1A and then, more recently, at the Garden Club on 17th Avenue.

One glorious day, an anonymous benefactor presented the congregation with a beautiful lot on Flamevine Lane, close to Ocean Drive.
“An amazing gift,” Robbins says. “And we all knew it would be our goal to build a beautiful building. To create a church that would be a blessing and an asset to the beach community.”

Robbins and the church vestry interviewed a number of local architects and builders. Eventually, they hired Alan Matthews of C.E. Block Architect Inc. as the designer and architectural project manager. His plans skillfully interpreted the church’s vision.

“St. Paul’s is on a small site and required careful planning to accomplish its many goals,” Matthews says. “The best option was a two-story building
that had the worship area on the first floor and the classrooms and office area on the second. I worked with a committee of people experienced in church functions and worship to create quality design and to convey a sense of place for inspired Anglican religious worship.”

The church broke ground at 999 Flamevine Lane shortly after the site’s former building that housed dental offices was razed, and they held a groundbreaking ceremony on the property in May 2016. “The Anglican Bishop Ron Kuykendall from Gainesville attended,” Robbins says. “He led us all in prayers to spiritually cleanse the property and set it apart for the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

As the parishioners gathered in the parking lot, each carried a palm frond. The Bishop and Robbins led the procession from the parking lot to the site of the church. The rector led the litany. The congregation said the Lord’s Prayer. The service followed an Anglican groundbreaking rite, rendering the property a sacred space.

“From the beginning, our goal was to build a breathtaking holy place … a church for tourists and longtime residents to come for prayer and comfort,” Robbins says. “Traditionally, Anglicans have seen architecture playing a critical role in creating a sacred space where people can experience the presence of the Lord. Examples are the high-vaulted ceiling in the nave and the cruciform in the floor plan that relate back to the Gothic period
of the Middle Ages.” He said the congregation will face east, following an ancient tradition to worship in the direction from which Jesus is expected to return.

Continuing, Robbins adds, “It seemed fitting to honor the history of the beach area and pay homage to one of Vero Beach’s founding fathers, Waldo Sexton, and his creations — the Driftwood Inn and Ocean Grill — by incorporating driftwood and wrought iron into the church. We hope people
will say upon entering St. Paul’s, ‘Waldo would be pleased.’”

Jan Jelmby, who owns Helmet House Construction with his wife, Rhoda, comes from a long line of Swedish church builders and has constructed the 6,500-square-foot structure with meticulous care, using superior woods and other fine materials.
Jelmby notes that Helmet House is a full service company. “We help out with the difficult task of material selection, sometimes importing materials from abroad. Years ago, in Jerusalem, Rhoda and I encountered a beautiful and architecturally pleasing Anglican church inside the Old City dating to the 1840s,” he remembers. “We took photos of the church and noted elements from it that we filed away; many of these Old World details are now being applied to the new St. Paul’s Church.”

Toby Arnheim, a member of St. Paul’s Church, volunteered to act as building manager to oversee the project from the church’s perspective. He recently retired from large projects in construction and brings 58 years of expertise with him.

“I kept working because I didn’t know how to go into retirement. My work was my hobby and creative outlet,” Arnheim says. “On the day I finally retired, Pastor Jon asked me to help find a home for the church. I have been blessed with great opportunities during my long career and
the finale beats them all.”

Robbins feels compelled by missionary zeal and a desire to reach the outside world in three ways: a children’s ministry, a healing ministry and missions that are local, national and international. In the new space, there is more room for the children’s minister to oversee a meaningful and safe program for kids while parents attend service. In addition, a mom’s prayer group, which also makes gift baskets for deployed soldiers, will have better facilities.

“Our biggest challenge,” Robbins says, “is to bring the ministry to those who need it.” He says the church offers an 8 a.m. contemplative service on Sunday that appeals to those who love the historic roots of the church and a more contemporary service at 10 a.m. in which the congregation sings hymns and contemporary worship songs. “We alert the community to our healing prayer services that provide emotional and spiritual support,” Robbins says. “Extending the ministry of Jesus is fundamental to St. Paul’s. I can say with certainty that no one turns down prayer.”
Robbins continues, “The church is a launching pad to strengthen all our programs and missions. Our motto is: ‘Bringing Christ to the World.’ To have a vision for the world like St. Paul’s vision. To follow in his footsteps. To practice what the Bible calls ‘shameless audacity’!”

This article has been excerpted, modified and reprinted with permission from Vero Beach Magazine. Original article, titled
“A Tale of Two Churches,” was published June of 2017








Ground Breaking Ceremony – May 7, 2016

With the Rector wielding a Claymore sword and the 90 attendees holding palm branches aloft, St. Paul’s Church began its building process with a traditional procession at the site at 999 Flamevine Lane on Saturday, May 5, at 5 pm. Fr. Jon Robbins, the rector, explained that the sword represented what St. Paul called the “sword of the Spirit.” Invoking that Holy Spirit, Fr. Robbins plunged the sword into the earth below what will become the main altar. Building Committee chair Toby Arnheim and Jan Jelmby of Helmet House Construction upheld tradition by first outlining the building’s footprint with mason’s cord and then creating an “X” in the middle, symbolizing the first letter of the name of Christ in Greek.

Bishop Ron Kuykendall blessed the ground and spoke of the positive impact that St. Paul’s will have on the community. Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer honored the parish as he broke the ground below the main altar.  Fr. Robbins said, “St. Paul’s is committed to bringing hope and healing to our Indian River community. We will continue to reach out beyond these walls to grace all seekers.”

The Rector, Senior Warden, and Organist Choirmaster of Christ Church Vero Beach, Bishop John Miller, Larry Lauffer, and Brady Johnson respectively, attended, as did Jon and Dell Bates, former owners of the Surf Club on A1A, in which St. Paul’s previously held services. Now the parish meets at the Garden Club of IRC at 2627 17th Avenue in Vero Beach.

The 6550 square foot facility will include a sanctuary for worship, multi—purpose rooms for teaching and for community use, a nursery, offices, and a kitchen. The sanctuary will seat 159 people.

Processing to site with palms

Processing to site with palms

Ground Breaking Ceremony & Site Blessing

Ground Breaking Ceremony & Site Blessing







Pastor Jon claiming site with sword

Pastor Jon claiming site with sword







Building Committee

Building Committee: Pastor Jon, Ed Barret, Natalie Jackson, Marie Roberts, Bob Webster, Lorne Coyle & Toby Arnheim

Bishop Ron, Pastor Jon & Mayor Jay Kramer

Bishop Ron, Pastor Jon & Mayor Jay Kramer







Pr. Jon, Martha, Toby, Helena, Bob & Vestry member Robbie breaking ground

Pr. Jon, Martha, Toby, Helena, Bob & Vestry member Robbie breaking ground Speakers Pr, Bp, Jon Day

Speakers Pr. Jon, Bp. Ron & Jon Day, Sr. Warden






“Demolition Begins” Press Release January 2016 –



Dedication Sunday – August 24, 2014 – Click here for slideshow of pictures:

August 14, 2014 – Press Journal article on new property – click here:

July 2, 2014 – St. Paul’s Church closed on the Flamevine Lane property.

Great News about our property search:

I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me to be able to share the news about the Flamevine property on Easter Sunday. And I know that many of you feel the same way that I do-completely overwhelmed by God’s lavish gift to us. I explained that the building is being given to St. Paul’s by an anonymous benefactor. People have asked me, “You do know who the benefactor is, don’t you?” And I smile. “No, I don’t know who it is.” I honestly don’t know who it is, and out of respect for the benefactor and for God, I don’t want to know. God knows, and that’s all that matters.

969–999 Flamevine Lane, Vero Beach, Florida 32963