Chapel By The Sea Coming Down This Week


Heavy equipment was brought onto the church property last week and Chapel By The Sea co-chair of Buildings Tom Means told Beach Talk Radio News the severely damaged structure should be demolished this week. It has not been touched since Hurricane Ian.

Chapel By The Sea, located on Estero Boulevard next to where Town Hall used to sit, is a vivid reminder of how Hurricane Ian decimated structures on Fort Myers Beach 14 months ago. The popular church had nearly 100 members pre-Ian.

The future of the church on Fort Myers Beach is unknown. Means says the decision whether or not to rebuild has not been made yet. “There are a few members that desperately want to build something ASAP but the leadership is hesitant to move ahead due to uncertainty as to the outcome of the beach redevelopment. We have a declining and aging membership. If the beach becomes upper income vacation rentals……” There are now about 25-30 members of the Chapel By The Sea congregation that meet weekly at Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church on McGregor.

If the church does not rebuild an option, as with many other properties now on Fort Myers Beach, would be to sell the land.


  1. Some of the folks from Chapel by the,Sea have been coming to St Peter Lutheran Church. We have added some of their traditions to our worship service.

  2. I feel the church should seek the property and go just outside the Island lease a smaller place since the membership has been getting older & reduced it really doesn’t make any sense to spend a lot of money to build up to code when the members could do a lot more with the money,
    Also by getting something else built in its place the Island will benefit collecting more property taxes than what the Church would bring in.

  3. Just to be clear no one is saying anything about instituting the old programs… that I have seen. Maybe they could pair with a group in Lee County and give them free transportation and the ability to have an id and get into a Lee county program.

  4. It’s nice that the churches provided food and water to the homeless, but they did not have any licensed mental health worker at the church to provide the homeless what they really needed, mental healthcare. And many of them needed it. They urinated wherever they wanted, many were drunk sleeping on the beach or benches, they stabbed others and even brutally killed our beloved librarian who did so much for them too.

      • Bruce, no one is talking about kids. Jose was making a very good point about these people needing mental health. These churches should not be ignoring the mental health/addictions that these people have. Ignoring it cost the library director his life. The should be taken to Fort Myers where they do have licensed mental health care professionals as well as shelters and all the services they need. The churches were culpable attracting the homeless. We had the stabbing in front of the Lani Kai, I think I recall there was another stabbing by the docks, then there was the stabbing by Topps and then a few days later there was the slaughter in front of the library. No one needs to be attracting homeless onto the beach.

    • Jose, I don’t know if you recall the homeless man that was stabbed at Topps a couple days prior to the murder of the library director but he was stabbed by the same homeless man. It was covered up because they didn’t want the word to get out and scare tourists. Meanwhile, it was the tourists that tracked down the murdered that butchered the director of the library. He went on the roof of Topps. Also, I think that having so many liquor stores, also attracted more homeless. I remember there was a homeless couple that came to the beach for food and they would sit on the bench by the library and the man and the woman were drunk and would pass out and take up the whole bench with the 2 of them and their possessions piled up. The tourists that were waiting for the bus would have to sit on the ground since the resident homeless were sleeping. I hope that the town works on keeping the homeless in Fort Myers where they can get the mental help that they need. It’s not on the beach.

  5. Sadly (or not), it seems like the island that welcomed all walks of life was swept away over a year ago. They all came for the sun and the beach and the water…and those who didn’t get the memo will still try. But who’s writing the new memo?

  6. For those seeking a place to worship, “The Faith Center Church” of Fort Myers holds an extended service every Saturday 4:30 at the Mound House on FMB.
    This day and time was chosen to not interfere with any services that may be held by existing entities. We want to give Hope, Love, and share the Word of Got to all.
    Christmas Service for the beach will be held Saturday, Dec. 9th at:
    Bayside Park, 1131 First Street
    Sponsored by The Faith Center of Fort Myers. Regular services held every Sunday 10:30 at: Harbor Plaza, 17650 Tamiami Trial.

  7. I am sad that not being rebuilt. And I feel like the empathy they had for people in need will grow somewhere like beach baptist. So much anger. Not Gods way

  8. Anne Shaver, do you live on the beach? My guess is no. Do you know who Dr. Hommerding was? If you don’t know who who he was then you clearly do not live on the beach. He was butchered on a Sunday morning, at about 9:30am. by a homeless guy who went to the Chapel by the Sea daily. He had also stabbed another man a couple days earlier but that was kept quiet. The pastor of Chapel by the Sea was on the news saying he knew the homeless man and knew from him coming in for food and services each day and he knew had mental problems. Maybe if had called in someone who was qualifed, then Dr. Hommerding would still be alive. NO we do not need to be attracting homeless to the beach. (I am sure this comment will be deleated.)

    • Don’t worry you will have your sanitary environment soon enough … maybe not as Magaritaville just with the soft opening is quite the party spot … soon the big guitar 🎸 will be on the beach as well … can only imagine the fatal car accidents leaving the beach 🏖️ and yes I my zip code is 33931 …

      • my zip code is also 33931 and I have lived on the beach for 45 years I agree that with the opening of these places on the beach not only will the traffic be a mess but the # of new drinking, party spots will increase and so will car and pedestrian accidents…Nothing wrong with responsible drinking and partying but I doubt many doing the drinking will be able to see much as they drive down dark Estero Blvd.. I think even the turtles will have a hard time seeing…

  9. Oh how sad . That church was so beautiful .. especially the stained glass. Sell property and take the money and run. God will understand ❤️

      • I am sure she is real. I don’t think a bot would spend their time copy and pasting unless information and mocking home owners on FMB. And yes, she does wish she lived on the beach. Why else would she stalk a forum when she is not an owner or even live in Florida. Pathetic.

  10. This is just heart breaking. Where will the homeless go for their free meals, hair cuts, laundry service, showers, clothes, medical help (except for mental help they really need)? This was such a good place that attracted the homeless to the island for free goods and services, they (homeless) really contributed to the island community including by hanging out on bus stops welcoming the tourists, keeping the library safe. The church really helped make the island so diverse. Oh they will be missed! Hope they save that stain glass though for all the memories.

    • And God said “I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. ”
      You really need to go to church Joe!! But you probably do and call yourself a Christian. What a hypocrite

      • Annie,

        Matthew 7:1
        DO NOT judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.

        There are many places for the goods and services be offered off island for these people. In which I’ve donated time, food and money for the homeless cause off island. The point is, there shouldn’t be the “attraction” for these people to come to the island. And you are correct, I do go to church, I’m Catholic, attended the Ascension. Full time FMB resident, what are you?

      • wow the amount to meanness is just amazing all you Christians or whoever you are.. pathetic thats all.. Loved the work that church did and loved the Window

  11. This breaks my heart. I have so many memories of attending church there with my mom. I agree, I hope they save that beautiful stained glass window!

  12. I hope they save the stained glass window! If it isn’t used in a new building, it could be used in some other construction project.

  13. So sad. Couldn’t they redo a smaller Church and build a few rentals for income. ” For people who work on the island” Just a thought. Hopefully it all works out 😇

    • “work on the island” could be a homeless dude that the church has rake up yard debris. We do not need to be encouraging anything like that. Fort Myers has shelters for homeless. As as far as “work force housing” Can we stop with this craziness? We live on a 7 mile long island. Right over the bridge there are very affordable rentals. They can take the bus and get to their job easily. Is that too far for them to travel??? The whole “work force housing” is a 15 minute city idea to escort in socalism/communisim. They have a lot of that in China.

        • Christine,
          Actually many of them get a group of them in one home and then rent out the rooms. I had a relative looking for an investment property a few years ago and one of the homes had 7 men from Mexico that had rented a house and they all lived there. Unfortunately the house was destroyed. They were on FMB working on the Estero construction. So I am sure their rent, per person was very cheap but let’s face it, a pick up truck today is 70K+ now, a Jeep is 60K, insurance has doubled, groceries are up 40% so why does it surprise anyone that rent is high? People should live where they can afford. I love La Jolla but do you think they will lower the prices of rent to accommodate my income? I live where I can afford, FMB. Others should do the same.


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