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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Island's Christian Science church to close

An Island religious institution that has stood for more than 30 years will hold its last service on Dec. 28, a victim of declining permanent population on Anna Maria Island.

Sally Roberts of the Christian Science Church at 6300 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach said there is a contract pending to sell the church in January 2004, and the final service will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 28.

Roberts said the decision by church members and its board of trustees to sell the property was the result of declining attendance during the summer and fall.

"In season, attendance is great, but in the summer, there are just too few people here," said Roberts.

The financial responsibility of maintaining the church year-round was difficult, and members voted to dissolve the church and sell the property, she said.

"It was a sad decision," Roberts said. "Our year-round membership kept declining. The entire Island population is changing and we could see the attendance was becoming very small outside of the season."

Most church members will attend the Christian Science Church at 1335 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton, she said, and there are three Christian Science churches in Sarasota.

The IslandŐs Christian Science Church was built in 1971 with the first service in November that year, she said.

Christian Scientists had been meeting in various homes on Anna Maria Island since the 1950s, she said, and in the 1960s, they met where the Island Players in Anna Maria are now located.

Roberts said she did not know what plans the prospective buyer had for the property.

The property is in an R-2 (duplex) zone.

The Christian Science Church at 6300 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach will hold its last service on Sunday, Dec. 28.

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