Since there were few permanent residents in Sunrise Beach in early 1964 and the nearest church, Walnut Methodist Church, was located 13 miles from here near Round Mountain, it was realized that there was a need for a closer building in which to conduct services. A group of local citizens met to discuss the organization of a church on the Beach with five lay people present, two Methodist ministers, a Methodist District Superintendent, and a Presbyterian Pastor
It was decided that the only church the Beach could support at this time was an all-denominational type and so the first meeting of the Sunrise Beach Federated Church was held on Feb 9, 1964 in Kingsland near the conflux of the Llano and Colorado Rivers with23 people attending and with one of the Methodist ministers preaching. Subsequent services were led by the second Methodist minister and the Presbyterian pastor. A Disciples of Christ minister conducted an Easter service that year.
The church members agreed that it was necessary to secure a minister for each service. The largest number of worshipers were from the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Disciples of Christ Churches and with the approval by the boards of these three denominations, two Methodists, 1 Presbyterian, and 2 Disciples of Christ ministers agreed to lead a 9 a.m. service.
By May 1964 the average attendance was 22 and it was decided that a permanent meeting place was needed (a home on the Beach was being used at this point). The present site of the church was purchased in Oct 1964 and the first service in the new building was held Jan 2, 1966. In June 1969 it was agreed that enlargement of the church building was necessary. Construction began in Sep 1969 and was completed in Dec.
In approximately 1978 SRB Federated Church began a unique relationship with the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. From “The Beginning and More” history published sometime after 1994 comes the following: “A member of the faculty serves the church two Sundays a month while students serve the other two (or three) Sundays. While the faculty member has provided continuity, the students have gone on to serve elsewhere upon graduation. This has evolved into a form of supervised practice of ministry; the minister and the congregation have had a shaping influence upon the students through the preaching opportunities afforded them and their preaching has enriched the life of the church.” The permanent faculty member from the beginning has been Dr. John Alsup.
In 2003 a new sanctuary was built mainly by members of the congregation. Bible Study began in 1997, Third Sunday Discussion in 1998, Lenten series in 2000. All continue to this day.
A Federated Church intentionally integrates major denomination practices and doctrine and does not answer to any one denomination. The church business is conducted by a board of six members plus a chairman, three elected every year for a two year term and the chairman elected annually for a one year term.
A very important point in the membership of a Federated Church is that no one needs to “give up” his membership in his own denominational church. One can maintain his ties to his own denomination and additionally be a full member of the Sunrise Beach Federated Church. This is a unique relationship and one that most members find satisfactory in meeting their own spiritual needs.
Fellowship and simple refreshments served after church and are a great time to meet your neighbors and find people with similar interests. In addition we have a pot luck dinner the 3rd Friday of each month at 6pm, so if you have the chance, please join us. Other events we have held in the past and repeat occasionally: cookie decorating party for all residents of SRB, Blessing of the Animals, and garage sales.