Roser Memorial Chapel celebrates 100 years with book, event

HERALD STAFF REPORTApril 26, 2014 

Roser Memorial Chapel is celebrating its centennial this year with parishioners. A book "Our Church And How It Grew And Grew And Grew" was published for the centennial and details the history of the Anna Maria Island church. PHOTO PROVIDED

ANNA MARIA ISLAND -- The Roser Memorial Chapel will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 3 during Food and Wine on Pine for prayer and historical information.

In 1913, Anna Maria Island land developer Charles Roser, a successful businessman and philanthropist, funded construction of a chapel in honor and memory of his parents, John and Caroline Roser. A century later the chapel still stands.

By the 1970s the numbers of people who gathered for worship each week so exceeded the capacity of even the expanded chapel that a new place to worship had to be built. The interior lines of the new building were inspired by the distinctive shape of the historic chapel. The church's congregation now comes from Anna Maria Island and beyond.

Everyone is invited to stop by and ask about what Fig Newtons have to do with the chapel.

The book "Our Church And How It Grew And Grew And Grew" was published for the centennial and details the church history.

It begins: "Back in the year 1911, the lovely island marked on the map as Anna Maria Key, situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, off the mainland of western Florida, lay sleeping in the sun like some centuries-old prehistoric giant. Up and down its 7-mile length there were only a few scattered sun-bleached houses, homes of pioneers who had homesteaded the white-sanded stretch two decades earlier.

"By the following spring however, the sleeping giant began to awaken and raise its head. Vacationers had suddenly 'discovered' the island. "There was activity on all the north end. An elongated pier was flung out into the bay, streets were cut from bay to Gulf and sidewalks laid. The jungle was cleared, homes erected, gardens and lawns planted.

"Right in the center of this activity a lovely little church lifted its steeple to the blue sky."

The book will be for sale along with centennial mugs and other memorabilia. Roser Memorial Chapel is near the Anna Maria City Pier at 512 Pine Ave.

Information: 941-778-0414, email info@roserchurch.com or go to roserchurch.com.

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