Island Community Church exists to help people become joyful, mature, Christ-dependent followers of Jesus. In the Gospels, Jesus taught two great truths that furnish the core values of ICC. They are known as the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
In 1968, Island Community Church, Inc. was established in the home of Floyd and Melissa Russell. The Russell home was located across the street from the High School property. Students from Florida Bible College had been conducting youth meetings for over two years prior to this and the successful high school program led to an adult Bible study and ultimately the beginnings of a church in the Russell home. Children and adults carried both their Bibles and swimsuits to services. A community of believers developed with “pot-luck” Sunday suppers and dives into the Atlantic.
As the program grew a small church building was leased in 1969. The former Islamorada Post Office, currently a title company, became a young growing church led by the founding pastor, Bruce Porter. Pastor Porter traveled to the Keys from the Hollywood campus of Florida Bible College for a long weekend and then returned to his duties as a teacher and registrar of the college.
In 1972, a young atheist, public school biology teacher, named Tony Hammon walked into Island Community Church, after being invited by his students, to hear Pastor Bruce Porter deliver a message on science and the Bible. Tony reluctantly agreed to attend that Sunday to appease several students in his Coral Shores High School marine science class. His purpose was to challenge and disprove the claims of Scripture, but instead began a yearlong investigation into the claims of Christ and became a Christian in 1973.
Tony Hammon was teaching biology and marine science classes at Coral Shores High School, when he was approached by the Elders of Island Community Church, and was asked to consider helping with the organization of a new Christian school. He agreed to help where he could. After several weeks of organizational meetings he was asked to consider assuming the Principal’s position. At first Tony declined, but after a time of seeking and prayer God made it clear that he was to accept the position. After resigning his position with the public school Tony began to organize Island Christian School and hire its first teachers. The Island Community Church body acted upon a conviction that they should provide a Christian school for the families of the Upper and Middle Keys. In 1973, a daycare program was instituted in the first church building. Little did anyone realize that the foundations of Island Christian School were beginning.
Two events occurred in 1974 that dramatically shaped the beginning of ICS. A gift of $200,000 was given for the purchase of the Cinemorada Theater and a bond program established for the completion of an elementary complex to be added onto the theater, which has become the auditorium of Island Community and ICS.