Cecil Duffee, Founder of COLW-SW, Summer 2019
Church of the Living Waters was founded in 1973 by Still Waters Developer, Cecil Duffee and his late wife Sis
The Name StillWaters came from the 23rd Psalm.
The late Carolyn Strother, Dedicating a new cross in memory of her husband, Dr. Kenneth Strother
Cecil Duffee With Family, Summer 2019
Before any development plans were ever started, Cecil decided that the name of the development would be StillWaters and that a non-denominational open-air church would be among the first structures to be built. He would allow nothing to change that plan. The Church of the Living Waters was designed and construction began in the Summer of 1972. Although it was planned to be ready in the Spring of 1973 a strong storm damaged the structure and the first scheduled service was delayed until repairs were completed. The first service could not be held on Memorial day weekend as planned.
So the long-awaited first service was held on June 17, 1973 with the first minister Rev. Don Fuller, Pastor of Titus Methodist Church. The following week on June 23, 1973 the Church of the Living Waters at StillWaters, Inc. was formally organized.
The initial Trustees were elected to serve:
- Mary M. Duffee, Five Years
- Charles R. Adair, Jr. Four Years
- Louie James, Three years
- David N. Griffith, Two Years
- Cynnie James, One Year
The Certificate of Incorporation signed by Mrs. Woodrow H Barnes, Probate Judge was recorded in Corp Book 9, Pages 264-265 on June 23, 1973.
At the organizational meeting, it was decided to hold services at 9am every Sunday beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend each year. There would also be a Sunrise service on Easter Sunday at 6am. Any other special services would be scheduled as needed. It was also decided that casual dress would be best so everyone would feel welcome and comfortable. If sports attire was worn by almost everyone, the people visiting Still Waters resort for vacations would feel welcome to wear their sports clothes to church. Many times, fishermen would get out of their boats and join us in the services. The Lord is interested in our hears, not what we wear.
During the early years, Cecil and Sis (Cecil's wife) opened their home so that services could be held during winter months. Sometimes there was a speaker and at other times tapes were listened to. Sis called the services her "Tape Ministry." Their first home at 13 Chinquapin Cove had a very large living room that could seat 30 people. After they moved into their larger home at 32 Holly Ridge, they continued to welcome Sunday morning church services through the winter months. Sis played the piano for songs and prises. She was a good friend and is missed very much.
From the beginning, many weddings have been held at the Church of the Living Waters. Some of our residents have passed away and memorial services have been held there for them as well.
In the fall of 1973, Cecil and Sis were walking the shoreline of the cove leading from the main lake to the church when they found a large oblong granite stone near the entrance to Church Cove. There was a beautiful marble cross running completely throught he center of the stone. Ceceil had the stone very carefully moved to its permanent location in front of the church. We felt that finidng that stone was our Lord's way of telling Cecil that he approved of the location chose for the Church of the Living Waters in Still waters.
If you have not visited the church, we invite you to spend some time there. Everyone is welcome at any time. Take the time to examine the stone from all angles. Just looking at that "old rugged marble cross" in the stone, will assure you that you are in the presence of God. The only way that cross could have gotten into that stone is that God put it there and left it where it could be found at the entrance to Church Cove. He has always had His hand on Still Waters. That old stone is one of the reasons that I believe so firmly that StillWaters is going to be the best it can be. Yes, we have had many adversities at StillWaters, but just remember it is always darkest just before dawn. I refuse to give up just before the miracle happens at StillWaters. In my heart, I believe that it is coming on God's schedule.
This excerpt of COLW history was taken from "History of StillWaters Resort" 1969-2008 by Kathleen P. Williams and is used with her permission. For your own copy of the book, which details the history of all of StillWaters contact Kathleen at 256.496.1980 or 256.825.2060. You can also find out more and order the book at Stillwatersarea.com
When you visit Church of the Living Waters this year you will notice a considerable difference. After 3 years of record attendance (3200 per year), large Easter services (400+) as well as 13 to 15 weddings annually, the Board of Trustees of the church decided to find a solution to accommodate our continued growth. That solution involved expanding our seating capacity and renovate areas.
Construction at the church began in December 2018 and was completed March 2019. The contractor for this project was Mike Kane. His own wedding was held at this church 16 years ago. An additional 16 feet was added to the rear of the main structure, maintaining the existing A-frame look. This allowed seating for an additional 100 people under cover. The roof was replaced with a new metal roof. The front stage was extended 5 feet on the sides and replaced with composite board. Also, the sea-wall and boardwalk was repaired with new decking and bumpers installed to allow more boaters to attend services.