Ted Kuzma has been the minister for the New Smyrna Beach Church of Christ since March 1999. He and his wife, Becky, were married Christmas Day, December 25, 1969 while Ted was on Christmas leave in the Navy. They have two children. Their 1st born is Timothy who was born in 1975 and is a police officer in Orlando, Florida. Their 2nd child is a daughter, Tiffany, born in 1982 who has 4 children and is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Ted was an atheist during his early Navy years from 1969 - 1975. It was February 1974 when he became a believer and he and his wife were baptized in Collinswood, New Jersey. After his discharge from the Navy, they moved to Lubbock, Texas and Ted attended, then graduated from Sunset School of Preaching and the Missions Program. Ted preached full-time for a while but then was hired by IBM where he worked for 18 years as a Customer Engineer, then an Educational Writer, a Field Manager, and lastly as a Project Manager. Throughout his IBM career Ted helped various churches around the country where they lived by teaching/preaching part-time. In 1996 he left IBM and returned to full-time ministry.
To not burden the New Smyrna Beach Church of Christ with his salary and thus allow it to build a new church building, Ted returned to secular work in 2006 by becoming a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones Investments, but continued on as the minister in a voluntary capacity. The new church building was completed and the first Sunday services were held in it on September 11, 2011. The church continues to be free from having to pay a minister salary.
After graduating from the Sunset School of Preaching and the Sunset School of Missions, Ted also received a Bachelors Degree in Biblical Studies, a Masters Degree in Church Administration, Management, and Missions, and his Doctorate in Christian Family Counseling from the Theological University of America.
Many people are hesitant to attend an unfamiliar church. To alleviate any apprehensions you may have, let us explain what you can expect when you visit the New Smyrna Beach Church of Christ.
The church of Christ was established in New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 1936. The first meeting place was in a school building that has since burned down. Three years later in 1939, the church bought a small house at 670 Dora Street to use as a meeting house.
It's difficult to see in this old photo, but the sign on the house says, "CHURCH of CHRIST". Salvaged from those days is an old wooden box that used to hang at the Florida East Coast Railway station where the church used to put flyers for people to pick up and read about the church in New Smyrna Beach. The house still stands today as a private residence.
Nine years later in 1948, property was purchased on Magnolia Street, which at the time was the Main Street through town on which all traffic going North and South traveled. A new building was built and a dedication ceremony for the new building was conducted on September 26, 1948.
The church still has a transcript of the sermon in its files. Sometime later, a bypass (Dixie Freeway) was constructed around New Smyrna which is present day Route 1. An old cement street marker pillar from days gone by stands across the street from 303 Magnolia Street at Sides car lot.
In 1999 the church bought 12.5 acres of land on Old Mission Road just 1.5 miles South of Route 44. A sign was erected on the Old Mission Road property in 1999 and plans began to construct a new church building.
On August 31, 2004, with anticipation of moving into a new church building, the church building at 303 Magnolia Street was sold to a local Realtor who turned the building into 3 office suites, using one of those suites as the Realty office. In October, the church vacated the building and began meeting temporarily at the chapel located in Baldwin's Funeral Home at 1 North Causeway, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32169 until such time as we could move to the new facility.
Progress on our new facility seemed to be fraught with endless delays and problems. The church continued to persevere until September 29, 2010 when we finally were able to get the property annexed into the City of New Smyrna Beach and obtained a building permit to start construction. On Sunday, October 10, 2010 a ground breaking ceremony was held on the property with some of our members. The photo below was taken on that day. The Mayor of New Smyrna Beach, Adam Barringer, was present and spoke at the ground breaking ceremony. He is standing on the far right of the photo. Four of our longstanding members were chosen to hold the shovels and make the ceremonial ground breaking. From left to right they are Dean West, Jim Mize, Kat Essary, and Wendell Phillips. Wendell’s family was a part of the original congregation back in the 30’s and his father, Ralph Phillips and Charlie Robbins purchased the land that the church built on back in the 40’s.
The church continues to meet in the Baldwin Funeral Home chapel until construction is completed in the summer of 2011.
We moved into our new building in 2011,. This picture was taken Sunday, March 13, 2011.
In the year 2000, Wendell Phillips, one of our long standing members prepared a list from memory of those who have served as ministers of the church from its inception. They are: