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The Full Story

Joy and Jack Harris

Jack and Joy at home

My husband and I have been traveling around the state of Florida for the past few years, capturing photos of the most beautiful and historic churches throughout the state. We’ve compiled our photos into a book, Historic Florida Churches, which showcases the beauty and history of these amazing places of worship.
This book is a celebration of the history and culture of Florida’s churches, and a reminder of the importance of preserving our state’s architectural heritage. We hope it inspires all readers to explore the beauty and complexity of these architectural wonders.

Coming Soon

 Historic Florida Churches takes readers on a journey across Florida to discover the vibrant history and culture behind many churches. In this guidebook, we have compiled a collection of photos taken from our travels across the state along with supplemental photos from the Florida Archives.. We hope our readers will not only learn the fascinating history behind these churches, but also gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of Florida. As my husband Jack and I traveled throughout the state it was almost as if the hand of God was leading our way: the weather, the people, the traffic, were all in our favor as we searched for picture perfect moments to take photos of Florida’s historic churches. Well over 200 years have passed since the first church was established in Florida and we visited over 200 churches.

Homeland Church

Get to Know Us

   Joy Sheffield Harris was born in Tripoli, Libya, on Wheelus Field Air Base and moved to Florida just in time to attend Humpty Dumpty Kindergarten and later Florida State University. She went on to become a home economics and history teacher at her alma mater, Rutherford High School, in Panama City and later a marketing specialist for both the Florida Department of Natural Resources and the Florida Poultry Federation.  There she found her passion for food and history.

   Joy met her husband, Jack, while promoting Florida’s natural bounty on television in the early ’80s. After they were married, they owned a restaurant with friends called Harris and Company, and in 2010, Jack and Joy co-wrote Easy Breezy Florida Cooking. Their son, Jackson, works in the aviation industry, and when he comes to visit, they all enjoy traveling throughout the state of Florida. 

   In 2014, she wrote A Culinary History of Florida and in 2017 Florida Sweets. Her most recent book The Florida Cracker Cookbook was published in 2019 and won the Gold Medal in the 2019 Florida Book Awards Cooking Category. Although born outside of Florida, Joy claims her 6th generation Cracker status since she was naturalized in Pensacola when her family moved back to the states. She and Jackson have given Jack the honorary title of Cracker-in-Waiting since he hails from West Virginia as a high-altitude Cracker.

   Joy is working on her fourth book for The History Press, Historic Florida Churches, with a publication date set for some time later in 2023.  Some historic churches appear largely unchanged. Some have been moved and others removed, some remodeled others extensively modified. Some are lost, only to be found in photographs and the pages of her book.

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