OUR MISSION STATEMENT

The Mission of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is to bring people and God together through Jesus Christ.  
We seek:

    +  To be a sharing, caring and welcoming Parish;
    +  To provide meaningful worship experiences;
    +  To provide Pastoral guidance in times of illness and grief   and to share in the celebrations of life;
    +  To respond to human needs in Boca Grande , our Diocese, Florida and elsewhere in the world;
    +  To offer Christian education and growth opportunities;
    +  To be active in the Boca Grande community and ecumenical affairs.






OUR MINISTRY GOALS

As a community of Christian believers who gather to worship God and serve others, 
we affirm the following goals:

  • To be welcoming
  • To provide a rich worship experience
  • To gather and encourage fellowship, education, and teaching
  • To deepen our service to others
  • To share out time, talent, and resources with others in Southwest Florida and elsewhere




OUR HISTORY

 

In 1892 the Episcopal Diocese of Florida was split and the Missionary District of Southern Florida was created;   Bishop William Crane Gray was the new District's first Bishop.
 
Bishop Gray first visited Boca Grande December 19, 1908.  He noted in his diary:
Had dinner on the boat, then went ashore and over the grounds where future Boca Grande City is to be the terminus of this new railway, at this remarkably fine harbor.
 
The Bishop's first Boca Grande service was Evening Prayer, at 7:30 pm March 21, 1911, in the railroad depot which was borrowed for the occasion.  All who could crowd in were there, and many on the outside.  I raised the tunes, and the singing was hearty.  It was an inspiring service.
 
In 1912 the church mission in Boca Grande became officially listed in the Diocesan Convention Journal.  
 
The first building used by the church beginning circa 1909  had been built somewhere in downtown Boca Grande.  It was one of the railroad houses built by the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad to house its workers.  Converted to use as a church, it was moved in 1916 to its current location on the corner of Gilchrist and Fourth Streets (Lot 1, Block16, purchased wisely that year for $1).
 
In the early years St. Andrew's shared a Priest with St. Edmund's  in Arcadia.  By the 1960s St. Andrew's members began to see the potential benefits of choosing their own minister, and having some control over their Priests'  tenure.





An Unorganized Mission -- A Historical Perspective


Identified technically within the national church as an  Unorganized Mission, St. Andrew's was not only the oldest but undoubtedly the most "organized"  Unorganized Mission the Diocese had known.  The unifying virtue of its 103-year existence is its ongoing devotion to worship. ..from the first Evening Prayer in the Depot forward.
 
In 1971 the Vestry purchased and furnished  the little house next door as St. Andrew's      Vicarage.  Set on two attractive lots, the objective was to secure the tenure of their Priest and take control over selection and hiring of future Vicars.   Cost:  $35,000.
 
To make room for a growing congregation, 20 feet were added to the east end of the church in 1980.  Capacity became 132; cost was $42,000.
 
In 1988 David Moore and his artisans hand-crafted a new pipe organ for St. Andrew's, based on specifications of the talented husband-and-wife organist team of Fenner and Jane Douglass.   The happy congregation felt it was well worth the $69,000 cost  and expected it to last at least 100 years. 
 
The old organ, once dedicated to Timmy Smith's memory, was given to the local Methodist Church.  A former professional entertainer, Smith had served as St. Andrew's organist for many years.  She knew her congregation  so well she would welcome their arrival for Sunday services with songs of their college alma mater, played with great vim and vigor.
 
Another Smith--Peg,. no relation to Timmy--took over  music leadership when the Douglass team departed.  Highly accomplished  Peg Smith--having taken St. Andrew's music program to its highest level ever--contributes significantly to St. Andrew's services. 


 




Year-Round Service

 

From its 1908 beginning, St. Andrew's was an unincorporated seasonal mission, employing part-time clergy.   It was closed during off-season.  In the early 1970s the Diocese began  discussing St. Andrew's parish status and year-round services.  Encouraged by Bishop John B. Lipscomb in this regard, Father Julian Cave was hired in 1999 as the first full-time Vicar.   To the surprise of St. Andrew's leadership of the time, year-round service has proved to be important.  And costly.
 
Currently, the  church is keeping up with changing times and planning for issues pertaining to growth and expansion.  Demonstrating considerable interest and financial strength, parishoners contributed and pledged  $3,250,000 during the 2008-10 crisis to provide a rehabbed larger church with offices, Chapter House and Vicarage, constructed in '09-'10.
 
For much of St. Andrew's existence, the church struggled with finances.  In the late 1960s it had $500 in the bank.  In the '70s funds grew to over $100,000.  At end of 2010 the parish endowment was approximately $1,000,000 with 2011 operations budgeted at $365,000.
 
Father Read Heydt and part-time season Associate Cappy Warner were instrumental in overseeing parish status granted by the Diocese of Southwest Florida.  A special Consecration service was held, February 14, 2010.  No long-term debt, new facilities were fully funded, a small remaining construction loan is underwritten fully by pledges. 

Worship services continue under the spiritual leadership of Mother Michelle Robertshaw who was called to serve as our full-time rector on September 01, 2012.