Holy Eucharist

Holy Eucharist


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A history of our Church starts with who we are. The Episcopal Church is a Christian denomination, and part of the Church that Jesus Christ founded and promised to build. Our ethnic roots are in the Church or England. The world-wide nature of our movement makes us an active part of the Anglican Communion, whose titular head is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anglicans were among the first English people to come to the New World, where they established many congregations. "The Protestant Episcopal Church In the United States of America" (our full title) was established, for obvious reasons, shortly after the Revolution. Most of the authors and signers of our nations founding documents were Episcopalians, so it was natural for them to establish our Church polity to mirror that of the federal government.

Territories, like Florida, were too sparsely populated to have a diocese with its own bishop. For decades Florida Episcopalians were served "by the Bishop of Boston, who appointed priests to serve the scattered congregations.

A major step was taken on February 9, 1835. On that day the Territorial Legislature enacted a bill establishing our congregation in old "St. Joseph." We were one of the seven original congregations which made up the Diocese of Florida.

In those years, our city was expected to rival New Orleans as a trade center. It was such an important place that in 1835 it was selected to be the site for the writing of our State's first constitution. The city was damaged by storms, but its coup de grace was administered by the yellow fever epidemic. The city withered to little more than a fishing village. The Episcopal congregations suffered too, it was reduced to a shadow of its former self.

Episcopal services were irregular until 1931 when the church was reorganized. The congregation met in a log structure, on 7th Street, behind what is now the Burger King. In 1938 a Church building was erected across the street from the log cabin. This tiny edifice was occupied until Ash Wednesday, 1994.

The congregation now occupies a comfortable, Iarge complex. The Nave of the Church is in traditional Anglican form, but it, and the rest of the structure is equipped with every modern convenience. It sits on a five acre lot at the comer of Garrison and 22nd Street. This is adjacent to the historic St Joseph Cemetery, which is close to the Church's original 1830 location.

The Lord has instilled foresight, courage, and tenacity in successive generations of our congregation. He has led us to take His Great Commission seriously. Today we gratefully thank Almighty God for his countless blessings. We see ourselves as a small part of His plan. This makes us pray that He will use our generation to maintain the right attitude, identify important needs, and set virtuous goals for coming generations. We thank The Lord Jesus Christ for his guidance, for his enabling Spirit, and for allowing us to be His laborers as He continues to build His Church.