A History of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church
By Nancy Turner | pdf format
The Rt. Rev. John Freeman Young, D.D., was on his first trip around the diocese after becoming bishop of Florida when he sailed into Hillsborough Bay in the spring of 1868. He had boarded a ship at St. Marks with his chaplain and come down the coast visiting Episcopalians and baptizing and confirming new ones along the way.
Having heard there were two Episcopalians, a Lt. Wessel and Charles Handford, stationed at Ft. Brooke, he stopped in Tampa on his way to Key West. Bishop Young visited with the men and arranged for services to be held at the methodist church, then at the northeast corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Morgan Street, upon his return from the Keys.
Of that first Episcopal service in Tampa, March 1868, Bishop Young recorded: “My chaplain, Mr. Ingle, (who proceeded the Bishop ashore) was drilling several who could sing in the chants, which were very well rendered throughout the service. The congregation was large, and attentive, most of them witnessing our service for the first time…” One person was baptized and five confirmed during Bishop Young’s visit.
Bishop Young did not forget the Tampa community after his departure but it was not until August of 1871 that he was able to send a missionary, the Rev. R. A. Simpson, who was a deacon at the time, to establish St. Andrew’s Mission in Tampa.
There is no record of why the mission was called St. Andrew’s but it is indeed an appropriate name. For, before there was a Tampa or a Ft. Brooke, fisherman lived along the shores of Hillsborough Bay and called their thatched-hut community Spanishtown Creek. The sunny beaches, sparkling waters and hot climate must have been so much like Jordan. Each day, the early Florida fishermen would cast their nets into the waters for food and for a living just as St. Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, did so many years ago on the Sea of Galilee.
The first organizational meeting of St. Andrew’s was held July 24, 1871, according to an article in the “Peninsular” edited by H. L. Mitchell of Tampa. The article reads: “At a meeting of members and friends of the Episcopal Church held on Monday evening, the 24th the Parish of St. Andrew’s Church, Tampa, was duly organized. The following gentlemen were elected Vestrymen: Messrs. Henry L. Crane, H.L. Mitchell, Wm. G. Ferris, Josiah Ferris, E. A. Clarke, T.K. Spencer and Chas. Hanford. Messr. Henry L. Crane and Thos. K. Spencer were elected Church Wardens and Chas. Hanford Secretary of the Vestry.”
By permission of the government agent (Ft. Brooke had been vacated by that time), the first services were held in the fort’s hospital building.
In his missionary endeavors, Rev. Simpson journeyed throughout the Tampa-Manatee area visiting the reported 54 Episcopalians in the vicinity. The first year he officiated at 11 funerals and baptized 22 persons. On each visit, Simpson reported he distributed prayer nooks, tracts, Bibles and other materials and gave “such instruction as I could.” His labors in Tampa furthered St. Andrew’s and his work in Manatee produced Christ Church in Bradenton.
Rev. Simpson remained as a missionary to Tampa for two years. During that period, St. Andrew’s increased from 6 to 12 communicants.
Bishop Young made another sweep of his diocese in 1875 and during an address to the General Convention of 1876, spoke of Tampa and the new minister he had sent to the community:
“From Key West, I proceeded to Tampa where, on Christmas Day, after saying Morning Prayer, I preached and celebrated Holy Communion and the Sunday after officiated and preached morning and night. “On the 29th of December, I baptized two infants and immediately after confirmed their mothers. During my stay of a week there, I was gratified to find the interest in the church unabated though they had been without a minister for more than two years, and before leaving was able to affect such arrangement for the living of a single man as would warrant me sending one at once. This I did on reaching Jacksonville, the Rev. Mr. Dodge having been there for a month waiting for my return to be assigned to work in the Diocese. He was well commended to me by his Diocesan, the Bishop of Central New York, and I hope to hear a good account of his work.”
Unfortunately, the Rev. Harrison Dodge of Skaneateles, New York, suffered from ill health. He remained in Tampa only six months and then returned to his home in the north.
In March of 1877, the Rev. R.W. Memminger of Charleston, S.C., came to the Tampa Bay area looking for a winter home with a good climate. He settled at Gadsden Point, just beyond Ballast Point, where he and his family developed orange groves.
Fully appreciating the situation of the church people, he consented to the vestry’s solicitations and gave a monthly service for St. Andrew’s Mission.
Rev. Memminger was the son of the Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederacy. Being of such prestigious ancestry, he was very welcomed in Tampa and had little trouble finding a place to hold his services. All services during Rev. Memminger’s time were held at the Baptist church since that church had disbanded for a few years.
After the Rev. Memminger left, however, ill became increasingly difficult to find places to hold St. Andrew’s services. As permission could be obtained, they were held in the circuit court room, city hall and, sometimes, the Baptist church. Often, unfortunately, permission to use these rooms was refused.
Bishop Young visited occasionally during these years, giving instruction as well as administering the Rite of Confirmation to the few who were prepared.
In April 1877, the Rev. J.H. Weddell of New York, but recently living in Longwood, Fla., visited Tampa and held his first service. Rev. Weddell had taken a homestead on Lake Thonotosassa. For four years he served as the regular missionary to the area holding services during his yearly vacations.
“How anxiously the faithful looked for the return of this devoted priest,” wrote Merobah H. Crane in an early history of the church. “And how happy when he moved permanently to his home on (Lake Thonotosassa), and resumed his mission, although somewhat irregularly. Only those who have long been deprived of the comforting worship offered by our blessed Mother, The Church, (can understand the church people’s feelings). These were dark days to this Mission, being refused permission to use unoccupied Halls and Rooms for service, made to feel as if a Heathen worship was being introduced in this Christian Community.) But God was with us and being led by the Rev. J.H. Weddell, St. Andrew’s Mission gained in strength by opposition and soon worshipped under her own `vine and Figtree.”
The Rev. Memminger also returned to lead services briefly in 1880.
In the diocese journal of 1877, the treasurer of the Women’s Auxiliary Society, which was organized that year, reported receiving $1 from Tampa. The journal noted St. Andrew’s Mission numbered five families, 17 souls, five Sunday School teachers, 20 scholars and owned a special piece of church property – one lot, valued at $140.
On that lot, bordered by Morgan, Twiggs and Marion streets, the first St. Andrew’s Church was built. The adjoining lot was later purchased for the present church.
The original lot was purchased by St. Andrew’s Guild which had been formed and in working order for several months. A wooden, frame church was erected in the summer of 1883 under the immediate supervision of Rev. Weddell who was the architect and chief artisan. Lumber for the building was shipped by schooner from Pensacola.
“It was a season of thankfulness when the congregation could worship under its own roof, unencumbered by debts or liens,” Mrs. Crane continued.
In the spring of 1888, the mission passed into the care of the Rev. Charles Thorpe, “an indefatigable missionary” from the Diocese of Quebec, Canada. He built a schoolhouse, which later became the guild hall, and established a parish school which was attended by children of all faiths in the city. The school began as a boys school but a division for girls was soon added. Rev. Thorpe taught the boys and Lottie Watkins the girls. Rev. Thorpe organized a surplice boys choir drawing upon the boys in his school to make up the choir which was abandoned after he left Tampa.
Rev. Thorpe also established a Sunday school and a young men’s chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s. He built the first transcept on the wooden church.
Rev. Thorpe remained at St. Andrew’s as priest-in-charge for two years and then resigned.
The mission again fell under the guidance of Rev. Weddell who, in the interim, had served as dean of Southern Florida.
In 1890, the Rev. Andrew J. Harper came to St. Andrew’s but remained only four months. He was in ill health and Tampa’s climate did not agree with him. He returned to his home in St. Paul, Minn.
During the years 1885-1895, Tampa experienced a period of tremendous growth. Its population increased nearly 400 per cent growing from 7,973 inhabitants to 31,362. Henry Bradley Plant extended his railroad to the bay city and in 1889 completed his palatial Tampa Bay hotel, now the University of Tampa. Unfortunately, the growth of St. Andrew’s congregation did not keep pace with the city’s. As late as 1893, parishioners numbered only 100. But the parish was to grow. For over 50 years in the first half of the 1900s, it was the largest ecclesiastical establishment on the west coast.
Dr. John Cross, D.D., L.I.D., succeeded Rev. Harper as priest-in-charge of St. Andrew’s Mission assuming his duties in October of 1890. He served the parish until his death in October 1893. Dr. Cross enlarged the wooden church at considerable expense to himself by building the north transcept, the tower, the study and by placing bells in the tower.
“His memory will always be revered and honored by those who were so fortunate to be members of his congregation,” wrote Mrs. Crane. “St. Andrew’s owes much of its present prosperity to the pure, saintly life of this holy disciple.”
Dr. Cross put four bells in his tower weighing a total of 2100 pounds. (The giant tower was rather out of proportion with the small frame church.) A native of England, Dr. Cross came to America as a boy and was ordained by the Bishop of Tennessee with whom he had served in the Confederate Army. The priest maintained his enjoyment of the English manner of peeling bells and would ring the giant bells himself causing quite a noise throughout the city.
When the present church was built, St. Andrew’s kept one of Dr. Cross’ bells and the other three reportedly found their way to other Tampa churches. Word of mouth has one bell going to St. Mary’s (which Dr. DeHart later helped start) in Port Tampa, one to the House of Prayer and the third to St. John’s Episcopal Church when it started in 1911. None of these churches can confirm the legend, unfortunately.
St. Andrew’s was one of the missions put under the care of the Rt. Rev. William Crane Gray when the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Churches, held in Baltimore in October 1892, divided the Diocese of Florida and created the missionary jurisdiction of Southern Florida. Gray was rector of the Church of the Advent in Nashville, Tenn., when the House of Bishops chose him as administrator of the new see. He was consecrated in Nashville on Dec. 29, 1892.
A popular bishop from the start, a window celebrating his episcopate was dedicated at St. Andrew’s on St. Andrew’s Day 1914. It’s above the baptismal font in the back of the church.
At the time of the creation of the district of Southern Florida, St. Andrew’s was listed as one of five churches in the district having 80 members or more. The other four included St. James, a Black Episcopal church in Tampa; St. Mary’s, Daytona; St. Gabriel’s, Titusville; and St. James’, Leesburg.
With the creation of a new missionary district, the women of the church founded a new women’s auxiliary. Harriet Randolph Parkhill of Orlando established the Women’s Auxiliary in the Missionary Jurisdiction of Southern Florida in May 1893. The first meeting was scheduled in January 1894 at St. Paul’s Church in Key West. The expense and difficulty of travel, however, prevented the arrival of a quorum and the meeting had to be adjourned. It was convened the following week at St. Andrew’s.
Eleven delegates attended that first auxiliary meeting representing five of the 22 church branches. One came from St. Luke’s in Orlando; two from Holy Cross in Sanford; two from St. James’ in Leesburg; one from Trinity Church in Thonotosassa and five from Tampa.
The auxiliary founded the “Palm Branch,” the official periodical of the Church of Southern Florida. The first issue was printed during Advent of 1894. Mrs. Mary W. Sperry of Tampa was a co-worker on the publication.
St. Andrew’s rapid growth seemed to begin with the arrival of the Rev. William Wilson DeHart, D.D. At the time Dr. DeHart assumed his duties as priest-in-charge on Jan. 1, 1894, there were 92 communicants. The following year showed 129 communicants. In 1896, the total number had flown to 224.
When Bishop Gray visited the church on Dec. 23, 1894, he noted in his diary: “Had a very busy day. Service, sermon, confirmation of seven persons, with address and Holy Communion assisted by the Rev. W.W. DeHart at St. Andrew’s at 11 a.m. I am glad to not the very marked evidences of growth of the church work in Tampa under the leadership of the Rev. W. W. DeHart. The enlargement of the church, the guild hall and the beautiful new rectory with large congregations and an increasing number of communicants are gratifying tokens of faithful and preserving service.”
The rectory had been built where the Western Union Building now stands and Mary Rae Thompson remembered Mrs. DeHart always kept a garden of beautiful roses around her home.
Dr. DeHart was to serve St. Andrew’s long and well until his death on September 15, 1913, as an active religions and civic leader. DeHart Ayala, an active churchman, warden and vestryman, was named for this goodly priest. He still wears Dr. DeHart’s signet ring which Mrs. DeHart gave him before her death.
The General Convention met in St. Andrew’s in 1902 and Dr. DeHart was appointed to a committee to introduce the cathedral system to the local churches and to make Orlando the see city and St. Luke’s Church the seat of the “cathedra” or bishop’s throne.
Construction on the present church began with the laying of the cornerstone in 1904. Miller and Kennard, an architectural firm, designed the building. Kennard, an Englishmen, modeled the traditional cross-shaped interior after churches in his own country.
Mrs. William Hamner remembers ail Sunday school classes being held in the new church. Each class simply sat in a designated section for their age group. The noise was quite apparent.
On Feb. 4, 1907, St. Andrew’s Mission became a parish and Dr. DeHart was made the first rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. By then there were 285 communicants and a total of 352 baptized persons.
The first marriage held in the newly completed church was that of Lila Payne Carnes and Dr. Watson E. Dorchester on June 11, 1907. At that time, Miss Carnes’ father, W.W. Carnes, was senior warden at St. Andrew’s. A lengthy but informative newspaper account of the marriage ceremony reported:
“It seemed both meet and proper that the first marriage ceremony occurring within the walls of the new St. Andrew’s church should principally concern the family of Capt. and Mrs. W.W. Carnes there are few people in Tampa who have worked more assiduously and consistently for the completion of the structure, therefore the wedding yesterday evening of their daughter, Miss Lila Payne Carnes, to Dr. Watson E. Dorchester was an occasion of more than ordinary joy to the congregation and friends of the family, who had been bidden to be present at the ceremonies.
“The beautifying of the church for the affair had been left entirely in the hands of Anton Fiche, manager of the Tampa Floral company, and to those who are familiar with Mr. Fiche’s taste in the massing of plants and flowers for decorative purposes, the result of his work was no surprise. From the hot houses of the company a choice selection of palms, ferns and exotic plants had been made for the adornment of the chancel, while from an arch of evergreens which had been erected midway between the chancel rail and the altar was suspended a marriage bell composed of bride’s and bridesmaids’ roses which, with clusters of white carnations on the altar, were the only cut flowers used in the decorations.
“H.D. Waterman presided at the organ and regaled the congregation with some choice selections during the wait for the bridal party, whose entrance and exit were made to the strains of Mendelssohn’s wedding march. During the performance of the ceremony Mr. Waterman played ’Call Me Thine Own.’
“Punctually at the appointed time of 7 o’clock two ushers, J.K. Merrin and Dr. Rollin Jefferson made their appearance at the main entrance at the head of the bridal party followed by Miss Grace Warner, the two other ushers, R.S. Carnes and E.M. Hendry, and Miss Kathleen Phillips, both ladies, as bridesmaids, being dressed in white Parisian over pink silk and carrying bouquets of bridesmaids’ roses. Miss Phillips in turn was followed by the maid of honor, Miss Mary Carnes, whose dress was of white Paris muslin over blue silk and whose bouquet was also of pink roses. Then came the bride, leaning on the arm of her father, who gave her away, and her entry was the signal for the appearance at the side door of the bridegroom and his best man, C.M. Davis, who advanced to meet her at the chancel rail. Miss Carnes’ dress was of chiffon cloth over taffeta with trimming of messaline satin, yoke of applique lace and a Mechlin lace fall over the shoulders and she carried a large bouquet of bride’s roses.
“Immediately after the short but impressive ceremony, which was performed by the rector, Rev. W.W. DeHart, the bridal party, accompanied by a few relatives of both families adjourned to the residence of the bride’s parents, on Plant avenue, where an informal reception was held. Here the happy couple were the recipients of congratulations and the ceremony of cutting the wedding cake was performed, the ring being secured by Miss Clara Gray of St. the thimble by Miss Lois Carnes, and the piece of money by Miss Virginia Wood. A very pretty feature of the reception was the presentation by Dr. and Mrs. DeHart to Mrs. Dorchester of the small book, bound in vellum, from which the marriage service had been read, and in which each of the party inscribed their names as a souvenir of the occasion.”
The Cames family is still well represented at St. Andrew’s. Elizabeth and Mary Carnes, nieces of the couple who married in St. Andrew’s new church in 1907, keep up the active tradition of involvement in and service to the church set by their forebearers.
By 1911 Tampa was continuing to grow and spread. With more and more people moving into the suburban sections of the city, a group of St. Andrew’s communicants branched out and started St. John’s Episcopal Church. The church, which also operates a highly respected parish day school, is located on South Orleans.
About this time a devoted layman started his long term service to St. Andrew’s. Alvin Magnon was appointed superintendent of the Sunday school. He retired in 1946 after serving 33 years. He was succeeded by Theodore Lesley who served 11 years.
The Rev. William Porteous Reeve, D.D., was visiting Florida when he was asked to become rector of St. Andrew’s (Dr. DeHart had died in September). Rev. Reeve began his duties on Dec. 1, 1913 but resigned two years later deciding not to settle in Florida permanently.
During his stay in Tampa, Rev. Reeve was an active member of the Rotary Club and an interested citizen. He called on the parishioners twice during those years. Also during his time, 50 candidates were confirmed, the memorial to Dr. DeHart installed and the appearance of the church greatly improved. Screens were added to the tiers of seats, the pulpit, sanctuary chairs, litany desk and lectern were made the same color as the other furniture and clergy stalls added. The services were also dignified during Rev. Reeve’s stay, according to Mrs. Crane’s account.
The Rev. H.A. Brown, a retired Army chaplain (he had served during the Spanish-American War as chaplain to Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders), took over the reins of St. Andrew’s parish following Rev. Reeve. He served until May 1917 at which time he returned to Army work. During Rev. Brown’s years at St. Andrew’s, the church building became “debt-free” and was duly consecrated. Bishop Cameron Mann, who by then had become bishop of Southern Florida, read the consecration ceremony on Feb. 7, 1915.
A month after Rev. Brown resigned, the Rev. Charles Evans Pattillo, D.D., came to St. Andrew’s. He was rector until his death in 1925. During his time a new rectory was purchased as well as the site for the present parish house on Plant Avenue.
The stone church downtown was less than two decades old and already it was inadequate for St. Andrew’s growing congregation. The vestry wanted to sell the downtown site and build a new edifice in the residential area around Plant Avenue. In 1925 the standing committee of the diocese gave them permission to sell and to increase the mortgage on other holdings to $100,000.
Rev. Willis G. Clark succeeded Rev. Patillo as rector of St. Andrew’s and brought the church through perhaps the worse years financially it was ever to see – the Depression years.
St. Andrew’s was the hardest hit church on the gulf coast. With the fall in 1929, it was $57,000 in debt with $7,000 in annual interest payments. The parish had lost 169 persons by removal in 1929. Additionally, in 1930, it was assigned the largest missionary apportionment, $2,582, of any parish in the diocese. It also owed $922 on its diocesan assessment.
The church scraped everything it had together and managed to pay a portion of the missionary assessment. As of Dec. 1, 1930, it still owed $511 on the missionary apportionment and the $922 to the diocese.
During those bleak years the task of paying off $1,433 looked impossible. Yet, at the diocesan convention at Bathesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach in 1931, Rev. Clark reported St. Andrew’s had paid in full its diocesan assessment and its missionary apportionment for 1930.
The story of how St. Andrew’s accomplished this near-miraculous feat is one to be proud of. It’s the story of commitment and Christian charity.
From mid December to mid January, the rector and vestry of St. Andrew’s made a concerted attempt to acquaint all the parishioners with the diocese’s missionary program and its importance. As a matter of honor, the vestry resolved not to borrow the $922 due the diocese but to raise what they could raise among themselves and the other members of the church. The rector appointed a committee to solicit all the men of the parish. The members dug deep, gave as they could and, by Christmas, the assessment was raised.
But there was still $511 to go to the parish’s missionary apportionment. It had been such a feat to raise the $922, it seemed impossible to raise another cent. Many felt St. Andrew’s should just let the debt go. But Rev. Clark sprang into action again. Calling on the men’s and women’s organizations in the church to aid. Everyone went to work in a colossal effort to raise the $511. Within a few weeks, the balance was paid.
The spirit of giving during hard times continued at St. Andrew’s and during Lent, the Sunday school set a record mite box offering of $1,044.
During Christmas of 1935 the St. Andrew’s Parish Boys Scout Troop gave their time and efforts and delivered hundreds of Christmas baskets which had been collected by the Citizens’ Christmas Committee to all the depressed area of the city. The troop also collected and distributed toys and gifts of clothing to under-privileged children in the bay area.
The office of executive secretary of St. Andrew’s was established by the vestry during Dr. Clark’s years. It was filled by Morton Nace in 1931. He served St. Andrew’s until April 1950 doing much to further the growth of the church and aid its priests. He organized many men’s, boys and girls organizations at St. Andrew’s and in the diocese.
The Very Rev. Francis S. White, D.D., had come to St. Andrew’s from Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, to serve as rector on Nov. 1, 1931. He remained until his death in 1934. He passed away while on a parochial call and was buried with much ceremony. A 24-hour wake was held with church members taking turns standing with the body. A very good and religious man, he was a delegate to the General Episcopal Convention for 30 years and was twice elected as bishop but declined the honor.
The Rev. John B. Walthour succeeded Rev. White on Jan. 1, 1935. When he resigned on April 12, 1941 to become chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, there were 1061 communicants in the parish. Rev. Walthour became bishop of Atlanta in 1952.
Although he was never officially given charge of St. Andrew’s by the bishop, the Rev. Canon Ashton Curtis looked over the St. Andrew’s flock between Rev. Walthour’s and Rev. Bull’s years. An American who had been living in Oxford, England and sent home, as all aliens were, during the war, Rev. Curtis conducted services and made calls on his adopted flock. Rev. Curtis did not drive and made all his visits by bicycle.
The Rev. Edward Bull served as locum tenes until the Rev. Martin J. Bram became rector. Rev. Bram, who later became suffragan bishop of Florida held a complete wartime ministry at St. Andrew’s becoming rector on Dec. 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day) and resigning as rector on “V-J Day” in 1945.
The Rev. Northey James served as locum tenens until Dec. 1, 1945. At that time the Hoag years began.
The Very Rev. Harold Brown Hoag was to serve St. Andrew’s as rector for 17 years and continue as a loyal member until his death in 1976. The high esteem in which the people of St. Andrew’s held Rev. Hoag was never more evident than on the occasion of the anniversary of his 50th year in the priesthood. A packed church gathered in 1975 to help him celebrate the event. Men who, as boys, had served as his acolytes during Rev. Hoag’s time again put on vestments, now too short, to serve as acolytes and crucifers during the commemorative service. Among the servers were Nathan Simpson, Joe Dixon and Andy Duncan.
Rev. Hoag came to St. Andrew’s from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Memphis, Tenn., where he had been dean of the cathedral for eight years. He was instituted as rector in the Tampa parish by Bishop John D. Wing.
A little more than a year after Rev. Hoag came to St. Andrew’s he and several of the church’s laymen and women who lived in the Palma Ceia area and the senior chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew started St. Mary’s Mission. The mission was named St. Mary’s alter Rev. Hoag’s former parish in Memphis. The first service was held Oct. 6, 1946, in a hall on MacDill Avenue and was attended by 17 members. By 1962 the mission had become a parish and numbered 1,000 communicants.
The mother church was growing as fast as its mission. A new parish house was built at 240 Plant Ave. at a cost of $175,000. Bishop Henry Louttit laid the cornerstone for the new building in December 1953.
Beginning in 1955 a parish day school was held at the new parish house. It consisted of two kindergarten classes and a first grade. The rector served as headmaster and the various curates as chaplain. After three years, however, the vestry did not think it feasible to go on with the school.
St. Andrew’s had an excellent basketball team from 1953 to 1957 coached by Jan Dolcater. All the boys on the team were acolytes. In 1957 they won the YMCA city championship and were second in the YMCA’s state tournament.
During 1959 the vestry and parishioners were toying with the idea of abandoning the downtown church and building a new one around the parish house on Plant Avenue. On May 5, 1959 a campaign was launched to raise $162,000 for the purchase of six lots around the parish house. The lots were obtained and by November 1961, they were completely debt-free.
Father Hoag was an active member of the Tampa community as well as the church community during his years at St. Andrew’s. He served on the boards of the Travelers Aid Society, the Family Service Association and the Seaman’s Church Institute. A member of the Tampa Ministers Association, he was elected president of that organization in 1948. Rev. Hoag was appointed dean of the Tampa Deanery by Bishop Louttit and served in that capacity for five years.
Rev. Hoag attracted many people to St. Andrew’s Church during his 17 years. He baptized 809 children and adults, presented 702 for confirmation and married 195 couples in his time.
St. Andrew’s received its first curates while Rev. Hoag was rector. The Rev. John Benton was the first, coming to the church in January, 1948. He later returned during Rev. Dickman’s years to conduct services and operate the Episcopal Counseling Center.
Other curates serving under Rev. Hoag were Rev. Edward King (1949), Rev. Warren Densmore (1950-53), Rev. Fred Connolly (1953-55), Rev. Raymond Storie (1955-59), Rev. Robert Maurais (1959-61) and Rev. Charles Caldwell (1961-62).
With Fidel Castro’s takeover in Cuba, the Episcopal church in Florida became very active in assisting and relocating the people fleeing the island country. In September 1961 Bishop Loutitt expanded the church’s work among the refugees to include the Tampa area. Rev. Luis Arcade, an exile himself, was put in charge of the program in Tampa. At first the services were held at St. Andrew’s but the location proved inconvenient being located too far from the Spanish-speaking community. Services were relocated to the House of Prayer.
On Oct. 16, 1961, the Diocese of Southwest Florida was created. The primary convention was held on that date at the Bath Club on North Reddington Beach with priests from Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee and Collier counties attending. Rev. William L. Hargrave was elected diocesan on the first ballot. St. Peter’s Church in St. Petersburg became the new cathedral.
One of Bishop Hargrave’s duties during his first years in office was to appoint Rev. J. Fred Dickman as rector of St. Andrew’s following Rev. Hoag’s resignation due to health in 1962.
Rev. Dickman, who had been assisting at St. Andrew’s while working with students at the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida, assumed the rectorship on June 23, 1963. A man with a radiant personality, he attracted many new members.
Rev. Dickman had a special talent for working with young people and brought this into full use at St. Andrew’s.
While Rev. Dickman was rector at St. Andrew’s, a son was bore on St. Andrew’s Day 1964 and he and Mrs. Dickman named him, appropriately, Andrew Rev. A. Lyon Williams served as associate rector and Rev. John Benton as director of the Episcopal Counseling Center during Rev. Dickman’s time. Also during those years, the three-story Sunday school building was built behind the parish house.
Rev. A. Lyon Williams, the curate under Rev. Dickman, Look over the rectorship of St. Andrew’s following Rev. Dickman’s resignation on June 30, 1969.
During Rev. Williams’ years, the church offices were moved from the parish house to the present offices in the annex. The annex had been extensively remodeled at a cost of $100,000 in 1968. Rev. Williams also brought Peggy Sykes, as Christian education director, to the church to coordinate the Sunday school lessons.
Rev. Williams was ill during much of 1973 and the care of the church fell under Rev. Richard Pollard, the curate. After Rev. Williams’ resignation during that year, Rev. Pollard guided the church until Rev. Charles Canady was named rector in January 1974. Rev. Pollard then assumed his present duties as rector of the Episcopal church in Tarpon Springs.
During his ministry at St. Andrew’s, Rev. Canady has led five pilgrimages to places of Christian interest including the Holy Lands and the Greek Isles where the group followed St. Paul’s journeys. His Wednesday morning Bible classes have drawn people of all faiths in the city who are interested in studying the Bible. The people of St. Andrew’s look forward to many more years under the guidance of this transplanted Tarheel.
St. Andrew’s survived a turbulent beginning with no priest and no place to worship to presently number 1162 parishioners. The years in-between have not been that easy, either. But the church has always offered comfort, encouragement and a chance to worship God. Through all the trials and tribulations, through all the good times, it has endured and grown and will continue to do so – a fitting tribute to the faith of our fathers.
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea.For they were fishers and Jesus said unto them, come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.And straightway they left their nets and followed Him.
– Mark 1:16