Who We Are
The following letter is reprinted from the "We are Community" book that was assembled as a creative project as part of the 52nd Diocesan Convention:
I love Church history! I especially love the history of the Church in South Florida and, in particular, the history of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. When I was a seminary student, I was required to write a paper on a significant leader from my sending diocese. I chose to write about the Rev. William Crane Gray - a priest from Tennessee who was elected in 1892 to serve as the first missionary bishop of the new jurisdiction of Southern Florida. As a seminarian, I wouldn’t have even assumed that one day I would have the profound honor of following in his footsteps.
The congregations that were transferred to Bishop Gray’s jurisdiction included churches that in time became churches in the Diocese of Southwest Florida. Those long serving congregations are: St. Edmund’s, Arcadia; St. John’s, Brooksville; Church of the Ascension, Clearwater; St. Luke’s, Ft. Myers; St. Mary’s, Dade City; St. Bartholomew’s, St. Petersburg; St. Andrew’s and St. James in Tampa; and mission stations in Punta Gorda and Tarpon Springs.
These people of faith built a strong Episcopal church in South Florida. In 1969 the Diocese of Florida was divided into the dioceses of Central Florida, Southeast Florida, and our own cherished Diocese of Southwest Florida. They were faithful in and for the Church, obeying and living the love of Jesus Christ through times of War, Recession, Pandemic, and tremendous population growth.
And so are we - And so are we.
THE RT. REV. DABNEY T. SMITH
FIFTH BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF
*The above parish guide was created for the 2020 virtual convention. Additional parishes have been added since. Please view their websites below:
Grace Episcopal Church, Tampa - Gracechurchtampapalms.org
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Clearwater - Holytrinityclw.org
Lamb of God Church, Ft. Myers - Lambofgodchurch.net
Parrish Episcopal Church, Parrish - Parrishepiscopalchurch.org
St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Tampa - Stclement.net
St. Edmund’s, The Martyr Church, Arcadia - Episcopalarcadiafl.com
St. Nathaniel’s Episcopal Church, North Port - Stnathaniels.dioswfl.org