WHAT IS ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH ABOUT?
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Panama City, Florida is located in a serene and picturesque area on St. Andrew Bay. We have an active and enthusiastic congregation and clergy. Our members run from infants and preschoolers to senior citizens. Several families have 3 and even 4 generations participating. We have an active choir that leads us in traditional and contemporary hymns of praise.
Our rector is the Rev. Dr. Margaret S. Shepard, who is helping us discover what our special talents are and how God wants us to work to expand His Kingdom. She has engendered a new spirit of joy in our worship and is dedicated to helping us achieve our mission—to encounter God and have our spirits formed through Christian worship in Episcopal tradition, community, mission and education.
The earliest records we have for St. Andrew’s indicate that the present congregation was organized in 1914 under the name of Christ Church. The next year Christ Church became St. Andrew’s Church after the patron saint of fishermen.
In 1955 St. Andrew’s began to plan for a new church structure with an A-frame design. The old white frame church building was moved across Baker Court where the offices and educational facilities are now located and was used as the chapel and preschool educational area from 1958 to 1972 when it was sold for $1.00 to the Greek Orthodox Congregation on Baldwin Road.
About 1984 the church was expanded to include an attached chapel, larger sacristies, larger choir room, a narthex on each side, a covered walk way on the East side of the church; the sanctuary was expanded, moving the altar more toward the center of the sanctuary, and the seating arrangement was redesigned.
In the spring of 1995, the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast initiated its “Fulfilling the VISION” Campaign to strengthen diocesan ministries. In the fall of 1996, St. Andrew’s kicked off its own VISION FOR MINISTRY campaign to raise $130,000 for the diocese and the local parish. As a result of this effort, Byrne Hall was razed and a new modern fellowship hall built in 2000; it is still called Byrne Hall after one of our beloved early priests, the Rev. Tom Byrne. During the week the education complex is being used by the Renaissance charter school, and other meeting rooms are used by Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and other civic groups.
St. Andrew’s now stands ready for the 21st century with new and renovated facilities and a fresh vision of God’s mission for us in Bay County, Florida.
A Message from Margaret…
Thank you for visiting St. Andrew’s web-site. We are a diverse and inclusive congregation, representing the old and new, the young and the not so young, students, retirees and workers in and out of the home, and singles and families of all descriptions. Some of us have worshipped in the Episcopal Church all of our lives, some of us have come following God’s call to journey to a new place. As we celebrate God’s presence at the Table, in Panama City, and in the World, we do so reflecting the wholeness of God’s creation in our language, worship, prayers and music. We believe we offer an exciting worshipping community and we thank you for being interested in our parish.
May God richly bless you,
A Vision of Mission:
St. Andrew’s will begin a new way to routinely reach out to those who Do not know Christ (or who does not have a church home). The primary focus of the Church is to minister to those who have yet to enter our doors. Each of us is an evangelist.
A Vision of Worship:
Make worship transforming and accessible, so that when people leave they are thirsting to come back for more.
A Vision of Hospitality:
Practice Radical Hospitality. Besides worship, newcomer ministry must be the most important ministry in the parish.