The Diocese of Southwest Florida: The First Five Decades

Page 1

Unless the LORD builds the house, their labor is in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1)

The Diocese of Southwest Florida: The First Five Decades

Special thanks to diocesan staff and friends who assisted with editing and proofreading this book, including Bishop Dabney Smith, Ms. Jan Nothum, Canon Richard Norman, Canon Anne M. Vickers, Ms. Marilyn Erfourth, the Rev. Martha Goodwill and the Rev. Ed Henley.

 Above, the diocesan staff and bishops’ spouses in Advent, 2017 at Diocesan House. This book is set in the type style Sabon, which is the font used by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Photos herein from the Archives Room and diocesan files of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, unless otherwise listed. At right, St. Bartholomew, St. Petersburg, in the 1950s.

The First Five Decades: The Diocese of Southwest Florida

DaySpring Episcopal Center Parrish, Florida 2018

Copyright © 2018 by The Diocese of Southwest Florida

 Published on the occasion of the 50th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Southwest Florida



The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida

Golden Anniversary

Diocese of Southwest Florida DaySpring Episcopal Center 8005 25th St. East Parrish, FL 34219

Printed in U.S.A. International Standard Book Number ISBN 978-0-9892290-6-7 Here, delegation from St. Mary’s, Dade City at the 1971 Annual Convention.



he work of writing our story belongs to all of us and it never ends. No story of this diocesan community can be written without acknowledging the work of Joseph Cushman, whose books, A Goodly Heritage (1965) and The Sound of Bells (1976), lay a good and solid foundation. We are also grateful to the Rev. Canon John Thomas, CA, one-time diocesan historiographer, who in 1994 wrote a short 25-year history of our diocese. For our 50th Annual Convention, we have endeavored to add to this story by adding updates, photos, and other historic documents. It is our prayer that this history will be of use to the celebration of our Golden Jubilee. The Rev. Michael P. Durning, Canon to the Ordinary Mr. Garland Pollard, Communications Director

 The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Capt. John Hawkins, in a portrait6at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

The First Five Decades



n A Goodly Heritage, Joseph Cushman writes, “It is entirely possible that the first Anglican service held in the present territorial limits of the United States was held in Florida.” He reasons that Capt. John Hawkins probably required the use of the Book of Common Prayer during his visit to Fort Caroline (near presentday Jacksonville) in 1565. The first Anglican congregations were established in Florida as early as 1763-83. During that time there were nine clergy licensed by the Bishop of London to officiate in Florida. The first Anglican house of worship in Florida, St. Peter’s, was built in St. Augustine during that period. However, from 1783 to 1821, Florida returned to Spanish rule and Anglican influence disappeared. In July of 1821, the United States took possession of the Florida Territory and the Rev. Andrew Fowler arrived at St. Augustine in October of that year. The organizing convention of the Diocese of Florida was held in Tallahassee January 17,

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Top, early drawing of St. John, Tallahassee, from Florida State Archives. Early congregations in Southwest Florida include, at center, Church of the Ascension, Clearwater and at bottom, Good Shepherd, Dunedin. Facing page, from top, Bishop William Crane Gray from Florida State Archives, and center, another photo of Gray from Library of Congress. At bottom right, Bishop Edwin Garner Weed, from image from Diocese of Florida. At bottom left, Weed’s signature on a deed in the archives of the Diocese of Southwest Florida.


1838. The diocese encompassed the current limits of the entire state. There were three priests and 12 lay delegates representing six congregations. The territory was vast. One priest recorded in his journal that he and his guide walked from Tallahassee to St. Augustine, “We made good time, taking only a week to make the journey.” The diocese was admitted into the 19th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in 1838 without a resident bishop. Various bishops from neighboring dioceses came in order to provide episcopal pastoral care. In 1851, the Rev. Francis Huger Rutledge, rector of St. John’s, Tallahassee, was elected the first bishop of the Diocese of Florida. Among his family is a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Supreme Court justice, and a governor of South Carolina. The Civil War exacted a heavy toll on Bishop Rutledge and the diocese financially, pastorally, politically and strategically. Therefore when Rutledge died in 1866, there was a great need for diocesan restoration. The House of Bishops selected the Rev. John Freeman Young of New York as Rutledge’s successor. Bishop Young studied in Germany as a young man and was considered an expert translator. He is credited with the English translation of Silent Night, a favorite Christmas carol. As southwest Florida was mostly unexplored territory, Young sent a missionary, Deacon R. A. Simpson, to minster to God’s people in the Tampa Bay area. Deacon Simpson’s work laid the foundations for what would become St. Andrew’s, Tampa and Christ Church, Bradenton. Significant growth led to the 1892 division of the state into two dioceses. The northern jurisdiction continued as the Diocese of

The First Five Decades

Florida. The new Missionary Jurisdiction of Southern Florida was led by Bishop William Crane Gray, elected and appointed by the 37th General Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in October of 1892. Gray’s initial investigation of his new territory and responsibilities was accomplished by train, steamboat, horseback, oxcart, and by walking many, many miles. In 1894, Florida was devastated by a deep freeze that continued into the first two months of 1895. Temperatures as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded in south Florida. Entire communities were abandoned as the citrus industry failed. As Archdeacon John Weddell reported to the 1896 Convention, “We feel the result of last winter’s disaster. The population has become migratory. The losses of the people and material resources have told upon the work in most of the missions in small towns and villages having a country constituency. The effect is seen not only in the reduced number of the membership that has survived – some having gone to the larger centers of business and some having left the State to better their condition.” Recovery was slow and steady as the economy of central Florida shifted into more diversified agriculture. Despite many challenges, Bishop Gray came to the end of his active ministry with a deep sense of accomplishment and the affection of the

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Pictured here, from left, 10 James Duncan, Bishops Henry Louttit and William Hargrave.

The First Five Decades

people. He announced his intent to retire in 1913. The following year, Bishop Cameron D. Mann was appointed by the House of Bishops to succeed Gray as the next missionary bishop.

The Diocese of South Florida, 1922 After the recovery from the Great Freeze, and under Mann’s leadership, the Missionary District matured to become the Diocese of South Florida. Bishop Mann was followed by Bishop John Durham Wing, who was consecrated in his home parish of St. Paul’s, Chattanooga in 1925. Bishops Wing and Mann worked together as diocesan and coadjutor from 1925 until Mann’s death and Wing’s seating as diocesan bishop in 1932. Wing is known for his many social justice causes including his campaigns against the Ku Klux Klan (1925), the Florida Youth Prison Camps (1932), and the racial segregation of congregations during diocesan conventions. Most noticeable was his cancellation of a convention banquet in 1933 in Miami because blacks were not allowed to eat in the restaurant; the whole convention attended Evensong at Miami’s St. Agnes’ Church. The aftermath of the Second World War produced a Florida population surge that did much to influence the shape of the Church.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, Bishop Cameron Mann. Middle, Bishop John Durham Wing. Bottom, Bishop Wing, Bishop Benjamin Washburn, a vestryman, and Bishop Louttit. Diocesan Archives photo, Joe Scheff.


Top, portrait of Louttit. Center, report of Committee to Study Division of the Diocese. Bottom, Bishop Louttit.


The war’s aftermath, and the subsequent baby boom that followed, produced a great influx of new residents to southern Florida. At one time, one new congregation was being established every six weeks. In 1964, the diocese planned to go from 189 churches at that time to 262 by 1972. The May 1965 The Palm Branch diocesan newspaper had a roundup of new parishes and missions in South Florida in the previous decade after the end of the war; the scripture cited was “Thou Shalt See Greater Things Than These,” from John 1:50. By the end of the decade, Bishop Hargrave noted to the 47th, and last, convention of the Diocese of South Florida that in the Gulf Coast Archdeanery there were approximately 30 construction projects in the works. Like all conflicts, the war produced heroes. In 1945, Lt. Col. Henry Irving Louttit had been awarded the Bronze Star for service to his country. By that time he had been an Episcopal priest for 15 years. Fr. Louttit was raised up to help meet the challenge. Louttit was elected and seated as diocesan bishop in 1956. Two years later in October 1958, the 59th General Convention of the Episcopal Church met in Miami Beach. It would not be long before the Diocese of South Florida saw the need to organize itself for that explosive growth. In 1950, the U.S. Census population for Florida was 2,771,305; a decade later the population had almost doubled to 4,951,560. It became immediately apparent that one bishop could not adequately minister to such a large area, with so many people. Two suffragan bishops were elected in the 1950s: Bishop Martin J. Bram, who served five years from 1951 to 1956, and Bishop William Francis Moses, the onetime rector of Church of the Redeemer, who served from 1956 to 1961.

The First Five Decades

Under Moses’ leadership, the diocese developed its student center for the then-new University of South Florida in Tampa. After Moses’ death, the diocese dedicated the chapel center in his honor; it continues to serve USF. In 1960, three administrative areas, called archdeaneries, were proposed to Diocesan Convention, creating the Central, East Coast and Gulf Coast Archdeaneries. In October 1961, two suffragan bishops were elected. Bishop James L. Duncan was placed in the Lower East Coast and Bishop William L. Hargrave in the Gulf Coast. The Rev. William Folwell (later to become Bishop of Central Florida) was chosen to lead the study of the division. In 1969, Folwell’s committee submitted a proposal to a special General Convention of the Episcopal Church to divide the Diocese of South Florida into three separate jurisdictions along those archdeanery lines with the consent and approval of the General Convention. On April 28, 1969, the 47th Convention of the Diocesan of South Florida voted to divide itself, subject to the consent of an upcoming, special-session “General Convention II” of the Episcopal Church, then scheduled for August 31, 1969 in South Bend, Indiana. Three dioceses were created. The Diocese of Central Florida continued the corporation of the former Diocese of South Florida, with the see city in Orlando. The Diocese of Southeast Florida claimed Miami as its see city. Southwest Florida claimed St. Petersburg. This new Southwest

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, Bishop Moses at St. Peter’s (at center) with two un-named vestry members. Deaconess Bedell with Glade Cross Mission sign. She helped the Seminoles build a craft economy. Bottom, medicine man Ingram Billie during Christmas feast, December 20, 1970. Color slide, State Archives of Florida, from the Florida Memory Project.


Pictured here, Bishop Louttit, right, at Cape Canaveral in 1963 in front of a Pershing missile with the Rt. Rev. Ian Shevill of Australia, from The Palm Branch.


The First Five Decades

Florida diocese along the Gulf of Mexico would encompass the counties of Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Lee, Collier, Glades, as well as parts of Hendry County. The year 1969 was an eventful one for all three dioceses; the year had started off with the death of Deaconess Harriet Bedell. The Deaconess, who had done so much work with the Seminoles after working with indigenous Alaskans, had died January 8, 1969 at Bishopscourt, the diocesan home for the aged in Lakeland. Margaret Barbour, a parishioner at St. Dunstan’s, Largo, wrote a poem for The Palm Branch to celebrate Deaconess Bedell’s life: The gentle voice is gone Tuned to praise His name But her words live on Now that her crown is won. The new diocese began celebrating Bedell’s life each year on January 8; in 2008 the Episcopal Church added her to the calendar of saints. The last year of the Diocese of South Florida was also the year of Apollo 11. The families associated with the growing space program had been an important mission target for the diocese; the mere presence of the program within the diocese was an enormous point of honor for all. In 1963, Bishop Louttit had led an official visitation to Cape Canaveral with the diocesan staff and local and national clergy. The Palm Branch noted that throughout the complex, the NASA experts leading tours “in almost every case [they] were Episcopalians.” In Bishop Hargrave’s official calendar, he did not note his personal engagements, only official duties. We do know that the day before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 20, 1969, Bishop Hargrave had been busy with episcopal matters, attending a “Planning Committee re: division of the diocese.”

The Diocese of Southwest Florida



The First Five Decades

William Loftin Hargrave First Bishop, 1969-75


he Diocese of Southwest Florida was organized at its formative convention on October 16, 1969 at the Tides Hotel in North Redington Beach. William Loftin Hargrave was elected the first bishop of the diocese on the first ballot. At that convention, the first reading of a Constitution and Canons was approved. The diocese was admitted into the General Convention on November 4, 1969. Articles of Incorporation under the State of Florida were filed on December 12, 1969. In his first address, Bishop William Hargrave said, “We are on the threshold of another ageone that may be more revolutionary in terms of scientific, economic and social change involving not only this world but space beyond. Salvation means not only being saved as individuals from the hell of being separated from God, but also of being saved as a society from the hell in which we constantly find ourselves. Both hells are the direct result of the

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Top, Minnie Hargrave, Bishop Hargrave and children at the bishop’s Seating. After the service, the group went to the Guy Lombardo Port ‘O Call on Tierra Verde for a banquet. Center, Bishop Hargrave and the first chancellor of the diocese, the Hon. Robert W, Fisher. Bottom, Hargrave and the Rev. Dorsey Smith, father of Bishop Dabney Smith, at St. John’s, Tampa on June 20, 1963, at his installation.


sins of men.” At the first regular convention of the new diocese, held at St. Mark’s, Venice on November 18, 1969, the second reading of the Constitution and Canons was passed and adopted. Bishop Hargrave chose St. Peter’s Church, St. Petersburg, Florida, as the Cathedral. He was installed Saturday, January 24, 1970 at an Induction, Investiture and Installation ceremony. One of the first actions of the diocese was to create a new diocesan seal. Amie H. Medary, a St. Petersburg artist, undertook the project, under the direction of the Rev. LeRoy Lawson. Born in Groton, Connecticut, she spent many seasons in St. Petersburg. The daughter of the Rev. Henry Martin Medary, she was trained in heraldry by her father, who worked on heraldry for many dioceses around the country. At its 2nd Annual Convention held October 28, 1970, Hargrave addressed the first year of the new diocese, calling it a “shakedown cruise” of testing, “as it were for the newly launched ark, the Church.” He was pleased that the new diocese was able to meet all of its financial commitments, saying, “For this, not with unbecoming pride but with joy, we can lift up our heads and pray that we may be continually blessed.” He was equally complimentary of diocesan staff, saying of secretaries Mabel Rauert and Inez Eddins that “neither clock nor calendar control their performance of need of things to be done.” Thirteen new congregations would be formed during the Hargrave episcopate. Hargrave had been an attorney before the priesthood, and had served as canon to the ordinary and administrative assistant to Bishop Louttit. Bishop Hargrave was wellversed in business methods. The normal

The First Five Decades

committees of diocesan life, such as the Episcopal Church Women, the Diocesan Altar Guild and many other organizations were formed. The cultural issues simmering throughout the 1960s began to challenge the Church. Bishop Hargrave commented on the “youth movement” which was pushing for greater influence in the wider Episcopal Church. He reminded the 1970 convention that present canons allowed for the election of 18-year-olds to vestries. He also reflected that he had been self-supporting from age 12, and was by age 22 a trust officer in a Miami bank, chiding anyone over 21 who “has not graduated from the rationalizing adjustments of adolescence.” In addition, the Charismatic Movement, which first surfaced in the Episcopal Church in California in the 1960s and later exploded

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Above, the Seating of Bishop Hargrave at St. Peter’s in 1970. Below, the delegation to the 63rd General Convention. Back row, Mr. William Dryden, Mr. Lewis E. Cooke, Bishop Hargrave, Miss Mildred Gibbons and Dr. William G. Thomson. Front Row, Fr. Haynes, Dean Cox, Canon Titus and Fr. Thomas.


Top, the 1973 Annual Convention included a visit from the Bishop of Panama, the Rt. Rev. Lemuel B. Shirley and Mrs. Shirley, pictured with the Rev. and Mrs. John Thomas. Center, at the creation of the diocese, the St. Petersburg Times featured Bishop Hargrave and the new diocese. Bottom, Hargrave looks on at his official portrait, along with, from left, the Rev. Canon John Riggle of St. Peter’s Cathedral and Dr. Richard E. Phares, the donor. The portrait was by Adelia Samaha, the frame donated by students from Canterbury School.


in Darien, Connecticut under the Rev. Everett L. Fullam, occupied the thoughts of many. In 1971, the issue of “tongue-speaking” was addressed by Bishop Hargrave, writing in the October Southern Cross that he forbade the practice. “May I remind you that communism was practiced in the first generation of Christians, (Acts 2:33) but was soon abandoned.” Not to be abandoned easily was the proposed revision of the Book of Common Prayer. Bishop Hargrave said that the diocese would be loyal to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as long as he was bishop, and asked that every congregation “study the several proposed rites, that in due time intelligent decisions may be made.” Hargrave authorized the Trial Use of the proposed Prayer Book under a stringent rule. In the division of the old South Florida diocese, Southwest Florida was left without a camp and conference center. The need for a camp center became an early strategic objective. Visits to proposed sites both north and south of Tampa Bay, including on the banks of the Manatee River were begun to remedy this absence. The 4th Annual Diocesan Convention was held October 11-12, 1972 in Tampa at the Manger Motor Inn. The special guest speaker was the Rev. Dr. William S. Lea, of Christ Church, Winnetka, Illinois, and author of the Forward Movement book This We Can Believe. Arrangements for the convention were led by Gen. Edmund McMullen of the Hav-A-Tampa Cigar Company. Bishop Hargrave’s convention address that year focused on a number of priorities, including finding a retreat center and a permanent location for Diocesan

The First Five Decades

House, and the continuing discussion over the Book of Common Prayer. His verdict on the state of the diocese? The “shakedown cruise” discussed in the 1970 convention was now “full speed ahead” with a “good ship with a splendid crew.” Bishop Hargrave’s episcopate included a companion diocese relationship with Panama and the Canal Zone, the setting up of a fivedeanery system in the diocese with canonical deans in each area; the creation of The Southern Cross as the diocesan newspaper replacing The Palm Branch; and the establishment of diocesan headquarters, first at 2016 Fourth Street North, St. Petersburg, followed by the Koger Center in the 9000 block of Fourth Street North. In 1973, at the age of 69, Bishop Hargrave requested the election of a bishop coadjutor. On April 27, 1974, the Rev. Emerson Paul Haynes, rector of St. Luke’s, Ft. Myers, was elected on the 9th ballot. He was consecrated in St. Peter’s Cathedral on September 21, 1974. Bishop Hargrave retired August 1, 1975. He died unexpectedly on October 15 of that same year.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

At top, a rendering of St. John, Naples, opened during the Hargrave episcopate. Groundbreaking for the Church building took place on February 21, 1971, and the completed building was dedicated in November 1972. Below, election results in The Southern Cross.



The First Five Decades

Emerson Paul Haynes Second Bishop, 1975-88


merson Paul Haynes was ordained as a priest in 1949, serving in Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Orlando. After becoming bishop, Haynes appointed the Rev. Herbert Beck as archdeacon, who also served the diocese as secretary of the Diocesan Convention, actuary, registrar and planning officer. In January 1978, Bishop Haynes appointed the Rev. Newell Graham as canon to the ordinary and director of communication. That was also the year Bishop Haynes attended the 11th Lambeth Conference, held for three summer weeks in Canterbury, England. He was most impressed then with the devotional lectures of the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Stuart Blanch, Archbishop of York. Haynes informed the diocese that the “Future of Anglicanism is very secure and I have the utmost confidence

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

At the 13th Annual Convention in 1981 at the Hyatt House, Sarasota.


Top, Bishop Louttit, actress Ann B. Davis, Bishop Haynes and Archdeacon Beck at Diocesan House. Center, Dr. Russell Barber, at left, and the Rev. Wells Newell Graham, far right, at NBC studios in Rockefeller Plaza. Bottom, the Rev. Frank Titus with Bishop Haynes.


in its becoming stronger and stronger in the world scene.” During Haynes’ episcopacy, the diocese had several culturally relevant moments. In 1975, Ann B. Davis, housekeeper of the hit TV program The Brady Bunch, had become a worshiper at St. Petersburg’s Holy Cross while she was in town, and visited diocesan offices. In 1979, NBC featured the diocesan chaplaincy to the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus, then with winter headquarters in Venice. The segment appeared on the television program “The First Estate,” with host Dr. Russell Barber, an NBC News editor who featured such luminaries over the years including Mother Theresa, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the Dalai Lama and Billy Graham. Dr. Barber interviewed the Rev. Wells Newell Graham on the challenges of ministering to local circus performers, who faced dangers. After Archdeacon Beck returned to parish work in November of 1978, the Rev. Hoyt Massey was appointed as archdeacon in January of 1979. Massey was responsible for planting four congregations throughout the diocese: All Angel’s, Longboat Key; St. Martin’s, Hudson; Church of the Good Shepherd, Venice; and Holy Trinity, Clearwater. As the diocese grew and matured, the need arose for the spouses of clergy to organize and to find their voice. An annual Clergy and Spouse Gathering began in 1980 at the Naples Beach Club, with Henry Watkins and Bishop Haynes combining to take care of the costs. Besides lots of rest and recreation during the three-day period, a theme of interest to clergy

The First Five Decades

families was presented each time with both local and national leaders. Seeing the need for better communication and support among clergy spouses, a small band of spouses led by Cathy McGinnis and Susan Joy Smellie began meeting as a planning committee group in May 1981 at the Naples Beach Club, during the Annual Clergy and Spouse Retreat. The first Clergy Spouse Association president assigned by Bishop Haynes was the Hon. Marion Fleming. An annual conference was developed, and having well-known leadership which included the retired Presiding Bishop John Maury Allin and his wife, Ann. Before too long the group changed its name to Clergy Spouse Association, as some husbands of women deacons became active. Bishop Haynes would be known for his passion for interfaith and ecumenical work and for his steadfast leadership in acquiring a conference center for the diocese.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, the Liberty Bell replica visits St. John, Tampa and the Rev. Hoyt Massey during the Bicentennial year. Bottom, President Gerald Ford, Betty Ford and the Rev. Tom Fitzgerald of Church of the Redeemer during the 1976 campaign. Photo courtesy Kate Woods.


At top, a view of the diocesan staff with Bishop Haynes in 1976. Above, at groundbreaking at St. John, Pine Island on May 22, 1977. From left, Ann Boyd, junior warden; Tom Cowan, vestry; Bill Adams, building chairman; three unidentified; the Rev. Juan Lopez, missioner; Georgia Hawkins, Bill Peck and Chas. Waite, vestry; Jim Burry, senior warden emeritus; Wilson Starnes, senior warden; Bishop Haynes; Dean Alex Comfort, St. Raphael’s; Dave Boyd, postulant and the Rev. Frances Dauss, priest at Lady of the Miraculous Miracles. At right, Haynes at parish visit in the 1980s.


The First Five Decades

DaySpring & Continued Development The 10th Convention of the Diocese, held October 24-26, 1978, featured speeches by Mayor Corinne Freeman of St. Petersburg, the first female mayor of St. Petersburg, and the Hon. Benjamin Overton, chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court and a St. Alban’s parishioner. At that 10th convention, the diocese, with 87 parochial clergy and 172 lay delegates, approved the purchase of land on the Manatee River that would become DaySpring Episcopal Center. The chair of the selection committee, Alfred Priest, recommended the purchase of 82 acres of undeveloped land. The purchase was accomplished in 1981 for $1.5 million, which the convention “recognized as economical.” The Rev. Ron Sutherland was appointed the first director of the property and program, assuming the position in October 1981. Sutherland was followed by Mike and Margaret Rivera. On December 11, 1982, the diocese broke ground for what was to be the first of many buildings at DaySpring. Curry Hall was named in honor of benefactors Mac and Chris Curry. On April 29, 1984, the Rt. Rev. Paul Haynes dedicated and consecrated DaySpring with a blessing of the grounds. The day’s lesson was a reading from the prophet Isaiah, reminding that “my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” On hand were U.S. Magistrate the Hon. Paul Game Jr., who then was chairman of the DaySpring’s board, and Ed Chance, chairman of the Manatee County Board of Supervisors. In the middle of the night on January 20, 1988, Roesch House Movers of Largo transported a vintage carpenter gothic chapel,

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, DaySpring ‘s groundbreaking, 1982. Prayers as they broke ground for what would become Curry Hall. Moving the old Church of the Holy Spirit to DaySpring. Bottom, dedication of the St. Thomas Chapel after the move.


Top, Haynes’ portrait as seen from the front of the confirmation cards he gave out when visiting parishes for confirmation. Above, a view of Saint Stephen’s, which grew during the Haynes episcopacy, and with the support of Christ Church, Bradenton, the bell tower of which is pictured above. The school was led from 1976 to 1986 by the Rev. Bennett Herbert Barnes.

at one time the circa 1914 Church of the Holy Spirit, Safety Harbor, to DaySpring. It would be re-named St. Thomas Chapel to honor both St. Thomas the Apostle and Thomas Fluharty, the father of the benefactor Fluharty family. Bishop Haynes died suddenly on May 30, 1988 after serving a 13-year episcopate, and therefore he did not get to dedicate the chapel. Presiding Bishop John Maury Allin came to the Cathedral in St. Petersburg on June 3 to celebrate and preach at his funeral. Exactly 13 days after Bishop Haynes’ death, his wife Helen, along with dignitaries from across the diocese, came to DaySpring to dedicate the chapel on June 12, 1988. The glass from the Safety Harbor chapel was not technically stained glass; instead it was a thicker and a more robust “facet” glass, which is one inch thick, and far less delicate. In reconstructing the building, DaySpring Executive Director Mike Rivera had to remove its stained glass windows, as it made the chapel too dark to see. Instead, he used them to create an outdoor chapel. In its place they created new, lighter clear and stained windows dedicated by individual donors. Decades later, in 2017, Rivera used leftover glass to build and install a cross which is now visible on the main DaySpring lake.

Interregnum, 1988 In October of 1987, Bishop Haynes had announced his plans to retire in 1990 and had asked for the election of a bishop coadjutor. His unexpected death left the diocese without a bishop. As provided for in the canons of the Episcopal Church, the Standing Committee became the Ecclesiastical Authority upon


The First Five Decades

the bishop’s death. The Rev. Jack Iker, then Standing Committee president, presided over the 1988 Diocesan Convention. Iker resigned as President of the Standing Committee when his name came under consideration as a possible candidate for bishop. The Rev. Philip Duncan II was elected president of the Standing Committee to take Iker’s place. A Nominating Committee proposed four candidates who were interviewed in a “walkabout” on April 15, 1989 at the Manatee Civic Center, Bradenton. Clergy and convention delegates from every congregation participated. At a special diocesan convention on April 29, 1989, The Rt. Rev. Rogers Sanders Harris, Suffragan Bishop of Upper South Carolina, was elected as the 3rd Bishop of Southwest Florida. On September 9, 1989, a Service of Recognition and Investiture was held at St. Peter’s Cathedral.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Above, nominations for a new bishop. Below, the Rev. John Iker at right. Bottom, Bishop Haynes at the entrance to DaySpring in this undated photo.



The First Five Decades

Rogers Sanders Harris Third Bishop, 1989-97


native of South Carolina, Bishop Harris served his country in the Korean War as 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After his military service, he received his Master of Divinity from the University of the South in 1957 and was ordained priest on April 5, 1958 under the Rt. Rev. Clarence Alfred Cole of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. It was during Bishop Harris’ episcopate that women gained full and equal access to ordination to the priesthood. It was clear from the time of the election in the Diocese of Southwest Florida that Bishop Harris would be supportive of women’s ordination. Sharon Lewis was the first woman made a postulant and a seminarian; women serving in Southwest Florida and ordained in other jurisdictions were licensed as priests. Bishop Harris ordained the Rev. Carol Schwenke as the first woman ordained priest in the Diocese of Southwest Florida on April 28, 1990.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Harris began to address the issue of diocesan apportionment. He viewed the calculation from a theological perspective, with personal stories of his farming ancestors in rural South Carolina, where he had grown up and served as parish priest. Progress continued at DaySpring. In 1990, additional meeting rooms and dorms were completed, and dedicated as the Bishop Haynes Lodge. In 1992, thanks to a gift from the John E. Galvin Charitable Trust, DaySpring expanded its fledgling outdoor program into a full multi-day outdoor education program with high ropes. Bishop Harris made a number of administrative changes. Accountant Glenn Schatzberg became deputy for administration on November 23, 1989. In 1990, Harris appointed the Rev. Dudley Barksdale as archdeacon. On August 1, 1991, the Rt. Rev. Telesforo Isaac, retired bishop of the Dominican Republic, was called to be an assisting bishop to our diocese. Bishop Harris also appointed the Rev. Nathaniel Hynson as archdeacon in 1993. Top, Joan Kline at convention in 1988. Above, Eleanor Ackerman, librarian at McCune Memorial Library, Church of the Ascension, shows off their collection in this photo from the Harris era.


From Silver to Gold, 1994 The Diocese celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1994. In his address to the 1994 Diocesan Convention, Bishop Harris noted, “The one mission of Jesus Christ is world mission and local mission and also the mission in which we all share as a diocese. Diocesan mission is in all eighty-one congregations working together, like a family, united to assist each other to offer ministries in common, such as youth conferences, campus ministries, renewal and evangelism, education and spiritual growth, stewardship and planned giving,

The First Five Decades

and ministries of Church extension to give birth to new congregations in our diocesan family.” As part of the celebration, St. Martin’s, Hudson was admitted to Convention as a parish. The North Hillsborough Episcopal community was given “organized mission status” and admitted as Grace Church. Good Shepherd, LaBelle; St. Monica’s, Naples; All Soul’s, North Ft. Myers; and Good Shepherd, Venice were all in the process of adapting to new accommodations. The Rev. Loren Meade of the Alban Institute, Washington, D.C., was welcomed as a guest and as the speaker for the convention banquet. As part of his convention address, Bishop Harris called for the election of a bishop coadjutor, setting the process in place for an orderly transition. As the diocese was preparing for the reception of a new bishop, the Episcopal Church was preparing for an historic engagement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Accordingly, Bishop Harris invited his ELCA counterpart Bishop William Trexler to attend the 1996 Convention as an invitation for all congregations to study the ecumenical process

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

From top, Cornerstone Kids supported by the diocese, in 1992. A banner from USF students reflecting concern about the AIDS issue. Bottom, Bishop Harris with gift of a Cathedral painting in June of 1997.


At DaySpring in March of 1990, a group gathered for the opening of the Bishop Haynes Lodge. At left, construction of Bishop Haynes Lodge. Below, the Latino and Spanish ministry leaders at convention in 1992. Facing page top, Bishop Andrew Waldo (Upper South Carolina), Anne Harris and Bishop Smith at Bishop Harris’ funeral in 2018 in South Carolina. Center, plans for Good Shepherd, LaBelle, in 1995. Facing page bottom, Bishop Lipscomb applauds Bishop Harris on his retirement from active ministry.


The First Five Decades

to be named Called to Common Mission. The process to call a bishop came to fruition in September 1995 in the form of a Special Election Convention. Bishop James Winchester Montgomery, the retired Bishop of Chicago, served as chaplain. The Rev. John B. Lipscomb was elected after the fifth ballot. In a nod to developing technology, Bishop Harris informed the bishopelect by way of a cell phone, thus enabling Lipscomb to address the Convention directly. At the regularly-scheduled Diocesan Convention a month later in October of 1995, the Our Shared Vision Capital Campaign was finished, having secured over a million dollars in pledges. During this convention, Bishop Harris informed the Diocese of his intent to resign his office, retiring from active ministry in late September of 1997.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida



The First Five Decades

John Bailey Lipscomb Fourth Bishop, 1997-2007


he Rev. John Bailey Lipscomb was consecrated as bishop coadjutor on February 24, 1997 at Pasadena Community Church, St. Petersburg. The Most Rev. Edmond Lee Browning, 24th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, was chief consecrator. Lipscomb, 45, was the youngest current bishop in the American succession at the time of his consecration. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Lipscomb had been rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Charles, Louisiana at his election, previously serving parishes in Florida and Upper South Carolina. The first five years of Bishop Lipscomb’s episcopate saw continued congregational development. St. Mary Magdalene, Lakewood Ranch, and Iona-Hope, Ft. Myers were seated as missions. Several missions were seated as parishes: Church of the Nativity, Sarasota; Holy Trinity, Clearwater; St. Mark’s, Tampa; St. Margaret of Scotland, Sarasota; St. James House of Prayer, Tampa; St. Monica’s, Naples; Grace Church, Tampa; and Lamb of God, an Episcopal/

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


This page top, fire at Sarasota’s Church of the Nativity in August of 2001, just after construction. Below, Bishop Michael Curry, then Bishop of North Carolina, preaching to the Episcopal Church Women at DaySpring Episcopal Center in the fall of 2006. Bishop Lipscomb and the Rev. Sharon Lewis, far left, are behind him.


Lutheran congregation in the Ft. Myers area. Through the 2020 Fund for Congregational Development, the diocese granted $550,000 each to Iona-Hope and St. Monica’s over a ten-year term to assist their growth as new church plants. In 1997, Bishop Lipscomb appointed the Rev. Michael P. Durning as canon to the ordinary, to assist in this congregational development. Durning had been the successful rector of St. Mark’s, Marco Island from 1992-97 as it embarked on a major expansion, following four years as assistant at St. John, Naples, from 1988-92. Florida’s Episcopal dioceses have a close relationship with the Dominican Republic. Bishop of Puerto Rico Charles Colmore, whose wife and mission partner Sarah Palmer Colmore hailed from Fernandina, pioneered the Episcopal Church mission to the Dominican Republic in the 1920s through his concern with the fate of sugar industry workers. In her retirement, Sarah Colmore was a contributor to The Palm Branch. In 1997, the relationship became official, with the establishment of the Dominican Development Group, which had its first offices at DaySpring while led by Executive Director Bob Stevens. The diocese also began its Companion Relationship with the Dominican Republic that year. In its first two decades, the DDG has sponsored hundreds of parish and deanery mission trips, assisting ministry programs and building churches, schools and clinics. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 left an indelible imprint on the nation,

The First Five Decades

the Church and the world. President George W. Bush was visiting Booker Elementary School in Sarasota when informed of the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. In his diocesan address in 2002, Lipscomb said, “For many it is hard to think about the distant future of 2020 when we are apprehensive about tomorrow. I would suggest that far more important than courage is our need as Christians to be faithful in this fateful moment to the Gospel of Grace.” In 2002, Lipscomb, a onetime National Guard chaplain, was invited to give an opening prayer for the U. S. House of Representatives. His prayer asked God to “renew in them a passion for justice and freedom. Endue them with the courage needed to guard the dignity and extend the blessings of liberty to all the people of our great Nation and all of the whole Earth.” Hurricane Charley made landfall in Southwest Florida at maximum strength in August of 2004. The Category 4 hurricane devastated large swaths of the diocesan landscape, including the Church of the Good Shepherd, Punta Gorda, and the site of our Annual Convention. Convention planners had six weeks to find and organize an alternative location. Through the goodwill efforts of Christ Church, Bradenton, and adjoining Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, space was made available for our Annual Convention, which

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Facing page top, the 2001 convention had a bomb scare that proved false, but provided much drama. Bottom, two Hungarian youths, Eva and Tibor Marko, adopted by St. John, Clearwater.


Clockwise from top left: Bishop Lipscomb; church plant at Good Shepherd, Venice, 1996; relief for Tampa Bay cargo ships in 2000 with the Rev. Christian Villagomeza. A cargo ship had been stranded in Tampa Bay and Villagomeza’s ministry assisted the sailors. At left, construction of the temporary “New Pavilion” at DaySpring in 2001.


The First Five Decades

took place in the gymnasium of Saint Stephen’s. Other churches suffering significant damage were St. Edmund the Martyr, Arcadia and St. James, Port Charlotte. St. John’s, Pine Island served as a recovery center. The 25th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Tracy Griswold, made an official visit to the diocese, touring devastated areas. In 2003, the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Minneapolis consented to an episcopal election in New Hampshire over which there was wide and deep theological disagreement. In his address to the 2004 Diocesan Convention, Lipscomb noted, “Neither conservative nor liberal may fully enter into the mystery of communion with the Holy Trinity without the other. If we are not willing to embrace and make a place at the Table of the Kingdom for all those for whom Christ died, there is no place for any of us.” Lipscomb concluded his address by informing the Convention of his request to the Standing Committee to “begin the process that will lead to the election of a bishop coadjutor.”

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, damage from Hurricane Charley; Center, General Convention Deputation at Kanuga, North Carolina, in 1997. Below, Bishop Lipscomb at the beginning of his diocesan ministry.



The First Five Decades

Dabney Tyler Smith Fifth Bishop, 2007-present


abney Tyler Smith was elected bishop coadjutor December 9, 2006 in a special session of the Diocesan Convention. He was elected on the first ballot. He was consecrated March 10, 2007 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle, St. Petersburg and was seated as fifth bishop of the diocese on Sept. 15, 2007 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, St. Petersburg. At the time of his election he was rector of Trinity Church, New Orleans. He had previously served churches in Florida and Indiana. Smith had always been a part of the Episcopal Church. His father, the Rev. Dorsey G. Smith Jr., was rector of St. John’s, Tampa in the 1960’s. Bishop Smith came to office with several urgent considerations requiring his attention. The transition between Bishops Lipscomb and Smith was deeply affected by Lipscomb’s decision to renounce his Episcopal Church orders and join the Roman Catholic Church. The wider Church was confronting the issue

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Top, Bishop Smith blessing a Hispanic Ministry bus in 2008. Center, with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at groundbreaking for Grace, Tampa. Bottom, Dabney T. Smith II, Ashton Smith Williston and Alicia Smith Caputo at the dedication of the portrait to their late mother, Mary Ellen Krieg Smith, in May, 2015.


of church property should a congregation desire to leave the Church. The worldwide Anglican Communion found itself on the verge of schism over the issues of biblical authority, human sexuality and ecclesiology. Concerns over the health of the Communion were made all the more urgent with the approach of the 2008 Lambeth Conference. In 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury called several leaders to gather to anticipate and to address these concerns. In 2007, Bishop Smith was invited to be part of this conversation, meeting in Spain as a precursor to Lambeth. One of the earliest considerations of Bishop Smith was to ask the Rev. Canon Michael Durning to remain on staff as canon to the ordinary. Durning, trained at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia as a graphic designer before his call to ministry, not only assisted with parish and clergy transitions, but also supervised the details of the ceremonies of the diocese, including ordinations. He would stay on for another decade; his ministry gave the diocese continuity and an institutional memory through the years. In Durning’s departure announcement, he expressed that “experience has shown us the importance of approaching the future with humility, respect and openness.” Yet another urgent consideration for Bishop Smith was the U.S. real estate market, which collapsed causing a deep recession. Within the first two weeks of his new administration President Obama visited Cape Coral, seen by many as an example of the depth of the financial emergency. The 2009 Diocesan Convention gave an opportunity for Bishop Smith to speak over the noise of

The First Five Decades

the surrounding crises. In the words of his address: “There are three elements in my life that I hold in the highest regard. The first is being married to Mary Ellen. The second is being a grandfather to the best grandchildren ever. The third is being bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. The first two are selfexplanatory. I will offer some comment on the third.” He then outlined a vision statement headed by three selfexplanatory bullet points that have become the diocesan vision Honor our Tradition. Build for the Future. Mercy in Mission. Bishop Smith outlined the essential role of DaySpring in our diocesan life, the funding needed to enable Episcopal charities, and new, creative approaches to congregational development. The bishop announced a renewed commitment to parish ministry, with the establishment of Jubilee Centers, a program of the Episcopal Church that created and supported a network of congregations focused on outreach. Through generous

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Top, touring the diocese. Center, the Most Rev. Kathryn Jefferts Schori at the 2013 Annual Convention. Below, the consecration ceremony of Bishop Smith.


Above, the Most Rev. Michael Curry at Chrism Mass, 2014, St. Petersburg. Curry came to Southwest Florida while he was Bishop of North Carolina. At center, ribbon cutting at Diocesan House on Sept. 12, 2012. At bottom, the gathered crowd for the dedication ceremony.


donors over the decades, the diocese amassed a significant number of endowment funds to support such goals as new missions, the elderly and theological education. In 2018 these endowment funds totaled more than $11 million and distributed over $500,000 annually toward the diocesan mission and ministry. Under Bishop Smith’s leadership, two new endowments were intentionally created in 2009. The Episcopal Charities Fund started with $36,000 in seed money and distributed its first grants for congregationbased ministries in 2011. The DaySpring Endowment Fund was created to support ongoing capital maintenance and improvements at DaySpring Episcopal Center. These two endowments have grown through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal and each are projected to reach the $1 million mark in the 50th anniversary year of the diocese. In that 2009 address, Bishop Smith reported on the work of the DaySpring Development Steering Committee, chaired by Michael Kline, which would soon begin work on a new Diocesan House. In 2010, Diocesan Council voted to locate and build a new Diocesan House at DaySpring, moving diocesan staff from an office park in Lakewood Ranch. Construction on the new Diocesan House began in October of 2011. Diocesan House was dedicated on Wednesday, September 12, 2012. The Clergy Spouse Association’s organization and supporting structure has grown since its beginning in 1980. Two

The First Five Decades

annual gathering events are held and a board of officers is elected annually. Communication has been enhanced through the use of the Internet and social media, and activities to raise funds have enhanced outreach. The association provides support and community for the spouses of clergy, from the arrival of new clergy families to times of tragedy. On March 20, 2012, Mary Ellen Smith, the wife of Bishop Dabney Smith, died at the Smith’s home in Parrish; fellow clergy and spouses were there to provide support in her illness and afterward, to her family. A year later, Bishop Smith married Mary Grodhaus Wallis, a widow who was a dear and cherished friend for 15 years of Mary Ellen Smith and the Smith family. Mary Wallis Smith stepped into a role that Bishop Smith has described as one of support, encouragement and loving presence. She became active in the Clergy Spouse Association. In 2018, the group established the Mary Ellen Smith Memorial Endowment Fund, created to provide capacity to fulfill opportunities for outreach to seminarian families in our community and beyond. Following the move of Diocesan House to DaySpring, work began in 2013 on a 10-year master plan for the 97-acre campus, envisioning the campus as a center for ministry and mission, as well as spiritual nourishment. The founding mission of

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

At top, the oldest bishop’s chair in the diocese, brought to the 2017 Annual Convention by Christ Church, Bradenton. Pictured are Anne Castellina and Carolyn Ritchie. Above, Bishop Dabney and Mary Wallis Smith, at Easter 2018 at Cathedral Church of St. Peter.


At top, the Rev. Jim Hedman of St. Mary Magdalene, Lakewood Ranch with the Rev. Michelle Robertshaw of St. Andrew, Boca Grande. Boca Grande gained parish status in 2010, under the previous rector, the Rev. Read Heydt. Hedman was baptized by Bishop Hargrave, confirmed by Bishop Haynes, made deacon by Bishop Harris and priest by Bishop Lipscomb. Bishop Smith installed him as rector. Above, the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, who preached at the 2015 Chrism Mass, that year held at St. Boniface, Siesta Key. She is with the Rt. Rev. Michael Garrison, assisting bishop.


DaySpring “to be a sacred place in the heart of our diocesan community that exists to enrich and empower all in Christ” continues. On December 13, 2014, Diocesan Council reviewed this new plan as facilitated by an outside consultant with expertise in camps and conference centers. The plan envisioned a large adult meeting/worship center with views of the Manatee River and an expanded youth program/recreational area and pool near the youth cabins of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. The plan allowed for enhanced adult lodges to replace aging cabins and a larger, mixed use Program Center to replace the deteriorating “New Pavilion,” a triple-wide modular building which was meant to be a temporary solution. The report also stressed the importance of the Episcopal mission of DaySpring, including supporting and strengthening local parishes. Fruits of that effort included the approval of the new master site plan by Manatee County in 2015 and the completion of a new Phase 1 Program Center and Pool in 2017. The decision resulted in an immediate increase in interest in the quantity and quality of program offerings. DaySpring event speakers have included Bishop Neil Alexander, Bishop Frank Griswold, the Rev. Barbara Crafton, hymn writer John Bell, author Diana Butler Bass, musician Fran McKendree, and others. As part of the effort to strengthen local parishes and missions, the diocese re-focused efforts to communicate to the laity. In 2011, the diocese had ceased publishing The Southern Cross; it had been a newsprint bimonthly delivered in stacks to parishes. In 2015, the

The First Five Decades

diocese invested in a revived Southern Cross. The new edition would be mailed directly to all parishioners of record three times a year, and only include diocesan news and features. In 2017, the diocese also debuted an annual DaySpring catalog, which promotes the offerings of the conference center to both Episcopalians and nonprofit groups around the state and country. In its first five decades, the diocese has been blessed with financial resources and a theological approach that believes that wise stewardship is at the center of church administration. This approach continues today, expressing itself in practical workshops that train parish leadership in matters that include budgeting, auditing and stewardship. A Diocesan Endowment Fund Board not only supervises restricted funds and other diocesan investments, but enhances parishlevel endowment efforts with a Diocesan Endowment Management Program.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

At top, confirmands at St. John’s, Tampa on May 6, 2018. Above, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey with the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Brewer and Bishop Smith Dec. 9, 2013 at Church of the Redeemer. Below, Bishop and Mary Wallis Smith with youth of St. Mark’s Tampa at Bishop’s Ball, Jan. 3, 2014.


At top, camp programs at DaySpring Episcopal Center. Below, celebration for the Rev. John Culmer at Diocesan House, on February 6, 2014. From left are the Rev. Canon Angela Ifill, missioner from the Episcopal Church with the Rev. Andrea Rose-Marie Hayden, at center, and Bishop Smith.


As of 2018, only a handful of churches did not have an endowment managed by a bestpractices policy. Because of the good financial management of the diocese and parishes, each year since 2010 Diocesan Council has been able to return a portion of each year’s apportionment revenue back to the individual churches that have honored their commitment to the diocese. Through his tenure at the diocese, Bishop Smith has supported and encouraged campus ministry centers at University of South Florida in Tampa and State College of Florida, Bradenton. One of his first actions as bishop was the recovery of the Episcopal identity of the USF facility, which originally opened in 1962. The center had been operated with a shared ecumenical partnership. In 2012, the center celebrated its 50th anniversary and revived Episcopal identity. It was received by the 46th Annual Convention as an Associated Worship Community. In 2017, substantial renovations to the building were finished, and the diocese rededicated the St. Anselm’s Episcopal Chapel Center at USF under the leadership of the Rev. Adrienne R. Hymes as chaplain. In 2017, she took on a second role as the church planter for a new Wesley Chapel Episcopal Church, which targets some of the fastest growing areas of Pasco County.

The First Five Decades

On May 1, 2015, Bishop Smith was nominated for the office of Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. One news source called the slate of nominees “a wealth of talent and experience.” In addition to Bishop Smith, the nominees were the Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina; and the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut. Bishop Curry’s election was taken as a relief for many in Southwest Florida. Assisting Bishop Smith in diocesan work are two assisting bishops, the Rt. Rev. Michael P. Garrison, the 10th bishop of Western New York and the Rt. Rev. Barry R. Howe, 7th bishop of West Missouri. Bishop Howe, who has served the congregations at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Boniface with his wife Mary, is active both in the diocese and with international ministries including the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Bishop Garrison and his wife Carol have been active

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Above, at the ordination of the Rev. Adrienne Hymes at St. Andrew, Tampa. Below, the Bishop’s Cabinet at Diocesan House. From left are Kyle Jones, Canon Anne Vickers, Marilyn Erfourth, Bishop Smith, the Rev. Fred Robinson, Thomas Fluharty, Mike Kline, Bruce Birgbauer, Daniel Neel (campaign counsel), Maisie Reddy, Jim Watrous, Lana Fitzgerald (Vice Chair), Mick Moore and the Rev. Ed Henley.


Above, College of Presbyters clergy gathering at DaySpring. Left, at an Episcopal Church Women gathering at DaySpring; each year the ECW gathers in November. Right, Acolyte Festival. Bottom, Vestry Retreat Noonday Prayer at the outdoor chapel at DaySpring in 2016.


The First Five Decades

in supporting and nurturing Latino parishes in the diocese. Today, there are seven congregations with significant Spanish-speaking ministries and Spanish-speaking priests, including St. Vincent, St. Petersburg; St. Andrew, Spring Hill; St. Edmund, Arcadia; St. Francis, Tampa; St. Giles, Pinellas Park; St. Mary, Palmetto and Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota. Of Florida’s current population of 21 million, almost a quarter are of Hispanic ancestry. It has been said that the Episcopal Church tends to elect bishops who are strong in gifts of administration and vision-building. Bishop Smith’s past service in large congregations has served him and the diocesan community. Today, Diocesan House and DaySpring work together in intentional leadership development. The diocese lives into an annual theme, followed throughout the year as leaders meet in Diocesan Convention, Deacon’s Gathering, College of Presbyters, Vestry Retreat, and the Fall Clergy Conference. As we celebrate our 50th year, we welcome the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, and we join him in support as our part of the “Jesus Movement.” The diligent work of accountability and transparency continues to strengthen our diverse diocesan community that equips current and future generations to follow Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

At top, baptism on Easter Sunday at St. Michael and All Angels, Sanibel with the Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan. Above, dedication of the new Program Center and Pool at DaySpring on Feb. 26, 2017. From left are Bishop Smith, the Rev. Canon Michael Durning and the Rev. Adrienne Hymes.



The First Five Decades

Looking Ahead


t is never easy to write the more recent history of any organization—we have not yet had the gift of perspective. Nevertheless, it is possible to speak of tragedy, loss, challenge, and courage as well as love, joy, peace, and patience—all are part of our diocesan landscape. Bishop Smith consistently maintains that he holds his office not on his own behalf, but for the sake of the Church. Accordingly, his crozier, or Bishop’s staff, owned by the diocese, is engraved with the names of all five Bishops since 1969. Space is provided for the future. As we celebrate the 50th regular Convention of our diocesan community, it may help to view our past as God’s generous gift of space—space that is required to make disciples despite war, disaster, racism, anxiety and the lack of proper funds. May the same God who gave us this space in ages past also provide us the space required for years to come.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Artist and silversmith Marietta Loudon in 2012 with the crozier she created for the diocese; the silver crook has the diocesan seal at the center.


Appendix A: Conventions of the Diocese 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21th 22th 23th 24th

St. Mark, Venice Clearwater Point Hilton Sheraton, Ft. Myers Manger Motor Inn, Tampa Cathedral, Princess Martha Bishop Haynes Elected Beach Club, Naples Sheraton, Clearwater Beach Sarasota Hyatt House Holiday Inn, Tampa Hilton, St. Petersburg Punta Gorda Civic Center Sheraton, Clearwater Beach Sarasota Hyatt House Holiday Inn, Plant City St. Peter’s Cathedral St. Luke’s, Ft. Myers St. Francis Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Special Convention Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium

Nov. 19, 1969 Oct. 28-29, 1970 Oct. 13-14, 1971 Oct. 11-12, 1972 Oct. 23-25, 1973 April 26-27, 1974 Oct. 29-30, 1974 Oct. 28-30, 1975 Oct. 26-28, 1976 Oct. 26-27, 1977 Oct. 24-26, 1978 Oct. 23-25, 1979 Oct. 21-23, 1980 Oct. 15-17, 1981 Oct. 21, 23, 1982 Oct. 21, 23, 1983 Oct. 26-27, 1984 Oct. 18-19, 1985 Oct. 17-18, 1986 Oct. 16-17, 1987 Oct. 13-15, 1988 April 28, 29, 1988 Oct. 13, 1989 Oct. 12, 13, 1990 Oct. 11, 12, 1991 Oct. 9, 10, 1992

Female priests gather at the 48th Annual Convention in 2016 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of women’s ordination. Facing page, Presiding Bishop Griswold at Good Shepherd, Punta Gorda, during his visit to the convention in 2004, in the wake of Hurricane Charley.


The First Five Decades

25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st 32nd 33nd 34th 35th 36th 37th 38th 39th 40th 41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 46th 47th 48th 49th 50th

Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte, Lipscomb Election Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Mem. Auditorium Charlotte Co. Mem. Auditorium Christ Church, Special Conv. Saint Stephen’s, Bradenton Harborside Center, Ft. Myers Venice Community Center Cathedral, Smith Election Venice Community Center Christ Church, Bradenton Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center Charlotte Harbor Event Center

The Diocese of Southwest Florida

Oct. 8, 9, 1993 Oct. 7, 8, 1994 Sept. 23, 1995 Oct. 11, 12, 1996 Oct. 11, 12, 1996 Oct. 11, 1997 Oct. 10, 1998 Oct. 9, 1999 Oct. 10, 2000 Oct. 13, 2001 Oct. 12, 2002 Oct. 11, 2003 Nov. 15, 2003 Oct. 9, 2004 Dec. 5, 2005 Dec. 2, 2006 Dec. 9, 2006 Oct. 20, 2007 Oct. 18, 2008 Oct. 10, 2009 Oct. 9, 2010 Oct. 22, 2011 Oct. 20, 2012 Oct. 18, 19, 2013 Oct. 17, 18, 2014 Oct. 16, 17, 2015 Oct. 14, 15, 2016 Oct. 13-14, 2017 Oct. 12-13, 2018


Appendix B: Southwest Florida Bishops Diocese of Florida Francis Huger Rutledge, 1851-1866 John Freeman Young, 1867-1885 Edwin Gardner Weed, 1886-1924 Missionary Jurisdiction of Southern Florida William Crane Gray, 1892-1913 Cameron Davis Mann, 1913-1922 Diocese of South Florida Cameron Davis Mann, 1922-1932 John Durham Wing, 1925-1932, Coadjutor John Durham Wing, 1932-1950 Henry Irving Louttit, Suffragan 1945-48 Henry Irving Louttit, Coadjutor, 1948-51 Henry Irving Louttit, 1951-1969 Martin Bram, Suffragan 1951-56 William F. Moses, Suffragan 1965-61 James L. Duncan, Suffragan 1961-1969 William Loftin Hargrave, Suffragan, 1961-69 Diocese of Southwest Florida William Loftin Hargrave, 1969-1975 Emerson Paul Haynes, 1975-1988 Rogers Sanders Harris, 1989-1997 Telésforo A. Isaac, Assisting 1991-1996 John Bailey Lipscomb, 1997-2007 Dabney Tyler Smith, 2007-current J. Michael Garrison, Assisting 2011-current Barry R. Howe, Assisting 2011-current


The First Five Decades

Appendix C: Diocesan Altar Guild


outhwest Florida is one of the few dioceses that created its own diocesan altar guild to serve and maintain the liturgical support for its bishops. Early records show that there was active support from deaneries in 1970. These ladies wrote manuals, held training sessions, made vestments and served as resources as the new diocese developed. One of our first conventions was held in the Grand Ballroom at the newly rejuvenated Don CeSar in the early 70’s. We had to borrow from many churches to put it together. Today we see the results when we support and attend Annual Convention. These women saw to it that we have the beautiful, handmade and portable folding altar that is used at each convention. They bought the lovely Jacobean frontal for the altar. We have special chalices and ciboria plus all the communion linens. Our group has made many pieces by hand and continue to teach these skills. We also repair older vestments. Most of all, we enjoy sharing our knowledge and continue our teaching, supporting programs that include Acolyte Festival. The bishop can rely on our support and expertise and we are happy to be of service. 

Top, youth at an Altar Guild training session at Acolyte Festival, 2014. Center, the Altar Guild’s Thelma Wallis, in 2013, at her last convention. Bottom, the altar at convention.

The Diocese of Southwest Florida


Appendix D: Episcopal Church Women

Our ECW was formed soon after the diocese was established 50 years ago. Marg Simmons, at right, was the first president of the ECW serving from 1969 through 1972; Mrs. Gurney Sloan, bottom right, followed. There have been 22 presidents. The first eight are deceased. Edna Corey, the fourth president of the ECW, was brought forward by the national church to reform the national ECW organization. Bea Strom, the 6th ECW president along with others, made the banners we have for each deanery. The ECW has been very active, working on the annual diocesan convention, serving on committees, being elected to various positions, as well as the “work of the ECW”, i.e., United Thank Offering, Church Periodical Club, and Sarah Howell scholarships. The Sarah Howell Fund is a ministry that was created and administered by the ECW of Southwest Florida. In May 1988, this ministry was named in honor of Sarah Howell who had served as the chair of the Christian Social Concerns Committee. The ECW is supportive of DaySpring and has extended that interest and support to youth programs in our diocese and children in the Dominican Republic. 


The First Five Decades

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.