ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst
of them." Matthew 18:20 These words must have been burning in the heart of Captain
Edwin Smith in the Spring of 1880 as he petitioned John Freeman Young, Episcopal Bishop
of Florida for permission to begin a Mission at Federal Point. First services were held in a barn and in an attic room
at Captain Smith's Store.
On June 7, 1882, St. Paul's entered into a contract to
build the church minus windows or furniture for $1,000.00, on the condition the congregation carry the building material from
the wharf. The building has become a place of considerable historic significance due to its age and "Carpenter Gothic Architecture."
Painted alligator eggs were sold to northerners who visited
at Federal Point, many of whom stayed at the Groveland Hotel, as a means of helping to pay for the stained glass
windows placed in the church on December 2, 1883. The bell which still calls the faithful
to worship was purchased for $32.00 in 1892. The present parish house containing kitchen,
Sunday School rooms and meeting/dining room constructed in 1951 was a project of the
women of the church. An addition to the church providing some 50 new seats was completed
on Christmas Eve Day 1988. The addition is so faithful to the original that few who have
not been here before recognize that an addition has been made.
From its beginning the church has been the center of
the river community as the meeting and voting place of Florida frontiersmen, wealthy winter tourists who arrived by steamboat,
farmers, and all who would worship the Lord in peaceful harmony.
Today, St. Paul's is much more than a building with a
history. It is the spiritual home of a growing congregation of worshipers of all ages. The original congregation was essentially
drawn from the immediate Federal Point area. The present day congregation, while still made up of many Federal Pointers, draws
from a much larger area. We are a "family church" and are blessed by the many children and young people in our midst. The
most obvious focus of our life at St. Paul's is worship. Central to worship - and to everything else is a commitment to the
scriptures. Whether preaching on the assigned readings of the ectionary, or systematically addressing some great doctrine
of the faith, or by detailed Bible study,we seek to know "the whole counsel of God" and to walk in the light of it.
Finally, St. Paul's is distinguished by the love
and concern for each other that is so evidentin many ways. As the songs says, "They shall know we are Christians by our love."
Welove, because we have allowed God to touch our hearts.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is
of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7
We want you to know that St. Paul's welcomes you
and God has a place for you here.
Join with us as we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and share in our worship andfellowship.