History of Holy Faith
Holy Faith Episcopal Church is located on the East side of US#1 just north of the River Park -Port. St. Lucie residential area. The seeds were sown for the creation of this congregation early in 1964 when Mr. & Mrs. David Schenandoah wrote to the Episcopal Bishop of South Florida requesting a Mission to be established in Port St. Lucie. In August, the Suffragan Bishop of South Florida, The Rt. Rev. James L. Duncan, D.D., of Miami, held a meeting at the Port St. Lucie Marina, at which 17 people attended, although the names of 35 interested persons were produced. Mr. & Mrs. John Herrmann agreed to contact all known Episcopalians in the area, and consent was given by the Bishop for the Mission to be formed.
On September 13th, 1964, the first service was held at the Port St. Lucie Marina under the newly appointed Vicar, the Reverend Marland W. Zimmermann. Mr. Gilbert C. Heine constructed a portable altar and lectern, and these were set up in the Marina every Sunday for the next three years, following the custom established by the Methodist, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Churches, all of which had received the hospitality of General Development Corporations Recreation Center. By October 25th, a Women’s Auxiliary had been established and has filled an essential place in the life of the parish since that time, not to mention the remarkable fund-raising abilities of the lovely ladies.
Mr. Walter V. Harrison was the first Senior Warden appointed for the congregation, a position he held until his term expired after the church had been built. During his term of office, many sites for a future church were inspected, but it was found that the land in the General Development area had too high a value for the financial ability of Holy Faith congregation. Finally, at the end of 1966, the former Hamby Nursery property became available, and since that property was large enough to build a church, and also had a substantial residence towards the rear of the property, the congregation purchased the property and sold the vicarage which was located in the residential area.
Father Zimmermann resigned in January 1967 to join his son in California. The congregation was served temporarily by Father Duane Fifer of Indialantic, who was still meeting in the Marina for worship every Sunday. Father Martin J. Campbell was appointed Vicar on June 15th, 1967, and as soon as he had settled in; the congregation began active steps to build a church. The Vicar and Mr. David Shenandoah designed a building that would fill the needs of the congregation and yet not be financially extravagant. The aim was to combine tradition and dignity with a utilitarian structure with no wasteful frills. The resultant structure is one of which the entire congregation is proud.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on October 7th, 1967, and the church was opened for worship Christmas Eve, 1967, although the pews did not arrive until mid-January. The Ladies of the Church provided all the kitchen fixtures, appliances, and furnishings. All items of furniture in the church were given as memorials by the members and friends. On the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 1968, the church was duly dedicated by the Right Reverend Wallace E. Conkling, S.T.D., retired Bishop of Chicago, who lives in Vero Beach.
Mr. Robert A. Allan, Sr. was appointed Senior Warden for 1968, and in addition to his administrative responsibilities, the congregation will be forever grateful for the many, many hours of hard work he put in establishing a sprinkler system for the landscaping of the church. It was with great sadness that in the week after Christmas, Holy Faith lost both Walter V. Harrison, first Senior Warden, and Robert A. Allan, Sr., Senior Warden for the year 1968. Both men had devoted all their time and efforts to the work and ministry of Holy Faith Episcopal Church. A fund was set up to establish a suitable memorial.
Like much of Port St. Lucie, Holy Faith Episcopal Church has progressed steadily rather than by leaps and bounds. Whereas on 17 people turned out for the first visit of the Bishop, there were 114 in Church and 71 in the evening. Sunday Service was at 10:00 a.m., with weekday Holy Communion Services on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and also on Holy Days. Meanwhile, the congregation looked forward to a new era, as Father Campbell left the community in May to accept the position of Vicar of St. Mary’s Church in Palmetto, Florida. The congregation looked forward to further progress under a new priest with the assistance of the Vestry Committee, whose members were Mr. James W. Piowaty, Senior Warden; Mr. David Schenandoah, Junior Warden; Mr. Gilbert C. Heine, Parish Secretary; Mr. John Herrmann; Mr. Frank Cappy and Mr. Daniel Lepore, former parish Treasurer, completing the committee.
Over the years, we expanded our original building, added an extension to the parish hall, and a columbarium situated at the south side of the church. Later we also added a parish center to accommodate our pot-luck dinners and a place for social events both church-related and lease to Community Service organizations.
In 1998, with the help of the Diocese, we started a Hispanic service, led by Fr. Jose (Pepe) Fernandez. In 2001 three acres of land were added to the existing church property, and although that property has not yet been developed, we anticipate future growth on it.
The spiritual life of Holy Faith Episcopal Church has been under the guidance of the Holy Spirit over the years, as well as the spiritual leadership of excellent priests and deacons; Fr. William Smith, Rev. Deacon Jamie Turner, Fr. Orlando J. Addison, present vicar and Rev Deacon Allardyce Armstrong (Deche).
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