A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW'S
The St. Andrew's we know...
In 2005 St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
celebrated forty-five years here on this seven acre wooded tract
fronting Lone Star Road in the Alderman Park area of Arlington. In 2009
and 2010 we'll celebrate several 50th anniversaries of this Arlington mission.Where did we come from? How did we get here?
The Original St. Andrew's...
The original St. Andrew's parish was
established in east Jacksonville in 1872 as a mission of St. John's
Cathedral. In 1886 the mission achieved parish status. In 1887, a
church designed by Robert S. Schuyler was begun at the corner of East
Duval Street and Florida Avenue. Described in Historic American
Buildings Survey as "the most impressive nineteenth century church in
Jacksonville", it was listed in the National Register of Historic
Places in 1976. The first rector was the Reverend Albion W. Knight.
Many distinguished families of early Jacksonville were in the
congregation, actual pioneers in building the city as well as the
For more than half a century, St.
Andrew's flourished and faithfully served its communicants and its
community. During the 1940's and 1950's, an industrial boom hit the
city of Jacksonville. Businesses and industrial operations invaded the
quiet neighborhood. The Gator Bowl football stadium was built a short
distance from the church and the city baseball park was also erected
nearby. The construction of the Matthew's Bridge and the Arlington
Expressway further blighted the residential area, so the congregation
started moving away. The church was finally closed in 1957.
The New St. Andrew's...
On July 1, 1959, the Reverend Robert
S. Snell accepted a call from the Right Reverend Hamilton West, Bishop
of Florida, to begin a new mission in the Arlington section of
Jacksonville. The new mission held its first three services at the
Holiday Inn on the Arlington Expressway. Afterwards, services were held
at Parkwood Heights Elementary School until December 5, 1960, when the
church moved to its permanent home, the Lone Star Road site.
The mission was officially named St.
Andrew's in January 1960 when Bishop West offered the new congregation
the properties of old St. Andrew's Church if it would take and
perpetuate the name "St. Andrew's", use all the furnishings of the old
St. Andrew's and preserve all the memorials that had been placed in
The first building erected, now a
portion of the second tier of classrooms, served as both church and
parish hall in the early days. The white chapel, sometimes referred to
as "Carpenter Gothic" with its high peaked roof and vertical siding,
was originally the church and then the Guild Hall of old St. Andrew's
Parish. After attempts to move the building in one piece, then in
sections, were unsuccessful, it was finally transported board by board,
remodeled and rebuilt.
Bishop West led a fund-raising effort
throughout the diocese, resulting in its being fully paid for when
consecrated by the Bishop at the first service held there on May 28,
1961. Inside were the lights, pews, pulpit, altar, communion rail,
lectern, baptismal font, prayer desk, credence table, altar cross,
processional cross, communion service, candlesticks, and alms basins
and some of the windows that had been given as memorials to the old St.
Andrew's congregation. According to Bishop West, the very first piece
of equipment to come out of storage was the beautiful chalice which was
made in 1910 from gold and silver jewelry and jewels given by the women
of old St. Andrew's as a memorial to their late rector, the Reverend
St. George McLean.
In 1962, an addition was built onto
the temporary parish hall and St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School opened
for students in kindergarten through grade four. The present parish
hall was dedicated December 9, 1964 to the memory of Roland M. Merrey,
a charter member of St. Andrew's who worked tirelessly to help develop
St. Andrew's officially became a
self-supporting parish in January 1964. The first rector, The Reverend
Robert S. Snell, was assisted by the Reverend Harald (Whitey) Kenneth
Haugan from February 1963 until July 1964. Then he was assisted by the
Reverend Ronald Clifton Davis from June 1965 until January 15, 1968.
The Reverend Snell then continued without an assistant until his
resignation January 31, 1969. Father Snell recalled a few years agothat
during his ten years at St. Andrew's, "there was never a dull moment.
St. Andrew's grew into a fine, energetic, vital parish church in record
time and continues so to the present day. It was an exciting and
productive time in my life and ministry. I cherish the years and the
great Christians who shared them with me."
The Second Decade...
On June 1,1969, the Reverend David
Reid Damon became the second rector of St. Andrew's parish. In 1972 the
vestry learned that Emmanuel Episcopal Church near Beach Boulevard was
about to be demolished to make way for a new approach to the Hart
Bridge. As the building was similar in design to the St. Andrew's
chapel, they voted to purchase it. Moving and remodeling proved more
arduous and costly than anticipated, but, with much of the labor
provided by members of the parish, Emmanuel Hall was completed to form
a wing at the side of the chapel. St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School
continued to grow as well. A third tier of classrooms was added in
1970, and a two-story building containing four classrooms and a library
During this period, St. Andrew's
again enjoyed the assistance of a second priest, the Reverend Robert
Libby, who served both as assistant to the parish and chaplain to the
Day School. Father Damon, who resigned in May 1979, recalls that these
were years of "tidying up. A memorial garden was planned and planted
around the 'Camp Weed' cross, complete with brick paths, azaleas,
dogwoods and other plants. Stained glass windows were protected. A very
active Altar Guild produced altar hangings, cushions, kneelers and
vestments. Two antique chairs were rebuilt from bits and pieces to be
placed in the sanctuary. A bell tower was erected and a bell hung to
announce the start of services. Education of all varieties was also a
major focus. Those were exciting, constructive, physically taxing, and
spiritually enriching years for which I owe a debt of gratitude to the
many who cared to give their very best, some even literally risked
their lives placing roof beams, roofing, painting, etc. to create what
is now visible."
The Early 1980's...
Following Father Damon's resignation,
various priests, including the Reverend George Young, Canon Arthur
Spruill and Canon Walter Saffran conducted services. The Reverend
Donald S. Barrus was called in June 1980 and began his active ministry
at St. Andrewâ€™s on August 15, 1980.
Repairs and maintenance required
major emphasis during the early 1980's. Projects included a new roof,
new heating and air conditioning, new kitchen equipment and remodeling,
and retaining walls. At this time the need for an overall plan to
remodel and refurbish the facilities was recognized. Plans for chapel
and grounds were developed, but budget restraints prevented the start
of the building program.
St. Andrew's Educational Foundation,
Inc., a vehicle to receive gifts and channel financial aid to the Day
School, was incorporated in March 1980. SAHO ( St. Andrew's Helping
Others), a new form of outreach intended to provide short-term
financial aid to individuals on a confidential basis, was begun in
1983. On December 17, 1984, the school library was formally dedicated
to the memory of Eudoxa Dingman Cobb, who had been librarian since the
Day School opened in 1962 until her death in 1984. Two members of the
administrative staff who were also in a very special and positive way a
part of the fabric of both the church and the Day School were Mary
Merrey, a charter member who served as parish secretary from the
beginning until her death in 1981, and William P. Ace, also a charter
member, who was the first treasurer, business manager for the Day
School, lay reader, chalice bearer and Sunday School superintendent.
Meanwhile, the Old St. Andrew's
property continued to deteriorate. The vestry voted to return the
property to the Diocese of Florida in exchange for cancellation of debt
against the parish of approximately $30,000 which the Diocese had paid
for the purchase of the Lone Star Road property. A quitclaim deed
executed September 14, 1982 surrendered St. Andrew's claim to the
Florida Avenue property.
In June 1985, Father Barrus announced
his decision to take early retirement effective August 18, 1985.
Speaking of his time at St. Andrew's, Father Barrus says, "During my
five years of service as your Rector, I enjoyed the great privilege of
sharing with each member the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ through
St. Andrew's Parish. I cherish the many memories of ministry as we
worshiped together and as we labored together to shape our parish life
to be an instrument of Godâ€™s grace in our time. May your present
endeavors continue to enjoy His blessings."
St. Andrew's was blessed to have
the Reverend Stanley Gresley serve as interim priest while searching
for a new rector. Father Stan was loved by all who knew him. Although
officially retired, he came to St. Andrew's when we asked him, gave
generously of himself and worked diligently for both church and school
while he was with us. We felt we had lost one of our own when he died
The Next Phase...
The Reverend Richard M. Turk became
the fourth rector of St. Andrew's on May 11, 1986. Father Turk brought
with him an enthusiastic optimism which soon permeated the parish.
Projects that had languished were accomplished. Air conditioning in the
parish hall was replaced and a handicapped access ramp was built. The
chapel was covered with vinyl siding, a sprinkling system was
installed, and parking facilities were improved.
Best of all, the congregation seemed
to take on new life. More young families with small children started
coming to church so that the nursery had to be enlarged. Sunday School
attendance picked up for both children and adults. At the 10:30
service, the chapel was soon filled. An assistant priest became a
necessity. The Reverend James Farwell began his ministry June 26, 1989,
but left to serve a church in the Miami area on July 1, 1990. The
Reverend Dena S. Bearl came to St. Andrew's July 1, 1992.
As Father Turk shared his vision of
ministry at St. Andrew's, he said, "I officially began my ministry as
Rector of St. Andrew's in May of 1986. Here I found a people who were
dedicated to the historical faith of the Church and who also wanted to
grow and expand their ministry. I saw myself as both pastor and
enabler: I wanted to minister to each and every parishioner and I
wanted to lead the parish in the direction that God wanted it to move.
During the first six months, I spent time studying the "heart" of the
parish: I offered the best preaching that I could give, I concentrated
on making the Liturgy both dignified and dynamic, I spent time learning
the needs and the wants of the parish; and all during this time, my
prayer was that the Holy Spirit would show us the Father's will for St.
I was also excited about the school.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School, under the creative leadership of Ms.
Brenda Miller, School Principal, had grown to become the best primary
school in Jacksonville. Our school not only offered quality education
in a Christian atmosphere, but we also led the children to learn the
teachings of the Lord Jesus. I realized that the school could be a
prime source of evangelism, not for the Episcopal Church only, but most
especially for the Lord Jesus Christ, and so I did my best to know the
staff, faculty and children and to minister to them.
As the months passed, it became more
and more apparent to me and to many others, that God was calling us to
be a "family church." I discerned this as God's will for us because
approximately 80% of our parish growth was in families with children,
and as the months passed, there were more and more children among us.
As time passed, it became more and more obvious to me that St.
Andrewâ€™s Parish was seen by all as a place where families were
welcomed and encouraged to attend. When I speak of "families". I mean
not only the standard type of family, but also single-parent families
and one-person families. I attempted to develop programs that spoke to
the needs of families."
Families do grow and so, with our
parish family rapidly growing, St. Andrew's grew to the point where we
needed to expand the sanctuary. At her death in December 1990, Lee
Repaz, a long time member and active participant in almost every phase
of parish life, left St. Andrew's $250,000. plus the proceeds from the
sale of her house. The expansion committee was reactivated under the
chairmanship of Dick Morrison, a charter member, and plans for
enlarging the overflowing chapel were once more given high priority.
Architect Ken Smith, E. C. Kenyon
Construction Company and the Church Expansion Committee, consisting of
Father Turk, Mother Dena, Dick Morrison, Jean Ramey, Paul Stout, Teddy
Moore and Helmut Hertle, gave us a beautiful plan for expanding the
chapel. Working together, the parish family made this design a concrete
reality. The final worship service in the chapel was held on
Groundbreaking Sunday, September 19, 1993.
For the next six months, we
worshipped in the Parish Hall as the renovation proceeded. As Father
Turk said, it was "both a difficult time and a creative time for us".
Countless parishioners and friends pledged to the Building Fund, met
with various committees and assisted with the actual work. We welcomed
Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994, with three services in our newly
renovated sanctuary. What a glorious Easter morning!
On June 5, 1994 St. Andrew's parishioners and friends gathered for the Dedication and Blessing
of the newest St. Andrew's. The new bell tower, given by Joann
Tredennick and her family, with the old St. Andrew's bell and the
Prayer Garden given by the Petway Family in memory of their daughter,
Mandi, were also blessed by the Right Reverend Stephen H. Jecko,
recently installed as the Seventh Bishop of Florida.
After the expansion of the sanctuary
was completed, countless new families joined St. Andrew's. After Mother
Dena left to become a Canon of St. John's Cathedral in July 1994, we
were joined by the Reverend Gail Helgeson as Associate Rector from
December 1994 until February 1996. We were also blessed with the
assistance of The Reverend Larry Wilkes, a Navy Chaplain who moved into
the neighborhood, and of The Reverend Davette L. Turk of Fresh
Expansion in other areas included the
extensive kitchen modernization, the St. Andrew's Endowment Fund,
established in January 1998, and St. Andrew's Memorial Garden. The new
Multipurpose Resource Building including gym, music room and an outdoor
amphitheater, dedicated on December 3, 2000, was for use by both the
parish and the Day School.
What about the original Old St. Andrew's...
In 1995 the Jacksonville Historical
Society sponsored fund-raisers to help renovate the Old St. Andrew's
Church, closed since 1957. With the assistance of Jacksonville Jaguars
owners Wayne and Delores Weaver and many others, the building was
beautifully repaired and renovated. The original pews, used at our St.
Andrew's for many years, were returned to their home. Since the Grand
Opening and Dedication Ceremony on April 18, 1998, it now serves as the
Jacksonville Historical Society headquarters and is available for
community meetings, weddings, and other events. We celebrated St.
Andrew's Day 1998 by returning to our roots at the "new" Old St.
The Future of our St. Andrew's...
In November 2004 Father Turk
announced his plans to retire at the end of February 2005, after almost
nineteen busy and exciting years of pastoral ministry at St. Andrew's.
Many celebrations of his ministry followed, culminating with his final
worship service as the fourth Rector of St. Andrew's on February 27,
2005 in a "standing-room-only" church.
After several years of declining
enrollment, the School Board and the Vestry agreed that the time had
come to close St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School. This mission of St.
Andrew's helped generations of our children learn and grow into fine
adults, and is sadly missed, but the far-reaching effects of that
ministry will continue into the future.
In these early years of a new
century, the third century that an Episcopal congregation in
Jacksonville has carried the name of St. Andrew's, what is in store for
our St. Andrew's?
Under the dynamic leadership of The
Reverend Dr. Reed H. Freeman, our Interim Rector until November 2007,
our parish went through the process of coming to know our past, as we
sought to ascertain our new mission and ministry, in order to prepare
for the next rector. Now in early 2008 St. Andrew's is well-prepared
for and eagerly awaits the priest God has chosen as our fifth rector.
St. Andrew himself was a fisherman,
accustomed to the challenge of the Sea of Galilee. He also was the
first disciple whom Jesus called. Immediately, St. Andrew went to find
his brother to tell him about Jesus. This action exemplifies both
caring and sharing. He cared about his brother, and he shared with him
the wonderful news that he had found the Christ.
It is in this spirit of St. Andrew
that we look forward to the future. Come share with us the Gospel of
the Lord Jesus Christ in the family of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - Rectors
The Reverend Robert S. Snell, 1959 - 1969
The Reverend David Reid Damon, 1969 - 1979
The Reverend Donald S. Barrus, 1980 - 1985
The Reverend Richard M. Turk, 1986 - 2005
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church â€“ Assistant/Associate Rectors
The Reverend Harald (Whitey) Kenneth Haugan, 1963 - 1964
The Reverend Ronald Clifton Davis, 1965 - 1968
The Reverend Robert Libby, c1974
The Reverend James Farwell, 1989 - 1990
The Reverend Dena S. Bearl, 1992 - 1994
The Reverend Gail Helgeson, 1994 - 1996
The Reverend Celeste Tisdelle 2004
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - Senior Wardens
|1. T. Sanford Cooke ||2. Joe Maugans ||3. Claude Meadow |
|4. Nicholas Oglesby ||5. John Baines ||6. Mike Hardy |
|7. Mark Griffin ||8. Ed Nagel ||9. Henry (Hank) Walters |
|10. Edward Charron ||11. Rose Lego ||12. Bill Baxley |
|13. Bev Handley ||14 . Dick Morrison ||15. Creech Rose |
|16. Jim Hall ||17. Frances Wiggins ||18. Ernie Reddick |
|19. Carol Hertle ||20. Bob Retherford ||21. Helmut Hertle |
|22. Paul Stout ||23. Jean Ramey ||24. Jane Palmer |
|25. Bob Blizzard ||26. Marcia Leidig ||27. Mark Adams |
|28. Carol MacCurrach ||29. Janice Kennedy ||30. Jon Baugh |