+ We are an Episcopal Church, a local congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida.
+ We are an Anglican Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion of 85 million Christians meeting throughout the world and realted through communion with our Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
+ We are catholic, meaning that we join with faithful Christians worldwide in the confession and profession of the One Faith and with One Lord, Jesus.
HISTORY OF ST. MARY’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The year, 1964, was an exciting and tumultuous year.Among the hundreds of events: Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize, plans for the World Trade Center were announced, Ford introduced the Mustang.It was the year of STAR TREK, space exploration, nuclear testing and so much more.But nothing affected the residents of Palmetto and its environs more than Joseph K. Singletary giving Christ Church in Bradenton $20,000 to establish a mission.St. Mary’s was about to be born.
Six months later, the Suffragen Bishop, William L. Hargrave met with Reverend Fred T. Kyle, and his Junior Warden, H. C. (Tom) Slaughter, and thirty-two Episcopal communicants from the Palmetto area, all but two of whom were members of Christ Church.The air was electric in the meeting room of the Palmetto Federal Savings and Loan with the discussion of the growth of Palmetto and its neighboring communities.But the climactic moment was reached when the Bishop announced that Mr. And Mrs. Harry Foster of Clearwater had offered to provide the funds to enable the purchase of property on which to build the church.Their only request was that it be named “St. Mary’s”.
The first worship service was held in the basement of the old Palmetto library October 17, 1965. Two weeks later, the congregation had already grown too large for the library and moved to the Palmetto Women’s Club.January 27,1966, the Diocese approved the plan of the newly incorporated St. Mary’s to purchase five acres located on Tenth Street West.Two months after that, Father Charles Fulton was chosen as Vicar, and May 12, 1966, at the Diocesan Convention, St. Mary’s was accepted as an Organized Mission.St. Mary’s was on its way!
The Grand Ground Breaking Ceremony took place on October15, 1966, and almost exactly nine months later, the Church and Vicarage were completed.On Saturday, July 14th, the furnishings arrived two days before they were expected.Monday was a frenetic moving day with station wagons, trucks, and a U-haul transporting hundreds of items from numerous homes, garages, and other storage places.But all of the blood, sweat, and tears paid off.Two hundred and twenty exultant souls attended the first worship service in the new church on July twenty third at nine o’clock in the morning.The air was euphoric as Father Fulton conducted the service from the magnificent altar stone estimated to be two million years old and from our own Manatee County.Architect, William Brainard had designed St. Mary’s after the earliest Anglican sanctuaries. The result was beautiful.Yet, there was still so much to be done!Under the leadership of Father Fulton, a dedicated vestry and zealous congregation bent their backs and opened their purses to accomplish wondrous tasks in a very short time.