Who We Are
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has been worshiping and serving our Lord in Plant City since 1890. We are members of the Episcopal Church, which traces its heritage from the English Reformation of the 16th century, through colonial times and the Revolutionary War and to the present day. The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion that seeks the middle way, embracing both catholic and protestant ideas.
The Ecclesia at Saint Peter’s gathers for a purpose—to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to worship God as members of his one, holy catholic and apostolic Church; to exemplify love for one another; to be faithful stewards of our time, talent and treasure; to reconcile others to God in Christ; and to encourage one another in following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Peter’s is a place that welcomes people seeking a deeper understanding of God and provides a conversational environment where they can explore faith and experience Christian community.
We are members of the diocese of Southwest Florida that supports local church ministry and extends our message of the Good News of Christ globally through the Episcopal Church and Anglican Community. Called to Worship. The Lord’s Altar is the focal point as we come together in communion to celebrate our most hallowed obligation to God, our worship of Him. Our sanctuary is of Gothic design, exuding warm light through stained glass in enduring respect for the character of our English roots and traditions.
Linens and vessels for use in the celebration of The Eucharist have been lovingly prepared and placed at the altar by the Altar Guild. Services have been orchestrated, bulletins printed and in place, announcements and prayers compiled and volunteers notified. Lay members (adults, children and families) are positioned at our red doors greeting each person with warm Southern hospitality, ready to assist churchgoers with information on the day’s service and to answer questions about ongoing and special events. We attend to those with special needs and provide instruction and information to newcomers, making them feel at home.
Worship is a reverent celebration of the Good News of Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation. It is our time of gathering together for personal reflection, spiritual renewal and acknowledgement of our standing in Jesus Christ. Seasons of the Church Calendar are our guide as we celebrate the important events and aspects in the continual yearly review of the Gospel Story. Services are preceded with reverent quiet time intended for prayer, reflection and preparation for a personal and meaningful worship experience. Sacred, historic hymns led by our choir are blended with majestic notes flowing from our Zimmer organ. Beautifully crafted language and ancient rituals maintain the connection back through the ages to the apostolic roots of the first century church. Thought provoking sermons are crafted and delivered by our priest to bring the Gospel to life, making relevant our own lives with current culture.With guilt and fear assuaged and hope renewed, a sense of joy is present throughout the congregation as we leave the service, carrying us forward into our weekly lives and routines with anticipation of making life better, and with an eagerness to be back in this place.
Life in Community
Saint Peter’s Church believes that all people are children of God who wants us to know and love him and each other. We share our love for God and for each other with Christians and non-Christians alike in living our lives together and sharing our passions.
Our love for one another is shown in how we care for each individual parishioner. Inter-generational interaction is ever present in our social events and ministries; adults are mentors for the young and the young enliven and encourage their elders.
Sunday morning is our prime time for gathering for worship, social interaction, group discussion, sharing and learning. During the time between services attendees of both early and late worship services come together to get to know one another, attend one of our many Christian Formation functions and to get information about the many social and ministry opportunities offered in the coming days.
We care for the lonely, the sick and shut-in, those with emotional stress and physical needs within our parish; we help celebrate the milestones in our members’ lives; and we comfort member families who have lost loved ones.
Alternative opportunities for gathering together are offered as necessary to accommodate the needs and desires of our children, youth, young families, adults and seniors and with an emphasis on fellowship, ministry and learning.
We reach out to our external community through various media to bring us together with those who do not know us; we support families and children in need; and we participate in city wide benevolent and charitable events.
We promote camaraderie with a weekly communal meal for fellowship and the sharing of information; we create fun events to promote a culture of hospitality and to invite friends and un-churched people to join us and become members of our parish.
Stories of success are shared throughout our parish and beyond.
Lifelong Christian Formation
Christian formation is not complete at the moment one believes in the Good News of Jesus, nor once an infant is baptized. It is a lifelong process of knowing and being known, of maturing in our ability to follow the leading the Holy Spirit.
Saint Peter’s offers age-appropriate processes for lifelong Christian learning that are effective for each level of spiritual maturity. Preschool children are immersed in a nurturing environment in which they learn the story of God in the Bible through story, music, art and play. They transition through middle school years learning the broader implications of our faith. In their high school years, they are taught how to share and defend their faith in today’s culture, preparing them for life free from parental authority. Adults and seniors are offered many opportunities to maintain and advance their lifelong journey in learning and ministry.
All non-believers, those with serious questions and doubt, and those seeking a deeper Christian life are invited to examine the troublesome issues of life and faith in an inclusive rather than exclusionary environment. All that come through our doors are provided a welcoming, open-minded perspective, sensitive to all presuppositions, expectations and needs; a place where matters of faith are explored and reconciled; a place where God is found.
When personal or controversial matters of faith or culture arise, discussions are held in discrete “circles” or openly in “rows” as deemed necessary and appropriate.
Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure
The Priest is our spiritual leader, executive officer and ex-officio member of the Vestry. Our Vestry is the administrative “board of directors” of the parish. Together they are mutually responsible for discerning the vision of the church; for determining the parish’s current mission and goals; managing the effectiveness of our ministries; for proper accounting of our finances; and developing future leaders of the church. The annual Vestry Retreat is the time for reviewing the status of the parish, the prior year’s successes and for collaboration to assure adherence to our vision, Future Perfect.
The Vestry appoints experienced men and women of the laity to chair the many committees and ministries of the parish. The chairpersons of each committee and ministry under the purview of each Commission will steer the work of that Commission. Commissions are empowered to recommend new goals to the Vestry; determine strategies required to achieve goals; responsible for populating, guiding and holding accountable the various committees operating under their purview. Each Vestry member participates on at least two Commissions; the Priest is an ex-officio member of all Commissions.
Stewardship is an individual responsibility of members to contribute their time, talent and treasure and cannot be measured in only quantitative terms; the most significant spiritual contribution may not be a financial one. Our strong financial condition indicates a committed spiritual life within the church. We account for each dollar and weigh expenses.
The formal parish organization exists to help bring our vision to reality and to avoid controversy and conflict. To remain dynamic, new ideas are the lifeblood of Saint Peter’s. Program changes are submitted to the appropriate body for approval. The priest has sole authority over worship activities.
Our staff members are faithful believers in the Gospel of Jesus and are aligned with the vision of our parish. The priest is responsible for the management of our staff and ongoing business and vendor relationships.
The Finance Committee is responsible for the financial management and well-being of the parish. The corpus of each endowment account is secure, with proceeds appropriately used to fund investments in physical or human needs for each respective fund. Capital campaigns for funding major improvement to our physical plant are devised and conducted by this committee. We are debt free.
Driving onto our properties evokes feelings of reverence and belonging; a place that is safe, clean, secure and beautiful. Our landscape is inviting, well designed for efficient and cost-effective maintenance; it displays the beauty of our native subtropical climate. Buildings are structurally sound, well maintained, organized and decorated with complementary themes, artifacts and illustrations to encourage a life of faith and ministry.
Our facilities are welcoming and efficient for the many ministries and events offered, creating a sense of reverence and hospitality for each visit to our campus. Our gathering and dining spaces are spacious and comfortable; rooms are well lit and climate controlled with properly maintained furniture to provide each person an atmosphere of fun and propriety. Events and meeting spaces are efficiently laid out, properly equipped with technology to provide superior learning and interaction. Our kitchens are well equipped, organized and safe for sanitary food preparation and service to accommodate any reasonable size and function.
We provide attractive and proper signage and visual aids to clearly direct all members and visitors to the various ongoing and special events.
Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church measures its success by the impact made on individual lives and within our community. Our membership grows as friends and neighbors join us in seeking reconciliation with God and reflecting Christ in our lives. All goals will be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART).