St Peter’s Anglican Church, Tallahassee, Florida
Erika Slizewski-Smith, Spring 2016
The creation of St. Peter’s Anglican Church began in 2005 when Rev Eric Dudley decided it was time to sever his connection with St. John’s Episcopal Church. He decided he could no longer support the national Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church had begun to step away from bible doctrine and the traditions that Rev Dudley found so important. He made the decision to announce his departure at a Sunday service, in October, at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Not only did he announce his departure but he announced his desire to start a new church that was based off Anglican doctrine. Rev Dudley was not the only member of St. John’s that felt it was time to move on, 2 assistant pastors along with several members of the vestry said they would join him. Much to Rev Dudley’s surprise many members of St John’s church also followed him in leaving the church.
The first St Peter’s Anglican Church was at one time the home of International Church of Christ at 901 Thomasville Road. That building is now the home of Mosaic Church. The use of this building was secured in a very short time frame by a St. John’s parishioner. This allowed the members of the newly founded St Peter’s church to use the building until they can raise the money to build a new church home. During the beginning years of St. Peter’s it was considered relatively small at 700 members, but that did not last long. By 2012 the church had grown to 1,400 members and had out grown its current church home. They were having to hold three church services along with classes on Sunday to accommodate for all the members due to lack of space. Rev Dudley knew it was time to begin looking for a new church home.
It wasn’t long before St Peter’s Church’s prayers were answered. A member of the congregation, “Jack Buford, founder of Tallahassee Land Development awoke one morning with a thought. He knew of a family living right on Thomasville road in which the father had recently died.” It wasn’t long before the building committee, Buford and Rev Dudley turned to the congregation asking for help. The offer went in and 90 days later the church wrote a check for 1.7 million dollars collected by the members of the congregation.
The ground breaking for the new St Peter’s Church on Thomasville Road was in 2012. The structure of the building is now referred to as Gothic Architecture. It is often used by the Anglican churches throughout England. There are 2 stained glass windows placed high in the church, the West stained glass window is the creation in Genesis, and the East stained glass window is the new creation account from Revelations 21. Theologically the church moves from the creation to the new creation. As you walk into the sanctuary you will notice the Baptismal font at the beginning, we come to Jesus through him washing away our sins. In the center of the church is the altar, he is to be center in our life. Jesus risen as King in the back in the new creation. The altar is oriented in the east so that each rising sun is a reminder of the rising of the Son of God. The high ceilings allow for natural light as a reminder that God’s church is the light of Christ.
The church held its final service at their old church May 18th, 2014. That afternoon several members of the church made the over 6 mile walk north from the old church on Thomasville Road near midtown to the new church home. The walk was a statement of faith, a transition from old to new. The walk took about 2 hours but once the members arrived they were greeted by Rev Eric Dudley and were finally able to tour the inside of their new church home. A $12 million project finally complete.
An estimated 85 million members are part of churches that call themselves Anglican (or Episcopal in some countries) which collectively are known as the Anglican Communion. St. Peter’s Anglican Church became part of the Anglican Communion in 2014. Although rare 3 bishops travels to Tallahassee in June of 2014 to consecrated or dedicated the official new home of St. Peter’s Anglican Church. Bishop Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America; Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, Bishop of Diocese of South Rwenzori, Uganda and Bishop Neil Lebhar of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese all attended the dedication.
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