Love God. Love People. Push Back Darkness.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Dwight D. Eisenhower was in his second term as President of the United States when St. Andrews Presbyterian Church was formed. Arthur Freed's Gigi won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture that same year.
Late in 1957, Dr. Thomas P. Johnston, who was the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin had a vision to start a new church. A survey of the area and the rapid population growth in the county made North Dunedin the logical direction in which to move. A generous gift of five acres of land on Michigan Boulevard gave confirmation to the decision. With the full backing of the Session and membership of First Church and the encouragement of the Westminster Presbytery, (the predecessor to the current Presbytery of Tampa Bay), the birth of the church that would become St. Andrews was inevitable.
Westminster Presbytery's Home Mission Committee called the Rev. Mr. Jack W. Ewart to become the organizing pastor. The first worship service was held on January 26, 1958 in the H. P. Hood orange juice plant with 130 people in attendance. A name was chosen for this new venture in February of 1958. The name St. Andrews was chosen because it fit the location on the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that Andrew was a fisherman. It would later come to signify that Andrew is also remembered as the great evangelist.
CALLING OUR FIRST MINISTER
St. Andrews did not officially become a church, however, until March 2, 1958 when a commission from Westminster Presbytery constituted the 109 signers of the charter requesting a church. The first act of this fledgling church was to extend a call to ministry to Jack Ewart. His installation by Presbytery took place immediately and we were now a congregation with a pastor! The congregation next moved to elect four men who constituted the first Session. It was a busy beginning!
Since those busy and humble beginnings the church has moved through the building of two worship centers, the first being what is now Kirk Hall built with the lines and materials symbolizing a well-known symbol of the Christian faith, a ship. The second was built under the leadership of Rev. Joe Holder and is our present worship space.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
In 2008-2009, after a great 50th Anniversary of St. Andrews celebration, the congregation revitalized a capital improvement program, begun in 2005, renaming that program the Joshua Commission and concentrating on a dozen key items. As a practical matter, repaving of the parking lot was tackled immediately; then creating a master plan to envision what the future campus would look like was given priority. The second project was the reorganization of the chancel area in the worship center, redesigning the chancel area to meet the needs of all the groups that use it. This included centering the pulpit, creating a space for the worship band, extending the chancel area seven feet, and providing new furnishings, plants, and paraments. Other projects included upgrading the worship center audio and video systems, upgrading its lighting, refurbishing the narthex, new signage, upgrading the audio and video systems in Kirk Hall, and re-leathering the pipe organ. The gardens of St. Andrews have also received special attention during John Fullerton's pastorate. A granite Celtic cross with matching standards, a gift from Curlew Memorial Gardens, was installed in the Meditation Garden. A donation from Ken and Lil Carson, in memory of Ken's daughter Kate, established the Hope Garden in 2012 with its patio and pergola to the right of the entrance to the worship center. A group of dedicated volunteers, led by Cal Pierson, beautified the grounds in other areas, including the Olive Garden in front of the patio room, landscaping in front of Kirk Hall, around the signs out front, at the main doorway to the church office, in the planter in front of Apple Seeds (a Boy Scout project), and alongside the Car Care Ministry building.
ONE CHURCH. ONE MISSION. TWO LOCATIONS.
In February 2016 St. Andrews merged with Westminster Presbyterian Church of New Port Richey, creating St. Andrews Presbyterian Church New Port Richey Campus, and becoming one church, one mission, and one Session, operating in two locations. At New Port Richey, weekly worship and monthly outreach events have begun and the leadership team headed by Loren Russell is in place. At both the Dunedin and New Port Richey Campuses, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church is at work fulfilling its mission: Love God. Love People. Push Back the Darkness.