Our Church History

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Sun City Center, Florida was born on June 7, 1970, according to our official birth certificate. But, our church was conceived in the hearts and minds of a few faithful Presbyterians in the Fall of 1967. Yearning for the privilege of worshiping within their denominational tradition, they petitioned the Presbytery of West Florida to conduct a feasibility study to see if a new Presbyterian Church could be planted in tiny Sun City Center. Dr. Paul Chalfant conducted the study, and concluded that there was indeed promise for a strong church here.

Before the building was constructed, a group of twenty-one persons met each Sunday at Town Hall, and on January 7, 1968, pledged themselves to be the organizing nucleus of a new congregation. Ground-breaking for the sanctuary was held in May of 1971.

The first worship service in the new building was held on Christmas Eve, 1971 and the consecration of the people and the building was observed on March 12, 1972.

The corporate name “St. Andrew” was taken from Christ’s Disciple Andrew who is patron saint of Scotland, homeland of many American Presbyterians. From the date of its conception until 1980 St. Andrew Church was served by retired pastors who faithfully devoted themselves to Christ’s new work in Sun City Center. During their tenure our congregation grew into 400 members.

In August 1977, during a lightning storm, the Church building caught fire. Many of the sanctuary furnishings and a great part of the building were destroyed. On that occasion, Dr. Ted Yeates said to his beleaguered flock: “Whenever there’s a tragedy like this, God has a way of making us better people in the long run because of it.”


Rebuilding and restoration followed rapidly and St. Andrew Church resolved anew to be a strong witness for Christ in its community and its world. This resolution to face the future faithfully, courageously, and confidently was manifested anew in 1983 with the addition of Fellowship Hall.

Again, in 1992 our rapidly growing congregation committed itself to the expansion of our entire church building in order to accommodate those who will be worshiping and serving God with us into the twenty-first century.

The completion and dedication of “The Garden at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church” as a place of memorial occurred in 1996.

On Dec. 31, 1996, Dr. James D. Bigley retired and received the title of Pastor Emeritus. Pastor Craig Palmer became our interim Pastor in January, 1997.

Dr. Nauman retired on April 30, 1997, and received the title Associate Pastor Emeritus. Parish Dr. Alan Pickering also retired in April and in May Dr. Taylor Hill became the Interim Associate Pastor. Dr. Larry L. Lewis arrived on October 15, 1997 to begin his service as our new Pastor.

The Rev. Dr. Robert E. Schmeiser became Associate Pastor in May 2001. He replaced our Interim Associate Pastor, Dr. Taylor Hill. He departed September 30, 2007.

The Rev. Dr. Larry L. Lewis retired February 29, 2004. The Rev. Mr. James Cummings became our Supply Pastor in March, 2004 and departed December 19, 2004.

The Rev. Dr. Ray Schroeder was Pastor December 5, 2004 – August 31, 2009.

The Rev. Dr. Gerry Iwerks was our supply Pastor from December 2009 thru July 2011.

The Rev. Dr. Mark Salmon came to us in August 2011.