Our History


The idea for a new Episcopal Church in Fort Myers took root in August 1958. Father Thomas Madden led a few families in worship in a dance studio. By October 16, 1958 a mission church was born and the name “St. Hilary’s” was selected. That Christmas the new mission met in its first building, a Quonset hut.

In 1965, Father Robert Browning became the fourth vicar of the mission. In 1968, he became the first rector, having broken ground for a new church building at the corner of Colonial and McGregor the year before. When the sanctuary was completed in 1968, more than 500 members worshipped there.

In the 1970s a rectory was built and a nearby house purchased to house the sexton. Clearwater’s Church of the Ascension donated our famous organ, which established St. Hilary’s as a musical center in Fort Myers. In the 1980s our Parish Hall, now known as Browning Hall, was constructed.

After Father Browning’s retirement in 1996, Father Bob Hennagin was installed as our second rector in 1998. In 2008 we completed a major renovation of our sanctuary and later that year celebrated the 50th anniversary of our congregation with a beautiful party. Father Hennagin’s ministry to St. Hilary’s ended after fourteen years in January 2012. In January 2014, Father Charles Cannon became our third rector.

Learn more about Hilary of Poitiers, the Saint for whom our congregation was named.