Saint Hilary's Episcopal Church is one of 77 parishes and missions in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida. The Rt. Rev. Douglas Scharf, a former member of Saint Hilary's having earned his bachelor's degree locally at Florida Gulf Coast University, is the sixth Bishop of our diocese and he serves as the spiritual leader of some 31,000 baptized persons in an exciting pilgrimage of ministry. We are a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church of the United States. Our parish was established here in Fort Myers in 1958 and our roots as Episcopalians date back nearly 2000 years; our faith is pulling us ever forward.
Here at Saint Hilary's, progressive Christianity meets the tradition of common prayer, social justice, and outreach. We are committed to befriending followers and non-followers of God, acting in a compassionate manner, and being subject to one another. The mission of Saint Hilary's Church is to "to make known the love and kindness of Jesus Christ to all people" within our congregation and in our wider community through worship, service, and compassion. Our mission is grounded in our core values:
He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."
- Matthew 17:20
There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 3:28
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
- 1 Peter 4:8
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15:13
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
- Matthew 14:14
Worship of God
But the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.
- John 4:23
We have learned that honest gestures and beneficence are the most meaningful ways to embody the love of Jesus. We freely offer information about our faith, our worship, and our community. We welcome all who come seeking God into our fellowship; we invite you to join us.
To learn more about our Episcopal faith, continue reading below. You can find our church calendar, which is regularly updated with events our parish hosts, service times, and more here.
If you are looking for ways to get to know our parish and congregation, please visit our Get Involved page!
What We Believe
As Episcopalians, we believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved us and the world.
We believe that God loves us and you – with absolutely no exceptions.
The Episcopal Church embraces a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; people of all genders and sexual orientations serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy work together in leadership and governance.
Core to our Beliefs:
Book of Common Prayer
“It is a most invaluable part of that blessed ‘liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,’ that in his worship different forms and usages may without offense be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire.” (Book of Common Prayer, p.9) The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer.
“Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” (Book of Common Prayer, p.236) The Bible is our foundation, understood through tradition and reason, containing all things necessary for salvation. Our worship is filled with Scripture from beginning to end. Approximately 70% of the Book of Common Prayer comes directly from the Bible.
“Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?” (Book of Common Prayer, p.292) A mini-catechism used at baptisms and on Easter and other special occasions, the baptismal covenant opens with a question-and-answer version of the statement of faith that is the Apostles’ Creed and adds five questions regarding how we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith.
Offered in a question-and-answer format, the catechism found in the back of the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 845-862) helps teach the foundational truths of the Christian faith.
“The Creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God.” (Book of Common Prayer, p.851) In the two foundational statements of faith—the Apostles’ Creed used at baptism, weddings, and funerals and the Nicene Creed used at services of Holy Communion—through these Creeds we join Christians throughout the ages in affirming our faith in the one God who created us, redeemed us, and sanctifies us.
“Sacraments are defined as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.” (Book of Common Prayer, p.857) Besides Baptism and the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, the church recognizes other spiritual markers in our journey of faith.
Found in the Book of Common Prayer, these include:
Confirmation (the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows), pp. 413-419
Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession), pp. 447-452
Holy Matrimony (Christian marriage), pp. 422-438
Holy Orders (ordination to deacon, priest, or bishop), pp. 510-555
Holy Unction (anointing with oil those who are sick or dying) pp. 453-467
Saint Hilary's is pleased to offer these sacraments to our community; please visit our Sacraments page to learn more.
The information in this section is shared from The Episcopal Church's website. Follow the link and click each individual belief to learn more.