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The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida represents 78 parishes, missions, and worshiping communities including 28,000 members.  We are also home to twelve Episcopal schools. We are a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church in the United States. On any given Sunday, about 11,000 people worship with us either in person on online in Southwest Florida.

We extend along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with our northernmost congregation in Brooksville and our most southern on Marco Island. We include the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Fort Myers. Our easternmost congregations are in Plant City, Arcadia, and LaBelle.

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What is the Episcopal Church?

There is a great breadth of diversity in the Episcopal Church: congregations and congregants can be Anglo-Catholic, evangelical, charismatic, conservative, or progressive, and very often a mix of all of the above.

As Episcopalians, we believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.

We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.

The Episcopal Church embraces a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being, regardless of race, or ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Laypeople and clergy work together in leadership and governance.

Our Beliefs

Bishop of Southwest Florida

The Rt. Rev. Douglas Scharf, Sixth Bishop of Southwest Florida leads the diocese where he was raised, ordained, and consecrated. One of the youngest bishops in The Episcopal Church, Bishop Scharf believes that Christ’s love and transformational teachings paired with the authentic connection of a Church community can replenish the wellspring of the soul.

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Our Ministries And Programs

Youth & Young Adults

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Leadership Education

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Adult Ministries

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Multicultural Ministries

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Our History

The explosive growth of the State of Florida in the post-World War II years led to the creation of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. The Episcopal Diocese of South Florida established more than 40 missions in the 1960s and it became clear that South Florida would need to be divided in order to better serve its congregations.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church met in Detroit in September of 1969. That Convention approved a plan to divide the Diocese of South Florida. Three “Archdeaconries” were established, according to the intended boundaries of each new Diocese. The same Convention gave permission for the Diocese to elect two Suffragan Bishops.

The two elected were the Rev. James L. Duncan, rector of St. Peter’s Church, St. Petersburg and the Rev. Canon William L. Hargrave, Canon to the Ordinary. Bishop Hargrave was given oversight of the Gulf Coast Archdeaconry, which would soon become the Diocese of Southwest Florida.

The Primary Convention of the Diocese of Southwest Florida was held at the Bath Club, North Redington Beach, Florida October 16, 1969. Bishop Hargrave was elected Diocesan Bishop on the first ballot. He announced that St. Peter’s Church, St. Petersburg would be the new cathedral.

William Loftin Hargrave

First Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

Emerson Paul Haynes

Second Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

Rogers Sanders Harris

Third Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

John Bailey Lipscomb

Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida

Dabney Tyler Smith

Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
2007-December 10, 2022

Douglas Frederick Scharf

Sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
December 10, 2022 – Present

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