The Episcopal Shield
This symbol, which you will see at every Episcopal Church, is the official “logo” of The Episcopal Church (TEC), and represents our history.
It is red, white and blue…the colors of both the USA and UK.
The red Cross of St. George on a white field is symbolic of the Church of England.
The blue field in the upper left corner is the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. It features a Cross of St. Andrew, in re-cognition of the fact that the first American bishop was consecrated in Scotland.
This cross is made up of nine cross-lets or mini crosses, which represent the nine dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to form the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.
St. Monica’s began with a small group of faithful people meeting in one another’s homes. On February 16, 1954 the decision was finally reached to petition the Bishop of Florida for permission to establish an unorganized Mission of the Episcopal Church.
The name “St. Monica’s” was chosen for a patron name that was not typical of those used in the Diocese and is for Monica of Hippo, mother of St. Augustine. The first service of Morning Prayer was conducted on February 21, 1954 with 16 people in attendance. From that day until August 1956 services were held in a classroom of the old Jim Allen School. Every Saturday for the next two and one half years, the church furnishings were loaded on a borrowed truck, hauled from a member’s garage to the school and set up for services. Following services, the furnishings were loaded back on the truck for the return trip to the garage and the school’s furnishings replaced until the next Saturday.
With donations from various sources including Florida’s Diocesan Department of Missions and the Church School of Christ Church Pensacola, two lots on Watson Avenue were purchased from St. Regis Paper Company to construct a new church building. The paper company donated two additional adjoining lots. Ground was broken on February 5, 1956. Archdeacon Robert Cowling celebrated the first Holy Eucharist in the new building on August 26, 1956. A dedication service was held on October 21 of that same year with Bishop Hamilton West officiating.
The year 1987 marked the beginning of a period of steady growth for St. Monica’s. Between 1993 and 2000 annual attendance went from 4,699 to 9,044. A second Sunday service was added and it was still standing room only! That’s when The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast purchased eight and one half acres on Highway 95A for the growth and relocation of the congregation. St. Monica’s Architectural Committee began working on a church design and site layout, while others developed funding plans.
Many members of St. Monica’s congregation labored diligently to complete the building, its interior and grounds. Father David McDowell-Fleming built the Altar and other furnishings from sycamore trees felled by a hurricane and with help from parishioners he also fashioned the ironwork for the new sanctuary. The stained glass windows and adornments as well as the Christian symbols and shields of the saints on the floor were created by members of the congregation. Finally, the building was dedicated on November 14, 1999. On October 15, 2000, 104 baptized members signed a Petition for Parish Status and presented it to the Diocese. Parish status was granted on September 11, 2001.
St. Monica’s celebrated her 50th Anniversary on February 22, 2004. The family-oriented, person-to-person attitude that has been the hallmark of St. Monica’s continues today. Some of the surviving founding members still attend Sunday services.