Our Story

Located on Estero Island, in the Town of Fort Myers Beach, St. Peter's
3.5 acre site sits directly across Estero Boulevard, the town's main road, from the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Come worship with us in our little Paradise on earth!

How it all started...

The first worship service of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church was held on September 17, 1967 at the Women’s Club of Fort Myers Beach on Sterling Street. There were 37 worshipers in attendance. Fred Boorman was at the piano. While the piano lasted only one week, Fred survived for many years. Eventually a used organ was donated by Norris and Mid Shue.

In the spring of 1968, a 500’ x 250’ tract of land at 3751 Estero Boulevard was purchased for $54,000. In September, the Planning Board met. On November 22, 1968 an Altar Guild was formed. The congregation of St. Peter Lutheran Church was officially organized on December 1, 1968 (the first Sunday in Advent) with Reverend Doctor Royall Yount, President of the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, officiating. On this date, Dr. Yount accepted St. Peter Lutheran Church into the Lutheran Church of America. There were 69 adult and 13 children members. The first members of the church council were installed at this service. A happy congregation celebrated at a fellowship dinner following the service. Representatives of other Beach Churches joined us bringing God’s Blessings and extending good wishes from their own congregations. On December 22, 1968, the choir wore their newly-purchased robes for the first time.

The Reverend Dale R. Lau was called as the first pastor to St. Peter. He accepted the call and was installed on February 9, 1969. On April 15, 1970, the ladies met to organize the Lutheran Church Women. They had their first meeting on June 10 at the Windjammer Cottages followed by a potluck on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

The blessing of the land and ground-breaking having taken place on October 17,1971, the first service in the sanctuary was held on March 19, 1972. There was heavy rain for about an hour and a half then bright Florida sunshine. The dedication service was held on May 7, 1972 with a potluck that was enjoyed by all.

The Lutheran Church women were organized early in 1970. Their constitution and charter were approved in May 1970 and the St. Peter Lutheran Church Women were formally recognized at the State Convention in October 1970 with Mrs. Perry L. Merrell attending as representative. On March 15, 1974, St. Peter hosted the South Gulf Coast District Assembly with a full program and lunch. With 90 people in attendance, kits were made for Lutheran World Relief.

In 1976, the congregation started clearing land for St. Peter Park, which was dedicated on December 18, 1976. Amid much rejoicing, the sanctuary mortgage was burned on March 24, 1985, fifteen years since the first service was held in the church building.
On Sunday, December 3, 1978, the 10th anniversary was celebrated. St. Peter has always had many associate members who winter in Fort Myers Beach and we give our thanks for their support and help. It is a joyous time when such friends return in the fall. St. Peter Lutheran Church as known abundant blessings through the past ten years – the willing spirit of its members who have led and supported with all their available means. All Honor and Glory to God.

Expanding the vision...

The church steeple has received at least two strikes by lightning over the years, one causing considerable damage. The church grounds received the 1981 “Beautification Award” from the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. The mortgage on the church and parsonage was paid off in October 1984 when the parsonage was sold. On January 1, 1988, St Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church joined the Lutheran Denominations to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). With continuing growth, a building committee was formed in 1988 to consider building a new sanctuary. The decision was made to do so in 1989, and ground was broken on September 29, 1991.

The first piling was driven on November 18, 1991. Only eight months later, July 6, 1992, the congregation processed from the old sanctuary to the new and the first worship service was held. On December 6, 1992, the new sanctuary was dedicated by the Reverend Sue Gamelin, Associate to the Reverend Lavern Franzen, Bishop, Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 5, 1993, with Bishop Lavern Franzen officiating. Following the service, Bishop Franzen joined the congregation for dinner in the fellowship hall (the old sanctuary), where he was the guest speaker.

Through the years, the ministry of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church has grown to keep pace with the needs of the church, its members and the community. Among its ministries are the Chancel Choir, Sunday School for children and adults, mid-week Lenten Services, the Altar Guild, the Women of the ELCA, the Men’s Club, the Monday Morning Work Crew, and participation in Beach Meals, community worship services and various synod projects.

Through his spirituality, dedication, perseverance, guidance and patient love, Pastor Lau e St. Peter enabled Evangelical Lutheran Church and each member of the congregation to grow personally and spiritually. During Pastor Lau’s last worship service on June 25, 1995 the mortgage on the new sanctuary was burned.

Pastor Lau was given a retirement dinner on June 25, 1995, as a token of appreciation of the congregation of St. Peter Lutheran Church for his 26 years of service as called pastor. He retired on July 31, 1995. Pastor William B. Renn served as interim pastor, assisted by the Rev. George C. Serbe, Jr. The Reverend C. Thomas Snapp was called to serve as pastor and began his ministry here on May 8, 1996. At that time Pastor Renn agreed to be Assistant to the Pastor and Pastor Serbe retired (again).On February 15, 1998, St. Peter held a dedication for the Lau Fellowship Hall.

On November 15, 2010, Pastor Lorrie Davison was installed. Pastor Lorrie served until her retirement in January 2018. Interim Pastor Charles “Rusty” May served the congregation until November 2019.

Where we are headed...

December 2, 2018, St. Peter Lutheran Church celebrated its 50th anniversary. Bishop Pedro Suarez presided at worship and joined in the celebration in Lau Fellowship Hall.

Reverend Rick Lund was called to serve St. Peter Lutheran Church on December 1, 2019. St. Peter has approximately 120 full time members, 75 associate members and nearly 500 friends of the congregation. Worship during the summer sees about 50 people each Sunday. At the heart of Season, attendance can be as high as 300 or more. One of St. Peter’s principle forms of ministry is to provide a “church away from your church” to visitors and seasonals whether they visit Fort Myers Beach for a few days or a few months. Everyone who walks through our door, whether for a day, week, month or season, becomes a member of our family.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4

Be a part of our story...

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