About Us

Timeline

1959

First Service

1963

Expansion

Preschool

Scouting

Growth

1994
1998
2000
2004
06-07
2014
Today

Today

1959

In 1959, when it was apparent that the new community of Port Charlotte was growing rapidly, a group of people were drawn by the Holy Spirit to launch a new church built on the unfailing promises of God. At that time, the General Development Corporation gave 3.5 acres of land between Hariet and Bahama Streets to the Westminster Presbytery. Realizing that the prospects for rapid growth were excellent, the Presbytery commissioned the Reverend John Largent from Tampa to organize a Presbyterian church in Port Charlotte. Beginning with an advertised meeting at the Port Charlotte Recreation Center on the first Sunday in March, 1960.

Reverend Largent inspired 34 people who came with the vision of a dynamic Presbyterian church in the midst of the new homes being built. The following week, with 41 in attendance, a steering committee was formed to plan for a church sanctuary on the donated land that would convert to a fellowship hall upon later church growth. The Presbytery approved a loan and building began before the end of May. Four members formed a choir and sang on Easter Sunday. The church grew rapidly during the building program. Reverend Largent continued to lead the fledgling congregation through August, then returned to Tampa with his mission in new church development completed...all that in six months!

First Service

The church met for worship for the first time as an officially organized church on the first Sunday of October 1960. That same Sunday, the church launched the Sunday School program. The first Session (Leadership Council) of the church was formed with six lay elders. The board of Deacons was formed with nine people devoted to finance, property, and ushering. The "Women of the Church" (later named Presbyterian Women) began two months later. The men formed the "Men of the Church" the following April. That same year the men began monthly dinners combined with an entertaining and educational program. The congregation elected the name of the church First Presbyterian Church of Port Charlotte in December, a couple of months after the church was officially organized. By the end of the first year, there were 137 charter members.

1963

​The year 1963 was the first full year of the newly organized church. The church continued to grow in strength and by the first year, First Presbyterian Church became a self-supporting church. In the Spring of 1961, initial plans were submitted for an annex that would include space for Sunday School, choir practice, office, and storage. The annex was completed a year and a half later in September, 1962.

Expansion

​In 1967 the sanctuary was expanded to accommodate the increased attendance. That major project also added an educational wing of six classrooms and a small fellowship hall. Because of the need for additional parking space the church purchased the other 3.5 acres of the current campus in 1971. By the end of 1973, the church had continued to grow rapidly. In August of that year the church broke ground for a new, larger sanctuary. Only a year later, on August 4, 1974, the congregation worshiped in the nearly completely sanctuary. The official dedication occurred on the second Sunday in October.

Preschool

In September, 1976, the church began a preschool ministry for 3-5 year olds which would become Small World Christian Learning Center. This ministry thrived for many years and always held a positive reputation in the community. Although the ministry came to a close in 2015, we are grateful for the almost 40 years that the Lord allowed us to reach the people of Charlotte County through this ministry.

Scouting

During the mid-seventies, the church was actively involved with the Cub Scouts and the Girl Scouts. In the 1990's, scouting once again became part of our church when Boy Scout Troop #212 held their meetings here. Some of the boys even worked their way up to the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.

Growth

In 1982, the church reached a peak membership of 1,555 members, counting both active and affiliate members. The next year, the church contributed a number of members to assist in the beginning of the Burnt Store Presbyterian Church. In 1992, the church contributed one hundred members to assist in the beginning of the Wintergarden Presbyterian Church.

1994

In 1994, the Liturgical Guild began a stained glass project to provide the beautiful windows throughout the sanctuary, chapel, and youth hall. The centerpiece was the magnificent 16' by 17' chancel window.

1998

In 1998, the new Allen organ was installed and dedicated in the sanctuary. The lovely Memorial Gardens became a caring ministry of the Church.

2000

To meet the needs of our members and friends, our church has generally held two Traditional Services for a majority of the year and one Combined Traditional Service in the Summer time. This year, however, our church expanded the idea of meeting a variety of needs in the congregation by changing the style of one of the Worship Services. In October 2000, we began holding one Contemporary Service and one Traditional Service on Sunday Mornings. Now the people of the church and community could select if they preferred to worship with modern praise music or traditional church hymns.

2004

As anyone who lived in Charlotte County at this time will recall, Hurricane Charley left a large path of destruction in its wake when it visited our community on August 13, 2004. Our church suffered a great deal of damage. In the aftermath of the storm, a majority of our building was impacted to the extent that it was in need of great repair. Two areas of our church, however, were in such a condition that they still could be used. First and foremost our Sanctuary remained intact, so worship services were still able to be held in here. Secondly, MacDonald Hall (fellowship hall) remained intact. This meant that our Small World Christian Learning Center was able to locate here and fully operate, which was crucial in such a time when our school's families needed a safe place to leave their children while the parents tended to either their own personal repairs and/or continued employment if possible. Thanks be to God that Worship and Care could still take place at our church in an otherwise catastrophic time.

​2006-2007

A few years after Hurricane Charley, our renovated parts of the destroyed building were able to be utilized once again. Some ministries that were previously hindered due to space limitations were able to meet once again and new ministries could also be available.

​2014

Speaking of new ministries, one of our most current activities is our Parkside Parish, which began in 2014. This community outreach is open to anyone in the immediate Parkside neighborhood and beyond. Such events as Worship, Fellowship, and Dinner take place beginning at 5:45, Saturday evenings. This year also brought an opportunity to our church to offer a Gospel Worship Service. The "Chosen" choir from St. Mary's Primitive Baptist Church has begun performing weekly at one of our Worship Services for the duration of a full year.

Today

​Now over 50 years from the birth of the church, First Presbyterian Church of Port Charlotte continues to humbly serve the County of Charlotte and beyond, while drawing from the wisdom of the aged, the passion of the youth, and the innocence of the young.

Story of the Stained Glass Window

Story of the Stained Glass Window

​At the Annual Meeting in January, 1995, committee leaders were asked this question: "What are your dreams for our church within the next five years? " A long list was compiled. The Liturgical Guild, organized by Gay Sorensen, ranked stained glass windows as a high priority. One month later eight people met to discuss the possibilities of designing and building windows with Biblical themes. This ambitious project became a reality masterminded by Gay, a woman who dreams big dreams and engineers them to completion with God's help.

First, ideas were exchanged. Next, Gay created many watercolor designs, often making changes as suggested warranted. Then decisions were made for work rooms, racks for storage of glass, lead came, rebar and zinc framing. Two tables four feet by six feet were constructed. The final watercolor

Story of the Stained Glass Window

​At the Annual Meeting in January, 1995, committee leaders were asked this question: "What are your dreams for our church within the next five years? " A long list was compiled. The Liturgical Guild, organized by Gay Sorensen, ranked stained glass windows as a high priority. One month later eight people met to discuss the possibilities of designing and building windows with Biblical themes. This ambitious project became a reality masterminded by Gay, a woman who dreams big dreams and engineers them to completion with God's help.

First, ideas were exchanged. Next, Gay created many watercolor designs, often making changes as suggested warranted. Then decisions were made for work rooms, racks for storage of glass, lead came, rebar and zinc framing. Two tables four feet by six feet were constructed. The final watercolor

designs for six sanctuary windows were presented to the Session in June, 1995, with the Cross as the main theme. Throughout the summer, Gay enlarges these designs, free hand, to a size of forty three inches by fifty nine inches. Each pattern piece was designed so that the glass could be cut exact to that shape. Seed money was donated for materials throughout the Spring without requesting funding from the congregation.

Thousands of pounds of supplies were purchased requiring monumental decisions of color, size, texture, quantity, and quality. A bus and van transported everything a distance of two hundred miles, loaded and unloaded by volunteers. Glass was then sorted, labeled, and stored. Organization was crucial.

By October, 1995, full production of the windows began with a few dedicated people. Additional volunteers traced and

and cut paper patterns, cut glass, fitted came, and cleaned the finished windows. The first window was completed within three months and in place by Christmas. The initial window became a motivational force and the six windows evolved into eighteen with an average time of one or two months for completion.

"Trends of the Chimes ", the church newsletter, reported monthly the progress of the stained glass window committee. Within several months all the windows had been purchased by the members, either to glorify God, or in memory/honor of family and friends.

By the end of 1996, the committee started the Chancel window which measured sixteen feet by seventeen feet. After approval of the design, it became the greatest engineering challenge;

a window of twenty stained glass section.

Three mornings each week, volunteers continued tracing and organizing pattern pieces into large envelopes. Additional volunteers cut and fit glass, built two windows simultaneously, while a third was puttied and cleaned. An opening four feet by four feet was cut through the outside wall of the Chancel. Glass blocks were inserted allowing for God's light at the apex of the cross. Installation of fluorescent lighting, with dimmer controls, enhanced the beauty of the windows. After only six months the massive free standing open book was secured in place behind the permanently suspended wooden cross. Easter 1997, with gratitude and thanksgiving, we rejoiced.

Work continued two mornings each week concentrating on four Narthex doors. At the same time three Chapel

windows were also being constructed with a theme Sky, Earth, and Sea - "and God saw that it was good. " Following that, the Good Shepard window, in the library, and the Ninth Presbyterian Confessional Banner window were completed.

The final project was a gift to the children of the church. Two windows were installed in the Youth Hall, one depicting Noah's Ark, the other Jesus with Children.

​After twenty seven months and thousands of volunteers hours, we were most grateful to God for continued strength permitting us to accomplished our goal. January, 1998, only three years after the idea, presented as a dream, the windows became a reality. May these eighteen stained glass windows now serve as a reminder for generations to come that with God all things are possible.

The End

Story of the Stained Glass Window

​At the Annual Meeting in January, 1995, committee leaders were asked this question: "What are your dreams for our church within the next five years? " A long list was compiled. The Liturgical Guild, organized by Gay Sorensen, ranked stained glass windows as a high priority. One month later eight people met to discuss the possibilities of designing and building windows with Biblical themes.

Story of the Stained Glass Window

​At the Annual Meeting in January, 1995, committee leaders were asked this question: "What are your dreams for our church within the next five years? " A long list was compiled. The Liturgical Guild, organized by Gay Sorensen, ranked stained glass windows as a high priority. One month later eight people met to discuss the possibilities of designing and building windows with Biblical themes.

This ambitious project became a reality masterminded by Gay, a woman who dreams big dreams and engineers them to completion with God's help.

This ambitious project became a reality masterminded by Gay, a woman who dreams big dreams and engineers them to completion with God's help.

First, ideas were exchanged. Next, Gay created many watercolor designs, often making changes as suggested warranted. Then decisions were made for work rooms, racks for storage of glass, lead came, rebar and zinc framing. Two tables four feet by six feet were constructed. The final watercolor

First, ideas were exchanged. Next, Gay created many watercolor designs, often making changes as suggested warranted. Then decisions were made for work rooms, racks for storage of glass, lead came, rebar and zinc framing. Two tables four feet by six feet were constructed. The final watercolor designs for six sanctuary windows were presented to the Session in June, 1995, with the Cross as the main theme. Throughout the summer, Gay enlarges these designs, free hand, to a size of forty three inches by fifty nine inches. Each pattern piece was designed so that the glass could be cut exact to that shape. Seed money was donated for materials throughout the Spring without requesting funding from the congregation.

designs for six sanctuary windows were presented to the Session in June, 1995, with the Cross as the main theme. Throughout the summer, Gay enlarges these designs, free hand, to a size of forty three inches by fifty nine inches. Each pattern piece was designed so that the glass could be cut exact to that shape. Seed money was donated for materials throughout the Spring without requesting funding from the congregation.

Thousands of pounds of supplies were purchased requiring monumental

Thousands of pounds of supplies were purchased requiring monumental decisions of color, size, texture, quantity, and quality. A bus and van transported everything a distance of two hundred miles, loaded and unloaded by volunteers. Glass was then sorted, labeled, and stored. Organization was crucial.

By October, 1995, full production of the windows began with a few dedicated people. Additional volunteers traced and and cut paper patterns, cut glass, fitted came, and cleaned the finished windows.

The first window was completed within three months and in place by Christmas. The initial window became a motivational force and the six windows evolved into eighteen with an average time of one or two months for completion.

decisions of color, size, texture, quantity, and quality. A bus and van transported everything a distance of two hundred miles, loaded and unloaded by volunteers. Glass was then sorted, labeled, and stored. Organization was crucial.

By October, 1995, full production of the windows began with a few dedicated people. Additional volunteers traced and and cut paper patterns, cut glass, fitted came, and cleaned the finished windows.

"Trends of the Chimes ", the church newsletter, reported monthly the progress of the stained glass window committee. Within several months all the windows had been purchased by the members, either to glorify God, or in memory/honor of family and friends.

By the end of 1996, the committee started the Chancel window which measured sixteen feet by seventeen feet. After approval of the design, it became the greatest engineering challenge; a window of twenty stained glass section.

Three mornings each week, volunteers continued tracing and organizing pattern pieces into large envelopes.

The first window was completed within three months and in place by Christmas. The initial window became a motivational force and the six windows evolved into eighteen with an average time of one or two months for completion.

"Trends of the Chimes ", the church newsletter, reported monthly the progress of the stained glass window committee. Within several months all the windows had been purchased by the members, either to glorify God, or in memory/honor of family and friends.

Additional volunteers cut and fit glass, built two windows simultaneously, while a third was puttied and cleaned.

An opening four feet by four feet was cut through the outside wall of the Chancel. Glass blocks were inserted allowing for God's light at the apex of the cross. Installation of fluorescent lighting, with dimmer controls, enhanced the beauty of the windows. After only six months the massive free standing open book was secured in place behind the permanently suspended wooden cross. Easter 1997, with gratitude and thanksgiving, we rejoiced.

Work continued two mornings each week concentrating on four Narthex doors.

By the end of 1996, the committee started the Chancel window which measured sixteen feet by seventeen feet. After approval of the design, it became the greatest engineering challenge; a window of twenty stained glass section.

Three mornings each week, volunteers continued tracing and organizing pattern pieces into large envelopes. Additional volunteers cut and fit glass, built two windows simultaneously, while a third was puttied and cleaned.

At the same time three Chapel windows were also being constructed with a theme Sky, Earth, and Sea - "and God saw that it was good. " Following that, the Good Shepard window, in the library, and the Ninth Presbyterian Confessional Banner window were completed.

The final project was a gift to the children of the church. Two windows were installed in the Youth Hall, one depicting Noah's Ark, the other Jesus with Children.

An opening four feet by four feet was cut through the outside wall of the Chancel. Glass blocks were inserted allowing for God's light at the apex of the cross. Installation of fluorescent lighting, with dimmer controls, enhanced the beauty of the windows. After only six months the massive free standing open book was secured in place behind the permanently suspended wooden cross. Easter 1997, with gratitude and thanksgiving, we rejoiced.

Work continued two mornings each

After twenty seven months and thousands of volunteers hours, we were most grateful to God for continued strength permitting us to accomplished our goal. January, 1998, only three years after the idea, presented as a dream, the windows became a reality. May these eighteen stained glass windows now serve as a reminder for generations to come that with God all things are possible.

week concentrating on four Narthex doors. At the same time three Chapel windows were also being constructed with a theme Sky, Earth, and Sea - "and God saw that it was good. " Following that, the Good Shepard window, in the library, and the Ninth Presbyterian Confessional Banner window were completed.

The final project was a gift to the children of the church. Two windows were installed in the Youth Hall, one depicting Noah's Ark, the other Jesus with Children.

​After twenty seven months and thousands of volunteers hours, we were most grateful to God for continued strength permitting us to accomplished our goal. January, 1998, only three years after the idea, presented as a dream, the windows became a reality. May these eighteen stained glass windows now serve as a reminder for generations to come that with God all things are possible.

The End