On October 4, 1970, the Rev. Richard Morris, Vicar of Brooksville’s St. John’s Mission, held the first Episcopal church service in Spring Hill in a storefront mission at St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church. Episcopal worship services continued in a room of The Little Red Schoolhouse in Spring Hill. In May of 1971 the Rt. Rev. William L. Hargrave, Bishop of Southwest Florida, appointed the Very Rev. Terrell T. Kirk, dean of the Clearwater Deanery, as interim priest. On September 1, 1971 the Rev. Ernest L. Bennett (1971-1985) was appointed full-time Vicar. He later became our first Rector.
The Rev. Canon Robert Lambers and a vestry committee next chose our present seven-acre location. Ground was broken on March 5, 1972 for a new mission called St. Andrew’s By The Lake (soon shortened to St. Andrew’s). Rubino Hall — a multipurpose church/parish hall and now our Thrift Store — was dedicated on December 17, 1972. Friendship Hall (constructed from 1974–76) was dedicated May 17, 1977 by the Right Rev. E. Paul Haynes, Bishop of Southwest Florida. This building housed Spring Hill’s first daycare center and remains our primary pre-school and day care facility, along with classrooms in Krysher Parish Hall. Coulton Hall was erected in 1978 for storage, became a thrift shop, and is now a meeting hall.
Construction on our beautiful permanent Sanctuary began Palm Sunday, April 8, 1979. It was dedicated by Bishop Haynes on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1979. Our office complex was erected in 1984, and the paved parking lot completed in 1991. Our continued growth required a separate, larger fellowship hall. In February 1996 a capital fund drive began. On April 18, 1997, the Edward A. Krysher Parish Hall was dedicated. This building houses the Rita and Ken Witt Library, our Gift Shop and a state-of-the-art kitchen. At this same time the office complex was renovated and an additional parking lot completed.
During Father Bennett’s tenure he was assisted by the Rev. Gerard W. Rubino (1977-1985) and the Rev. Mark E. Seitz (1983-1985). Father Bennett was succeeded by The Rev. Dr. Robin G. Murray (1986-2005). St. Andrew’s has also been served by the following clergy and other ministers: the Rev. Tom Tirman (Curate 1989-1991) and the Rev. J. James Gerhart (Curate 1991-1992); Youth Minister Chas Williams (1994-1996); the Rev. Candis Burgess (Assistant to the Rector 1996-1997); two Deacons, the Revs. Mary Willow (1986-2006) and Margaret E. Green-Witt (1991-2007); and six associates, The Revs. Donald Jaikes, Magar “Mike” Bedrosian, Edward D. Grimes, Donald Lillpopp, Robert James, and Jay P. Coulton (Emeritus). Pastor Shanda M. Mahurin served St. Andrew’s for seven years, from 2005-2012. She was assisted by the Revs. Bedrosian, Lillpopp and James, Deacons, the Rev. Dr. Ludwig Wallner (2007-2012) and the Rev. Elaine Cole (2011-present) and Jody Bowes, Music and Youth Minister.
In January 2013 Fr. Lance Wallace was called to be our priest-in-charge. Later that year he was called to be our rector. On November 17th of 2013 Bishop Dabney Smith installed Fr. Lance as the 4th rector of St. Andrew’s Church. Fr. Ernie Bennett preached the homily during the installation service and Pastor Shanda shared church memories during the reception. The Rev. Bedrosian, the Rev. Lillpopp, the Rev. Fred Scharf and Deacon Ludwig continue to assist as retired clergy when as they are able. Deacon Elaine Cole remains as the Deacon and Jody Bowes continues as the organist/choirmaster at St Andrews.
In January 2016 we broke ground for our new church addition which will provide a room for babies and parents, a toddler room, and a multi-purpose room. We look forward to what God will be doing in Spring Hill through St. Andrew’s. Later in 2016 Debbie Smith became the church administrator. By the end of 2016 our new church narthex had been dedicated by Bishop Dabney Smith.
In 2017 we put down new flooring in the church and repaired all our pews and reupholstered them and added privacy panels for our front rows. In the fall we began renovating our sacristy. We also moved the choir room into what had been our library. The library moved into what had been our gift store but had not been used as such for many years. We redid the flooring in both rooms and the entry way with a beautiful tile. Also in 2017 Lisa Emmerson became the church secretary.
As 2018 begins we are looking forward once again to seeing how God works in and through our church!