Episcopal Church at Winter
Episcopal Church can trace its early beginnings
back to this small church in Winter Park. Since
its beginnings in the 1800ís, the church has
stood as a pillar of the Episcopal community in
In 1884, the first railroad
line connecting the Florida coasts opened up
new opportunities for citrus development. A group of
English settlers founded the town of Acton
between Lake Parker and Lake Bonny and built an
Episcopal church, which they called "All Saints"
on what is today East Gary Road. The small
community failed and dispersed after the freeze
of 1890 ruined its economy and the little church
was closed for three years.
after serving there on a monthly basis for
five years before the freeze closed the
church, the Rev. John H. Weddell, who was
serving in Thonotosassa, was unwilling to
see the mission die.
He obtained permission from
Bishop Weed in 1892 to move the little building
to the corner of Lemon and Massachusetts Avenues
in nearby Lakeland. The Rev. Weddell moved to
Lakeland in 1892 and the tiny Episcopal
community began to grow. When he retired in
1914, he had served a total of 27 years as
vicar. On his retirement, the mission
was designated as a self-supporting parish, the
Rev. Richard Bolton was named rector, and a
rectory was built behind the church. The Rev.
John B. Curtis who oversaw construction of an
education building to accommodate the growing
number of programs serving the church and
community succeeded Rev. Bolton in 1916.
In the 1950ís, it became evident that Lakeland
held great growth potential and that the
Episcopalian community was growing beyond what
one location could accommodate. The new rector,
the Rev. Clifton H. White, expanded upon
existing plans for a satellite Sunday School
further south in the city, and the mission
parish of St. David's was born. The father of a
large family, the Rev. White decided to move to
a house off site and have the old rectory
demolished to make way for a youth hall. This
was completed in 1961 and hosted an
ever-expanding series of youth events. As the
parish continued to prosper, a new pipe organ
was added, and the front porch was enclosed in
glass. Father White served All Saints' for 25
years, the longest serving rector of the parish.
The All Saints Episcopal Church has now become
not only a historical landmark for the State of
Florida, but for the Episcopal faith as well.