Saint Faith's Episcopal Church

10600 Caribbean Boulevard; Cutler Bay, Florida 33189
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Office: 305. 235.3621 Fax: 305.235.5089
Email:Office@saintfaiths.org

 

 

History

 

 

1955:
St. Faith's Church began in January 1955 as Faith Church, meeting in the carport of Major and Mrs. H.W. Hofmann with a congregation of 23. Within a year, a Vestry Committee was appointed by Bishop Louttit and the congregation, renamed St. Faith's, and was meeting in the "Green Cathedral," a construction shack near the site of what is now the Cutler Ridge Elementary School. In 1956, the Rev. Dr. Arnold R. Verduin became the first Vicar of St. Faith's. Then in 1959, the Rev. Newton C. Wilbur came from Maryland with his family to succeed Father Verduin. Soon thereafter, the last payment was made on the land on which the Church was to be built.

1960's:
St. Faith's Day School opened in 1960 with 25 kindergarten children and one teacher. The Day School was very successful and grew into a Preschool that served the community for over 40 years.

In 1961, worship services moved to the Cutler Ridge Community Center (on the site of what has become the Southland Mall) while the Parish Hall/Chapel and the first Education (East) Building were constructed. Father Wilbur was installed as rector in 1964 when St. Faith's became a self-supporting parish. The second Education (West) Building and the Parish Office Building were completed that year.

1970's:
In 1968, the State of Florida acquired a part of our property for construction of the Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike. Our plan had been to build our permanent church on that section of the land. Consequently the congregation voted to remodel the Parish Hall/Chapel into our current church. This project was completed in 1974. St. Faith's was a successful parish with a well-received Day School.

 

1980's:
Father Wilbur retired in 1981 and Father Jeffery Ditzel was called as our next rector until December of 1987. Father Ralph Johnson served as our interim priest from December of 1987 until the summer of 1989.

1990's:
Father Gary Verell was called in July of 1989 to be the parish's 3rd rector. Fr. Verell invigorated the congregation with new life and purpose. He challenged St. Faith to think beyond what 'had always been' and to look to the future.

We were struck by Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. Although our parish was directly in the path of the storm, the physical damage to the church buildings was minimal. We were grateful to the members of St. Andrew's, Boca Raton, who arrived that first Saturday and several subsequent ones, to clear away glass and cut a pathway through fallen trees to the church and begin to put classrooms back together again. Soon thereafter, the 82nd Airborne set up temporary quarters in the West Building. They too cleaned up debris and cleared trees and kept out looters. The Day School was able to open only a few weeks later.

The complete clean up took months, and during that time plans we drawn up for rebuilding and expansion. The Parish Hall was enlarged and remodeled, with new kitchen and bathroom facilities. The West Building classrooms were remodeled and the playgrounds were expanded. Bishop Schofield dedicated the newly renovated buildings in November of 1994. In 1996, recognizing that our parish office building had become too small, we began plans for the present Administration Building, which was completed in 1997.

The Rev. Alejandro Hernandez was assigned to us as Assistant Rector in March 1997. He was ordained in Cuba and needed help with English and liturgics. He had to leave his family behind and we worked vigorously to find some way to get them to the United States. They finally arrived in November 1999. Just prior to their arrival Fr. Hernandez was appointed as Rector of Holy Cross Church in Miami.

In 1998 we had another cause for rejoicing. For many years land totaling five and a half acres adjacent to our property had passed through hands of many developers but remained vacant. We had long wanted to buy the land but the price was always too high. One Sunday, the vestry presented to the congregation the possibility that by our own efforts we might be able to buy it. Within nine days, the people of St. Faith's raised the funds and the congregation purchased the land.

Fr. Verell retired in November 1998 after nine an a half years of successful service. We had accomplished many things during that period that was a testiment to Fr. Verell. The Parish Hall was dedicated as 'Verell Hall' in his honor.

 

In July 2000, the Rev. Donald P. Sullivan became our Rector. Fr. Sullivan served the parish for nearly 8 years. During this period the Rev. Cyril White began to assist our parish with services and sermons that were always a joy to listen to. Fr. Sullivan was active in the community and promoted St. Faith's in the Cutler Bay area. We continued to hold our annual events such as the Halloween Carnival and Easter Egg Hunts. During this period, St. Faith's created the columbarium within the church which has become an important focal point for many of our parish families. Fr. Sullivan retired, and moved to Key West.

 

In March 2008, the Rev, Jennie Lou Reid became our 5th Rector and our adventures continued. Mother Reid faithfully served as our Priest and Rector for 9 years before retiring on March 1, 2017. During her tenure, St. Faith was restored to Parish status with the Diocese the parish was restored by restoring our diocesan assessment obligations. We gained a new partner in our long standing church school by leasing the school facilities to 'The Village of Early Education'. Significant improvements were made to the school facilities and we re-established the zoning approvals to allow the school to continue. During this time Dr. Gene Greco joined as our Music Director. We established an annual silent auction fund raising event that was held each year. The Liz White Endowment fund was established with a significant bequest in 2016, and that endowment fund will provide support to the Parish for years to come.