OUR BEGINNINGS

Iona-Hope Episcopal Church had its beginnings as a result of an initiative by the Diocese of Southwest Florida to form a mission. The Rev. Dr. John Adler was challenged by a member of the committee on missions to begin a new mission in the Iona-MacGregor area of Fort Myers. In the summer of 1998, John and his wife Wanda formed a steering committee to begin this process. John succeeded in finding people who were willing to dream and willing to be part of a non-traditional type of congregation, including Deacon Kathy Ennis who had served with John at St. Monica’s in Naples.

John had determined that the process of building a congregation might take at least a year. However after only six months, a new congregation began meeting temporarily in The Bridge Club at Island Plaza Shopping Center. Since the Bridge Club didn’t play on Saturday nights, members of the congregation were able to re-set the space with chairs, an altar and hymnals. One member, Naomi Godfray baked cookies for the coffee hour each week. The present kitchen is named for Naomi because of her faithful hospitality.

As attendance grew, the congregation began to look at property which had been purchased for mission by St. Luke’s in Fort Myers near the corner of Gladiolus Drive and Bass Road. A 10 unit modular building was designed for the property. On Palm Sunday, 2000, the congregation began services at the Bridge Club then drove to the new building and laid palm branches at the doorway.

 

Iona-Hope received its name from this geographical area, but also for the many discussions relative to the hopes and dreams of this congregation. Iona-Hope is further linked to the Iona Community off the coast of Scotland by the Celtic processional cross which was made by a woodcarver at Iona Abbey, a spiritual site founded by St. Columba in 563. Iona-Hope’s patron saint is St. Columba. As the Isle of Iona is a place where one might be open to challenge and to the possibilities of exploring new horizons, so is Iona-Hope Episcopal Church.

During Advent of 2005, Iona-Hope’s present church was opened for services. By this time, there were three services: a Saturday evening healing service with Eucharist and two Sunday morning services: 8:00 Rite One and 9:30 Rite Two. The Rev. William Hurst, a retired priest had taken on the leadership of the Sunday early service. Other assisting priests have also come to be part of the ministries here: The Rev. Laurence Walton, The Rev. Walter Neds and lay pastor, Deborah Prather. In the fall of 2006, Iona-Hope called The Rev. Adele Dees Hatfield to be Associate Pastor and charged her with the development of children’s ministries, newcomer ministries and expansion of small group ministries.

As the Iona Community in Scotland seeks new ways to live the Gospel in today’s world, so do we at Iona-Hope strive toward intentionality in seeking to serve Christ here and beyond our borders. Iona-Hope Episcopal Church proclaims “All are Welcome” on its signage as a confirmation of our baptismal covenants to love our neighbor as ourselves and of our emphasis on inclusivity and servanthood. 

 

 

Iona-Hope received its name from this geographical area, but also for the many discussions relative to the hopes and dreams of this congregation. Iona-Hope is further linked to the Iona Community off the coast of Scotland by the Celtic processional cross which was made by a woodcarver at Iona Abbey, a spiritual site founded by St. Columba in 563. Iona-Hope’s patron saint is St. Columba. As the Isle of Iona is a place where one might be open to challenge and to the possibilities of exploring new horizons, so is Iona-Hope Episcopal Church.

During Advent of 2005, Iona-Hope’s present church was opened for services. By this time, there were three services: a Saturday evening healing service with Eucharist and two Sunday morning services: 8:00 Rite One and 9:30 Rite Two. The Rev. William Hurst, a retired priest had taken on the leadership of the Sunday early service. Other assisting priests have also come to be part of the ministries here: The Rev. Laurence Walton, The Rev. Walter Neds and lay pastor, Deborah Prather. In the fall of 2006, Iona-Hope called The Rev. Adele Dees Hatfield to be Associate Pastor and charged her with the development of children’s ministries, newcomer ministries and expansion of small group ministries.

As the Iona Community in Scotland seeks new ways to live the Gospel in today’s world, so do we at Iona-Hope strive toward intentionality in seeking to serve Christ here and beyond our borders. Iona-Hope Episcopal Church proclaims “All are Welcome” on its signage as a confirmation of our baptismal covenants to love our neighbor as ourselves and of our emphasis on inclusivity and servanthood.

Iona-Hope received its name from this geographical area, but also for the many discussions relative to the hopes and dreams of this congregation. Iona-Hope is further linked to the Iona Community off the coast of Scotland by the Celtic processional cross which was made by a woodcarver at Iona Abbey, a spiritual site founded by St. Columba in 563. Iona-Hope’s patron saint is St. Columba. As the Isle of Iona is a place where one might be open to challenge and to the possibilities of exploring new horizons, so is Iona-Hope Episcopal Church.

During Advent of 2005, Iona-Hope’s present church was opened for services. By this time, there were three services: a Saturday evening healing service with Eucharist and two Sunday morning services: 8:00 Rite One and 9:30 Rite Two. The Rev. William Hurst, a retired priest had taken on the leadership of the Sunday early service. Other assisting priests have also come to be part of the ministries here: The Rev. Laurence Walton, The Rev. Walter Neds and lay pastor, Deborah Prather. In the fall of 2006, Iona-Hope called The Rev. Adele Dees Hatfield to be Associate Pastor and charged her with the development of children’s ministries, newcomer ministries and expansion of small group ministries.

As the Iona Community in Scotland seeks new ways to live the Gospel in today’s world, so do we at Iona-Hope strive toward intentionality in seeking to serve Christ here and beyond our borders. Iona-Hope Episcopal Church proclaims “All are Welcome” on its signage as a confirmation of our baptismal covenants to love our neighbor as ourselves and of our emphasis on inclusivity and servanthood.