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Arts & Culture

Historic Churches In Tampa Bay

March 18, 2014 9:00 AM

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File photo of a Florida church. (credit: Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)

File photo of a Florida church. (credit: Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)

Historic churches can be decades and even centuries old, having stood the test of time and becoming landmarks in their local community. Tampa Bay has a handful of these churches, most of which are still thriving to this day. Whether you’re just looking for an opportunity for beautiful photography or you’re seeking a new church home, these historic churches just might have everything you’re looking for.
Old Faith Temple Church
2005 N. Lamar St.
Tampa, FL 33602

For over three years, this historic Tampa Heights church stood unused and empty. What was once a thriving place of worship became nothing but a lonely dwelling of dust bunnies and cobwebs, that is until Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association decided that it would be the perfect place to host a community center. This not-for-profit organization serves low-income and at-risk young people in the Tampa Heights area and needs room to grow. It is currently in the midst of a fundraising effort — with over $650,000 raised so far — to renovate the old building and offer programs like financial literacy, computer training and workforce and college preparation programs. The building is currently undergoing renovations and is not open to the community, but feel free to drive by and admire the beautiful architecture and see the future home of the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association Community Center.

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter
140 4th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 822-4173
www.spcathedral.net

This gorgeous church combines both the beauty of cathedral-style architecture with more modern structures that have been added on over time. Equally beautiful are the stained-glass windows and the art and live flowers on the inside of the chapel. This church is still in operation and offers both traditional and contemporary worship services, weddings, confirmations, funerals, youth group programs and more. The members of this church take their music very seriously and there’s a variety of groups that both children and adults can join, including the Treble Choirs, Chamber Choir, Festival Chorus and more.

Related: Most Community-Centered Bookstores in Tampa Bay

St. Paul Lutheran Church
5103 Central Ave.
Tampa, FL 33603

(813) 239-3113
www.stpaultampa.org

St. Paul was first organized in 1927 and is the oldest ELCA Lutheran church in Tampa. This charming building is constructed entirely of red brick, except for the steeple. The antique stained-glass windows were restored in 2002 and are colored red, blue, green, gold and purple — the liturgical colors of the church year. In 2010, the congregation designed and planted a very peaceful, private Memorial Garden behind the church, perfect for prayer, meditation and reflection. This historic church is still extremely active and offers dozens of services and programs, including Support H.O.P.E. (Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality), Over-Eaters Anonymous meetings, children’s sermons, weddings and Bible study classes.

St. James House of Prayer Episcopal Church
2708 N. Central Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33602
(813) 223-6090
wwwsjhoptpa.org

In 1997, two church congregations merged together to create the new community of believes that is now the St. James House of Prayer. The building is made of stones of all sizes and colors accented with white trim and red doors. The stained glass windows are beautifully preserved and depict scenes from the life of Christ. The church offers both traditional and contemporary worship services. The Cornerstone Kids after-school program, community outreach programs, prison ministry and other programs highlight their services. People from all walks of life are welcome at St. James House of Prayer.

Related: Tampa Bay’s Most Haunted Places

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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