At the request of Reverend Larry Lossing of St. Paul's Church, the Right Reverend William Folwell presided at the first Episcopal summer beach service in New Smyrna Beach on July 19, 1970. These services quickly became a weekly summer tradition to both summer and weekend visitors, as well as young surfers.
In the early 1980s, growing traffic problems and scheduling conflicts caused the beach services to be discontinued, much to the dismay of residents and many weekend visitors from Orlando. The Reverend Canon Alan Purdom was enlisted to hold services during the summer of 1984. Services that year were held in the Coronado Beach Elementary School cafeteria.
As the service attendance grew, Father Tyrell Dear came on board to serve as the part-time Vicar for St. Peter's beach side chapel. Excitement and talk of the service grew quickly and, again with the help of Orlando visitors, enough contributions were raised to hire Father Dear on a full-time basis.
St. Peter the Fisherman was born and made official in January 1987 as a result of petitions to the Diocese by the fledgling but growing congregation. During the months that followed, the mission grew and land was purchased with Reverend John Liebler becoming the first permanent Vicar in August of that year.
The "Rock Campaign" was launched in the Spring of 1988 and approximately 65 households pledged over $200,000 resulting in groundbreaking festivities for construction of the first multi-use building on Easter Day, 1989. Growth flourished and the mission petitioned to become a self-supporting parish. This request was granted by the Diocese in January of 1993.
In 2000, the "Faith, Hope and Love Campaign" raised $440,000 towards a parking lot addition and ultimate construction of a building. In mid 2002, ground was broken on the current facility that would double the capacity of the previous structure. At the same time, after fifteen years as rector, the Reverand John Liebler was called to a new parish. On June 29, 2003, Bishop John Howe both dedicated our expanded facilities and celebrated the new ministry of the Reverend James Spencer.
St. Peter the Fisherman continues to be characterized by a sanctuary that respects the beauty of God's creation, a ministry of welcome to residents and visitors of all ages, an eager generosity in all kinds of outreach, and a relaxed, yet deeply spiritual worship style.