History of the Church of Our Saviour

Church of our Saviour has a rich history. Our church has continued to be strengthened through the years by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We encourage visitors to come, walk the grounds and experience the history of this amazing, holy place.


Church of Our Saviour was organized in 1880 by the Rev. Charles Sturgess, an Episcopal missionary appointed by the Bishop of Florida to conduct regular services in Mandarin.  The congregation had been meeting for Bible Readings for twelve years under the leadership of Professor Calvin E. Stowe and his wife, Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

In 1882, a small frame church, built on the present riverfront property, held the first service on November 4, 1883. Our Saviour was a thriving parish until the great freeze of 1895 wiped out the citrus industry in Mandarin. Services were held sporadically until the area population was revived.


In 1916, a memorial window to the Stowes was placed in the north end of the Church, overlooking the St. Johns River. Made by Tiffany, the window represented the oak trees of the Stowe house against the river and sunset sky. Admirers of Harriet Beecher Stowe all over the world contributed to its purchase and Church of Our Saviour became a popular tourist attraction.


Disaster struck Our Saviour on September 9, 1964 when a large hickory tree snapped by the winds of Hurricane Dora fell across the church building and damaged it beyond repair. The Stowe Memorial Window was destroyed, but miraculously the rest of the stained glass windows and many church furnishings were undamaged.

1965 - 1966

In 1965, a new church was constructed on the site of the first. The present church is larger than the original, and many of the architectural features of the original church were adapted for the new building.  The new church building was dedicated on December 16, 1966. Its design won the 1966 Florida Architects Association Honor Award. 

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Episcopal Church of Our Saviour

12236 Mandarin Rd

Jacksonville, FL 32223

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