Our First Sixty Years

The year was 1951. A handful of pioneers agreed to leave First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota and establish a new congregation south of town near Stickney Point Road and Tamiami Trail. The area was called Pine Shores and it was home to a trailer park and a growing residential subdivision.

A vacant, one room tavern on the west side of Tamiami Trail was for rent. The forty-two charter members moved in and Pine Shores Presbyterian Church was born. The organizational service was held on May 13, 1951 and one week later, on May 20, Women of the Church was formed. Robert Hoffman, one of the charter members, was the owner and developer of Pine Shores Subdivision. He graciously donated the large triangular lot bounded by Ridgewood , Crestwood and Elmwood to the church. A contiguous six acres were purchased later.

By late 1951 work had begun on the first unit of a new building and by March, 1952 a long room that would seat 150, an office, restrooms and a kitchen would be home to Pine Shores Presbyterian.

The “Little Church” was packed every Sunday. Loud speakers were set up out-side so that people could worship in their cars. In 1953 the church was so crowd-ed during the winter season that services were transferred to the Siesta Drive-In Theater.  In 1955 the Oberg Room and an addition were completed. The Little Church could now accommodate 300. But more space was soon needed and rooms were added as necessary. In 1957 the fifth expansion along the north wall was finished and the church was now complete.

The first Easter Sunrise Service on Siesta Beach was held in 1957 and rapidly became a moving and meaningful time of worship for the Pine Shores congregation as well as the community at large, including hundreds of winter visitors. Those attending this service now number in the thousands. In 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Sunrise Service, the goodwill offering along with a donation from the Endowment Board of the church, financed the building of a Habitat For Humanity house. The Easter Sunrise Service on Siesta Beach continues to be a gift to Sarasota that keeps giving.

In 1961 a large sanctuary was built at the south side of the triangle and the ad-dress was changed to 6116 Elmwood. Fellowship Hall was constructed in 1963 and The Hub was added in 1972.  In 1975 Pine Shores founded Bay Village, an independent, self-owned, self-governing, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community. The sanctuary grew with the completion of an annex in 1976. The Administration Building was constructed in 1978.  In 2000 it was time to build again. Fellowship Hall was demolished to make way for a beautiful new edifice to be nestled among the pine trees.

Today and Tomorrow

On November 5, 2000 the ground breaking for a new building to house a sanctuary, choir room, library and classrooms took place. Dr. Bruce and Rev. Karen Wismer arrived as co-pastors on February 1, 2001 to lead us into our second half century.  God has been good to us and our mission is to serve the needs of the world.

We extend an invitation to visit and tour our sanctuary and campus and to experience the faith and friendship of Pine Shores.