Six Royal Palm trees lead to the entrance of Our Lady of Mercy Church which was built in 1950, donated by Mrs. Gertrude Hill Gavin, and designed by noted architect F. Burrell Hoffman. Prior to the building of the bridge and the church, priests came by boat. Services were held in the Boca Grande Hotel, or in the Gasparilla Inn. In 1988, the Mission was raised to the status of a Parish with Father Jerome Carosella as the first pastor, who fortunately for parishioners remains to the present day!
St. Andrew’s was formally listed as a mission of the Episcopal Church during the diocesan convention of 1912. A small wooden building, probably used originally to house workers, was purchased in 1916 from the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad and moved to its present site. A $3 million renovation and construction project was completed in 2010. It included the demolition of the old vicarage, renovation of the church, and construction of a new Chapter House and Rectory.
The people of the Lighthouse United Methodist Church are supporters of a wide array of mission activities. The LUMC raises significant revenue for the support of these missions during two major island events held each spring, the Thursday morning Pancake Breakfasts which are absolutely incredible, and the United Methodist Women’s Strawberry Festival.
The First Baptist Church of Boca Grande is the oldest church building on Gasparilla Island and housed on of the island’s two oldest congregations. At first, services were held outdoors conducted by circuit riding preachers twice a month. Between 1911 and 1912, a building committee was organized. In 1915, the church, an example of balloon-frame Carpenter Gothic style architecture, was completed. The Seaboard railroad donated a locomotive’s bell for the church that is still in use today. In 2009, the First Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary and is listed in the national Register of Historic Places.