South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church was an important part of Jacksonville’s expansion south of the St. Johns River in the early 1900s. The church is named for South Jacksonville, which was a separate town in 1913 when SJPC was established.
The church first began as a small Sunday School and as an outreach of First Presbyterian Church downtown. It held its meetings in a rented building not far from the river ferry that joined South Jacksonville with Jacksonville. Eventually, a small church was erected on the corner of LaSalle Street and Hendricks Avenue.
The first vehicular bridge over the St. Johns was completed in 1921, and South Jacksonville became a part of Jacksonville within a few years. Much of the original San Marco area was constructed during the 1920s and 1930s, resulting in the attractive residential areas and town square next to our sanctuary.
The post-war period saw dramatic growth for the church, and in 1949, the current sanctuary was built to hold its growing congregation. Shortly after, SJPC began to televise its services on Jacksonville’s local Channel 4 station, becoming one of the first in the country to do so.
SJPC continued to build out its campus throughout the last half of the 20th Century, at one time including apartment buildings, offices, an independent music building, a prayer chapel, and a family life center featuring a gym and other spaces for young and old alike.
The drive for both innovation and care continues as the church continues to address the needs of our community. SJPC’s most recent history includes a complete reorientation of its campus, opening itself up to the San Marco square for the first time. With the new fellowship and administrative building, SJPC offers itself to its neighbors, engaging heads, hearts, and hands in thoughtful ways that invite others to be caretakers – not just of the neighborhood outside their doors, but of the whole world.