Trinity Presbyterian Church began in 1984 when several families who had been meeting together for weekly Bible study began a regular worship service, initially meeting in a member’s home and then a downtown Fort Walton Beach office. With an increasing appreciation and love for the Reformed faith, they recognized the need for a good pastor and contacted many who graciously filled our “pulpit” on occasion, but either were not interested in a move or had views different from ours on key issues such as Christian education, cultural engagement, Creationism, and Household Communion. After hearing about a solidly Reformed pastor named Mickey Schneider, we contacted him in 1985, and after several visits, we asked him and his session at St Paul Presbyterian in Jackson, MS to allow the Schneiders to move to Florida to labor as our founding pastor. The summer of 1986 found Pastor Schneider in our pulpit - at that time only a shaky wooden podium in the choral room of Ruckel Jr. High School, where 14 families met for worship on Sundays. As our congregation began slow but steady growth, we moved to “larger facilities” - the school lunch room - and later to an annex at Twin Cities Hospital. Here we met for several years of great preaching, wonderful fellowship, and much learning together under Pastor Schneider’s capable shepherding.
After saving for some years to buy our own building, in 1991 God enabled us to purchase the old Valparaiso City Hall, since remodeled extensively over the years to accommodate steady church growth. Two additional building lots were purchased with the need for a larger facility in mind, and by 2004 plans were underway for a new building. In 2006, a new administrative building was completed, providing room for offices, a library, and Sunday School rooms. A large Fellowship Hall with a modern kitchen was also constructed at this time. Regrettably, rapidly escalating prices precluded completion of an adjoining sanctuary until a later date.
With Pastor Schneider’s intended retirement at age 70 approaching, a pastoral search committee listened to the encouragement of Pastor Greg Strawbridge to consider one of his interns, Ben Rossell. After mutually edifying visits, TPC celebrated as Ben and his family moved from Maryland to the piney woods of north Florida, with ordination and installation on 28 April 2013 as our new pastor. With membership now approaching 200, a building committee has labored for several years to finalize plans for completion of Trinity’s facilities, with which we hope to move forward soon. As we look back with amazement and gratitude for all the Lord has allowed us to accomplish, we also look forward with joyous anticipation to what He has in store for us in the future.