On October 29, 1901, Reverend Austin, a minister of the congregation, purchased land on which to build the church. John McGee, Chairman of the Trustee Board, and Benjamin Anderson, a member of the congregation, negotiated transactions with S.J. and Annie Trabue to build a Primitive Baptist Church located on the corner of Helen Avenue and St. Mary Street. It was after these negotiations that St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church was dedicated to the call of the worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In the next 60 years to follow, many ministers were called to pastor this congregation. In 1960, Reverend Willie Haynes was called to pastorship. Pastor Haynes immediately sought to rebuild the old foundation of the church. During this time, St. Mary members held their services at the True Light Bible School on Showalter Avenue until the church was built. The first Sunday in September 1968, the St. Mary congregation joined by Reverend Z.D. Coaston and his members from Mount Hermon Primitive Baptist Church of Fort Myers, Florida, marched from True Light Bible School to St. Mary's present location, where they were praising God in song.
Later, as time passed, reverend Haynes' health began to fail. He then asked the church to appoint another pastor to carry on the mission. During the following years, other elders were called to pastor St. Mary; Reverend David Ash, Reverend Lee, Reverend Robert Mitchell of Fort Myers, Reverend Draine, Reverend Brown, Reverend Jimmy Young, Reverend Green, and Reverend G.E. Black. In 1992, Elder W.L. Mitchell of Tampa was called. He served faithfully until his health failed. He then, regretfully, asked the church to appoint another leader. The church went into prayer asking the Lord to send another pastor.
On April 6, 1997, Elder Isaac Thomas, Jr., who is presently serving, was appointed pastor. He was also the director of Cooper Street Recreation Center, an organization that has a profound impact in our community. Elder Thomas has proven to be a man that has a continuing mission and a vision from God. Through his ministry, St. Mary is ascending to new levels in both physical and spiritual growth.
The St. Mary church is known from its early beginning as the Holy Ghost Headquarters. Christ will continue to be the head of this church as we go marching... Up to Zion.
A year before Hurricane Charley, Pastor Thomas was given a vision from God to build a new sanctuary for we had outgrown the old one. Without having funding for such a great task, Pastor Thomas began by faith, exploring preliminary details for such and undertaking. He and sister Anna Callwood collaborated and she began to work on the conceptual design for this church. After hours of many meetings, many changes, and zoning variances - The project was almost ready to pursue but we, the church could not afford it. Yet God had given the vision.
But God. . . God sent Hurricane Charley on August 13, 2004 approximately 4:41 p.m. ripping through Punta Gorda, destroying the church and leaving us homeless. We lost most of the belongings but not our spirit. This catastrophe turned into a blessing. We were able to start construction. God took what we had to give us what we needed.
We were invited by Rev. Loyd Salary, Pastor of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church of 402 Dupont Street in Punta Gorda to share their sanctuary. Our worship services were at 4:00 p.m. and church school on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. We worshiped there for sixteen (16) months then moved to New Operation Cooper Street Recreation & Education Center, Director Grace Nurse , 650 Mary Street, Punta Gorda, Florida, for another twenty-one (21) months. September 9. 2007 was the last service held at Cooper St. Rec. St. Mary headed home. . . August 29, 2007, Certificate of Occupancy issued.