Our Story

Calvary Chapel of Sarasota started April 15th 1987 In the living room of a local dentists home. Carl and Valerie Dixon were arranging to return to Canada when they were approached by a small group of people who asked if they would consider starting a new Church. The vision was for a verse by verse teaching format along with contemporary worship.

That first service was attended by 35 people and a new Church was formed called Agape Christian Fellowship. There was immediate growth and after only six weeks the group had grown and started meeting in the Cafeteria of Fruitville Elementary School. The space there became limited within six months and arrangements were made to move to Cardinal Mooney High School and take over the Cafeteria building along with several classrooms Sunday Morning and Evening. 

While at Cardinal Mooney Pastor Carl and Valerie were required to return to Canada for a nine month period due to problems obtaining a permanent resident Visa. When they returned to the Church (with their permanent visa’s in hand) further growth caused the Church to move again and start meeting in the beautiful Seventh Day Adventist Church on Proctor Road. One year later they moved to our present location at 3800 27th Parkway. 

When the congregation first moved to this location and rented the facility it was in very bad condition and much of the building could not be used. The second year at the present address Pastor Carl came in contact with the Calvary Chapel Movement and attended a Pastor’s conference at Merritt Island Florida. Pastor Chuck Smith talked to Pastor Carl about being in fellowship with the Calvary Movement at the conference and within a few weeks Agape Christian Fellowship came into fellowship with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa plus hundreds of Calvary’s around the country and the world. 

It was the decision of the Church leadership to change the name of the church which was done over a two year period of time. In 1996 the building at 3800 27th Parkway became too small because of steady growth, so the Church purchased the land and building, entering into a renovation program that would add the much needed space.

Fast forward a few years and we have seen the Lord do wonderful things over the years, each season just as beautiful as the last. We continue to teach the Word of God, that our family would know God for who He is and worship Him in spirit and truth.

We exist to Love God, Grow Disciples and Share Christ, together.

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