St. Raphael’s is the oldest church building on Fort Myers Beach and the first denominational church to be established on Estero Island. It became the seventh in a line of older structures to be presented a Historic Designation plaque. Designed by Cyril Shawcross and Cyril Harby in 1951, St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church was completed in 1953. Architecturally, St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church is a modern mission style building in the shape of a cross.
Officially designated as a historic building in 1953, it was created solely by the devotion of islanders using local materials – sand, coquina, and limestone. In early 2017, the carpet was removed and the concrete floors, originally laid in five different pours and featuring coquina, was acid washed in bronze.
The memorial garden at St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church is part of a serene landscape outside the three buildings tucked in under the shade of palm trees on the scenic property.
Pastor John Adler
While Pastor John Adler of St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church is entitled to be referred to as The Rev. Dr. John S. Adler, he prefers to simply be called John. John Adler was born in 1942, in Harvey, Illinois. After serving in Vietnam as a pilot, he completed active duty in 1967 as a Captain.
After serving his country, John went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialty in Labor Relations. He then completed Law School at I.I.T. Chicago-Kent College of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree.
By 1986, John felt called to attend Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, graduating in 1989 with a Master of Divinity degree.
In 1999, he was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary with a specialty in Congregational Development.
John married Wanda L. Billings in 1962. They have two children, A. Christine and John Stuart. His hobbies include photography and tennis.