SAINT PAUL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
(updated March 2019)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Our Church Today
Buildings and Grounds
Vision and Goals – Where is God calling us to act? What will we do differently?
WELCOME TO ST. PAUL’S, LEAVENWORTH
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Welcome and thank you for your interest in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Leavenworth, Kansas. We cordially invite you to join us at St. Paul’s and experience for yourself our gracious welcome, generous community, and engaging worship.
St. Paul’s is the first parish of the Diocese of Kansas, established three years before the diocese itself was formed, and organized with the support of St. Paul’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut on December 10, 1856. The history and tradition of this, the first Episcopal congregation in Kansas, are important touchpoints for our parishioners and constant reminders of who we are and what we are asked to do as members of the Body of Christ in our community, the region, and the world.
St. Paul’s takes great pride in the scope of our impact in this community, reaching well beyond what one would expect from a parish of our size. We are active in our local community with outreach programs to include: the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope, serving the homeless and underprivileged members of our community; a Community Meal program that serves up to 500 meals one Saturday each month; Backpack Buddies, a nutritional augmentation program serving underprivileged children in our local unified school districts; Kids’ Connection, an after school activity and mentorship program serving underprivileged children in the community immediately surrounding the parish; as well as several other external and internal ministries.
St. Paul’s was established 2 years after the town of Leavenworth was incorporated, becoming the first city in the Kansas territory with a population of approximately 2,000. This was a tumultuous time and place to begin a new parish. Although the Army had founded Fort Leavenworth 29 years earlier in 1827, this area of the country had previously been set aside as Indian Territory by the U.S. government. However, the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 opened the way for white settlement in this western expanse – with the stipulation that the settlers would vote on whether to allow slavery within the territory. Resulting anti-slavery and pro-slavery agitation often led to open physical confrontation within the city and surrounding areas.
In late 1856, the Rev. Hiram Stone resigned his rectorship in Connecticut after being appointed a domestic missionary to the remote field of the West and led the first successful effort to establish an Episcopal Church in Kansas. Two weeks after his arrival in Leavenworth City, on 10 December, St. Paul’s was organized as a mission church. The mission was named after St. Paul’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut in consideration of the support extended by them to the new mission.
At the time of the Rev. Stone’s arrival, support for the establishment of a mission was slight in the community and there were only three communicants of the church. For nearly two years, services were held in what space that could be obtained in the town. On 5 September 1858, a wooden church that could seat two hundred worshipers opened for services. Two months later, the Rev. Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of the Territory, consecrated the church and three people were confirmed. Another eight people were confirmed by Bishop Kemper on 14 August 1859. By the time of his resignation in October 1859, Mr. Stone listed forty-three communicants at St. Paul’s.
The little parish languished during the three years between Father Stone’s resignation and the arrival of the Rev. John Hobson Egar in March 1863. The congregation dwindled, the Sunday School was disbanded, and the wood-frame church was lost. Upon assuming the rectorship, Rev. Egar took immediate steps to erect the Norman-style building we worship in today. While there were only 19 communicants at the time, the parish purchased three lots and obtained plans for a church to seat 500 people. Construction began in June 1863. On 10 July 1864, the erected portion of the church was occupied for public worship for the first time and by 15 January 1866, St. Paul’s recorded 53 communicants. Shortly before Rev. Egar’s resignation in July 1868, the Parochial Report showed a good organ was in place, the building was lit by gas, lots were properly fenced, and the parish was almost debt-free, having obtained funding from eastern churches for the construction.
Work to enlarge and finish the church was resumed in July 1871 under the leadership of the Rev. John Kendrick, and the building in approximately its present configuration was completed in 1872. Following the Rev. Kendrick’s departure in 1874, St. Paul’s was served by another eight rectors through 1910, and another eight through mid-2018.
OUR CHURCH TODAY
Buildings and Grounds.
Saint Paul’s Church on the east side of 7th Street and the Parish House on the west form the current campus. The present church building remains one of the purest examples of Norman architecture in this country. The seating capacity of the Nave is 300 and of the choir area 24.
The church building underwent a year-long restoration project in the late 1940s, and in 2009 St. Paul’s completed a major renovation, titled That All May Enter (TAME). The project provided; covered handicapped access to the sanctuary, handicapped-accessible bathrooms adjacent to the nave, space for a nursery immediately outside the sanctuary, a dedicated vesting area for the choir and lay readers, a small gathering space outside the nave, and replaced the church’s heating and ventilation system with energy-efficient units. The expansion also created a 20-space parking lot with dedicated handicapped parking and a 48-space columbarium.
The parish house, constructed in 1922, has a main floor and a walkout basement. The main floor houses the church offices, a large activity room, and a sizable kitchen. The lower floor consists of an office, an historical/archive room, 10 meeting (Sunday-school) rooms, and a storage area. The south side of the parish house overlooks an expansive lawn that is used for Easter egg hunts, cookouts, and the Parish Picnic. Friends in Service to Saint Paul’s (FIST), a group of volunteer parishioners, maintains our buildings and grounds.
The parish draws its members largely from the Leavenworth-Lansing area, which includes Ft. Leavenworth, an active Army base, and both federal and state prison facilities. The area has a relatively stable core population consisting of local natives, retired military, and government service people as well as a transient population of active military and other government service people.
Today, St. Paul’s has approximately 200 members. Each year several military families, assigned as students at the Command and General Staff College or to other activities on Ft. Leavenworth, join the church for their time in the Leavenworth area.
Communication. Keeping parishioners aware of the various activities of the church is a primary responsibility of the parish office.
Web: St. Paul’s has both a Facebook (Saint Paul’s – the Episcopal Church in Leavenworth Kansas) and a public web page (https://www.stpaulslvn.org) that are maintained by volunteers. We also publish The Herald, a digital newsletter that supplies a monthly calendar of events including special days and seasonal church activities. The Herald also includes articles from our clergy, lay leaders, and others. Each member of the parish also receives a copy of The Harvest, a bi-monthly publication of Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
Welcome packet: A welcome packet is provided by our greeters to newcomers and guests. A visitor’s register is kept in the Nave.
Sunday bulletin: Contains the order of service, the current parish prayer list, information about upcoming services and parish events, and opportunities and requests for assistance to meet various parish needs.
Parish Directory: is updated monthly with parishioner names, addresses, and other pertinent information
Bulletin boards across the campus, special mailings, and announcements from the pulpit are other avenues of communication.
Outreach. The parish actively supports the community through the following programs;
Food, personal hygiene supplies, and other items are continuously collected in the church and parish house to support the Alliance Against Family Violence and Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope, the city’s principal organizations serving the homeless and underprivileged.
On the second Saturday of each month, St. Paul’s hosts a free Community Meal. We partner with volunteers from the Fort Leavenworth Protestant Chapel to provide a hot meal, fruit, and dessert. The meal is served in the parish hall. Each month approximately 25 volunteers serve about 500 meals to more than one hundred families in need. This is a community-wide outreach effort with 12 area churches participating.
The parish supports Kids’ Connection, a collaborative outreach with other local churches to provide a safe after-school environment for local children. Volunteers provide help with homework as well as an after-school snack.
Backpack Buddies, a program that strives to provide weekend food supplies for children in the community who are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch programs. Parents sign their children up for the program and the children are given a backpack of food on Fridays with enough food for the weekend. St. Paul’s partners to pack food provided by the program several times during the school year.
Fibers of Faith is a group of crafters in the parish who knit or crochet prayer shawls, lap blankets, baby blankets, and other items for parishioners and others in the community. This group also makes hand-crafted cards for our parish card ministry.
We care for all of God’s creation through our support of LAWS (Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society), PALS (run by Council on Aging to provide pet food for those with fixed incomes), and Vet Buddies (providing pet care for veterans who are unable to care for their pet for various reasons).
The church has an extensive collection of medical devices (walkers, shower chairs, etc.) and home health supplies available, free of charge, to members of the parish and community.
We hope to be an attractive place for those who love either choral music as part of their worship or those that are called to ministry through singing in the choir. St. Paul’s recognizes the importance and power of music in the way it supports inspiring worship. We have a long tradition of organ and choral music actively supported by the vestry and congregation. We enjoy an informal relationship with the University of Kansas School of Music.
The clergy and organist/choirmaster work together in the leadership of music ministry. Our choir often provides anthems and sung psalms for our Choral Eucharist, as well as leading the congregation in hymns and service music. The choir rehearses weekly through the academic year and sings at Sunday services eleven months of the year. Our modest pipe organ supports the choir and congregation, and those instrumentalists who join us on occasion to add variety to our services.
Our Sunday School currently is divided into two groups: 4-year olds-2nd/3rd Grade and 3rd/4th Grade to 6th Grade.
The younger children learn Bible stories based on the Godly Play curriculum. There are four teachers that rotate teaching and helping in this class. At present, classes average 3-7 children each week.
The older class learns the Bible stories from reading the Bible and are also learning about the Lord’s Prayer, the Nicene Creed, and the Ten Commandments. There are two teachers that lead this class, which presently averages 3-4 students weekly.
All St. Paul’s parishioners involved with children have completed the Safeguarding God’s Children and Safe Church training offered by the Diocese.
An adult program is offered seasonally (Advent, Lent, etc), usually in the evening and with a meal.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish builds and sustains Disciples of Christ through sacramental worship, fellowship and intellectually stimulating Christian education to proclaim the love of Christ and carry out the Parish’s ministry in the Leavenworth community and throughout the World.
St. Paul’s is currently under the leadership of a part-time "priest-in-charge" as we carefully determine how best to move into the future. In addition to deciding whether a full-time or part-time priest is needed, we are actively engaged in discerning who we are and whom we want to be a decade hence. The budget, our ministries, our buildings, our staff, and our general presence in the community are all considerations and part of our discernment and strategy before we move into the process of calling a new priest to lead us. It is a time of thoughtful anticipation and excitement as we seek to grow our discipleship under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
St Paul’s Episcopal Parish is a thriving, spiritually enriched congregation, a positive influence in the community, free of major debt with well-maintained facilities suitable to carry out our mission.
In 2030, we will be preparing to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the organization of St. Paul’s, Leavenworth. To achieve our vision by 2030, we will nurture and grow our congregation focusing on the following actions or goals:
Enriching and meaningful worship services
Support for our music and choir program
Effective pastoral care and outreach
Care of Liturgical/Episcopal traditions
Maintain our historic buildings
Church growth (membership)
Provide fellowship opportunities
Interaction with the community
More opportunities for and offering of lay-leadership
Have excellent communication amongst the members of the Parish
Have nursery/youth programs
Have adult education/development program