The History of St. Paul's
“For the memories we cherish,
That to this our home belong.
Hours of sweet and high communion,
Matin, prayer and Evensong;
“For the lessons Thou hast taught us-
Taught by joy, and taught by pain -
Lord for all Thy countless blessings,
We uplift our heartfelt strain.”
“Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give the praise.”
Previous to 1841 the nearest Anglican Clergyman to Dunnville was the Rev. Bold Cudmore Hill of York, whose ministries led him, mostly on horseback over two of three Counties. A fall off his horse caused his death in 1870, at 71, after 32 years of faithful missionary work up and down the Grand River.
In 1842, a frame church, much in style as Christ Church, Port Maitland was build on the property where our present church now stands. It was consecrated on June 17th, 1846.
The first authentic entry found of a church service in Dunnville is dated July 31st, 1845, when Henry Hopkins and Eliza Allen were married.
The first incumbents at St Paul’s were Rev. Adam Townley 1843-1855, Rev. John Flood 1855-1866 and Rev Noah Disbrow 1866-1877. It was just a coincidence that Noah was minister at St. Paul’s when Dunnville experiences its first great flood of 1869.
Rev. Percy Smith in 1877 became the last Rector to have the three churches under his care. St. Paul’s, Christ Church Port Maitland (June 16th, 1846) and St. John’s, South Cayuga (Spring 1844).
In 1887, St. Paul’s church that stands on the site today, was built at a cost of $8,000 – 9,000.
Church pews were rented and in 1893 the Vestry moved that “all seats in St. Paul’s to be free and allotted.”
In 1896, our beautiful round Crucifixion window was given in memory of the Ramsey’s and their children. Many other windows and memorial items were given at this time.
In 1906, Frank and Anne Lalor presented the church with a magnificent Pipe Organ. The Lye Organ was given in memory of their son Budd who died in 1905. This beautiful Cassavant Pipe Organ was installed by the Lye Organ Co, Toronto. It has been rebuilt and clean several times through the years.
In 1903, the present Rectory was built and between 1904 and 1909 the Parish Hall and Sunday School were built.
In 1918, the present church was fully paid for and consecrated on September 27th.
On October 4th, 1954, the chancel ceiling fell, it was restored in just twenty days.
On October 9th, 1959, the cornerstone was laid for an addition which is now our ‘Canterbury room”. The cemetery around the side of the church was abandoned and the remains and stones were removed to make room for the new addition.
In 1974 a Layman was chosen to administer the chalice with the Bishop’s permission.
In 1975, the Rector of St. Paul’s would again assume responsibility for St. Albans, Byng, St. John’s, South Cayuga and Christ Church, Port Maitland. This remains so today with the exception of St. Albans, Byng which closed in 1980.
A Christmas Eve Family Service was introduced at 7:30 pm in 1981.
In 1987, the interior of St. Paul’s was repainted at a reported cost of $26,000. In that same year the Book of Alternative Services was introduced.
In 1989, a young enthusiastic Rev. Michael Bird arrived at St. Paul’s with his family, Rev Bird served as Rector until 1994. Michael Bird is now Bishop of Niagara.
Having taken us through the many years of our church, let us not forget the everyday happenings throughout the years. Without the Rectors and Parishioners, the ACW, Parish Councils, Altar Guilds, Outreach groups, Choirs and Organists, Sunday School Teachers & Youth Groups, Wardens, Servers, Secretaries, Treasurers; St. Paul’s would not exist.