“At 140, St. Paul’s is County’s Oldest Episcopalian Church” — Marin Independent Journal, May 18, 2008
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St. Paul’s was founded in 1868 and is the oldest Episcopal Church in Marin County. The church building, in the carpenter gothic style, was constructed in 1869 which makes it the oldest church building in San Rafael and the second oldest in the county.
In 1895 the community outgrew the building and so needed to expand. The expansion added our signature Rose Window, which was paid for by a wealthy East Coast businessman whose bet in a friendly local poker game was covered by a St. Paul’s parishioner. In 1927 the church was moved from the corner of 4th and E to its current location on Court Street between Mission and 5th.
We have long and fruitful relationships with many of the most important service organizations in the county. These include Ritter Center, the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, and the Canal Alliance, which was started in part with St. Paul’s parishioners handing out sandwiches from our courtyard. We have a long history with San Quentin Prison, where some inmates have become parishioners.
We have always been a center of intelligent and faithful engagement with scripture and tradition. Our Wednesday morning Bible Study has been running regularly since the 1940s. For decades, our Soup/Suppers have brought some of the finest writers and speakers of the Bay Area. For the last twenty years, we have been the home of Contemplative Outreach, the organization that teaches Christian meditation.
Worship has always been the heart of what we do. Our sacred space contains symbols that link our community to the ancient church. Our music and our prayers are all firmly rooted in the Christian scriptures and so make our history one with roots that go back thousands of years. We believe that when we worship together, we are praying with all the saints throughout history.
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