1883 - 1948
The founder and first Minister in Charge of St. Paul's Church was the Revd. R. D. NEVIUS, D.D., who came to Whatcom in 1883 and was succeeded in 1884 by the Rev. J. H. BIRCKHEAD [BIRKHEAD]. St. Paul's Church was built in 1884. No record was kept of all the officiating clergy but approximately the following have been in charge prior to the time at which this record begins and up to June 1st 1900:
1887 - 89 The Rev. S. R. GRAY
[In a different hand is a note: "From minutes of Women's Guild records, it is clear that the Rev. S. R. GRAY was succeeded by a Rev. Mr. JOHNSON."]
1890 91 P. E. HYLAND
1892 93 D. L. V. MOFFETT
1894 98 Mark JUKES
1899 1900 I. M. BARR
The Register of St. James', Fairhaven during its existence shows that the work there was very successful in the days of Fairhaven's prosperity. It is certain that L. W. APPLEGATE while Minister in Charge of St. James', founded St. Luke's Hospital in 1892.
The hospital was carried on at first in rented quarters, one of which was at Elk St. and the other was the Baker Hotel, Cor East Holly and Forest. Bishop BARKER bought the present property upon which St. Luke's is situated in 1894. St. Paul's appears to have been known as a Parish during the term of Rev. Mr. MOFFETT in 1892-93 but evidently the panic of '93 resulted disastrously to the Church on Bellingham Bay, for while still called a Parish, very little was done for some years in the way of financial support.
A great many people moved away during this period, including the most active and energetic churchpeople both in Whatcom and Fairhaven. Whereas in 1892 two clergymen were at work on the Bay and apparently two self-supporting parishes, for a long period there was only one clergyman and he received very little support. The work was kept going by a grant from the Missionary funds. St. Paul's reported only 60 communicants and $600.00 total offerings for all purposes for the year 1899. About this time however there began the movement which eventually consolidated Fairhaven and New Whatcom into the one city now called Bellingham. In 1903 St. Paul's was incorporated as a Parish and assumed the entire support of the Missionary who then became Rector.
In order to ensure the status as a Parish, application was made to Convocation and St. Paul's was received as a Parish in union with the District of Olympia. The property known as St. Luke's Hospital was deeded by Bishop KEATOR to St. Paul's Parish; the rights of reversion held by the two land companies; viz. The Bellingham Bay Improvement Co. and the B. B. Land Company were relinquished, a new corporation known as St. Luke's Hospital was created providing for the election of Trustees by the Vestry of St. Paul's Parish to which Corporation the Vestry deeded the Hospital property.
St. Luke's Hospital was continuously operated as a Church institution during these years except for a time in 1898 and 1899, Bishop BARKER making up the deficits when the Hospital did not pay its way, so that the Church is clearly entitled to whatever honor or emolument which this institution may win. When a new building for St. Luke's was erected 1904-1905 very little outside help was received in the way of donations, the entire responsibility both for building and maintenance being carried by the Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of St. Paul's Parish.
The Hospital having been established, however, and progressing under its Board of Trustees, it is confidently hoped that the future will see a suitable building erected for the Parish Church, and the work which has been carried on under many and great difficulties in the past will go forward with increased energy of the future.
During all the years of its history the clergy of the Church have ministered on Bellingham Bay to a large number of people the majority having come from the Middle West where our church was very weak if not almost unknown; there have been actually very few loyal and bona fide churchpeople. At times the Church seems to have been filled; at other times almost deserted. Of Church work in Whatcom County and on the Islands adjacent there has been little if any, with the result that St. Paul's has occupied an isolated position with a large list of nominal adherents but very few actual supporters. Such work as has been done is due in large measure to the church Guilds of women who by precarious and unapostolic methods of Strawberry festivals and other entertainments have nevertheless always in dark days kept the Church going.
Yet even by such methods the foundations were being laid; and this brief and unsatisfactory statement is put here not by any means claiming to be a complete record but to recall some of the many past efforts which have been put forth in the past as well as for the encouragement of those who follow.
-- Additional History added by W. B. TURRILL --
St. Paul's Church was enlarged in 1905 under the Rev. A. W. CHEATHAM, Rector, and a pipe organ installed in 1919 as a memorial to the Rev. R. Marshall HARRISON and Mrs. HARRISON, his wife.
A new Rectory was purchased in 1920 by the Vestry under the leadership of E. W. STIMPSON, senior warden.
1900 - 13 The Rev. A. W. CHEATHAM
1913 - 18 The Rev. R. Marshall HARRISON, D.D.
1919 - W. B. TURRILL
A Parish Hall was erected in 1921 by Mr. F. Stanley PIPER, senior warden, under Dr. STIMPSON's chairmanship.
The following notes cover the period of 1923 to January 1948. They were made in January 1948 by the Rev. Canon Ernest B. SMITH, who twice served as Rector of St. Paul's Church.
In the summer of 1923 - Mr. TURRILL resigned from St. Paul's and moved to Seattle. In August - Canon SMITH - rector of St. John's Church of England in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was called to St. Paul's - He arrived in Bellingham and assumed charge on St. Luke's [Oct 18] 1923.
In 1924 - the new St. Paul's Church was started under the rector's direction and plans - opened in Nov. 1927. (see further particulars in ... copy of Olympia Churchman - Date Oct. 1927.) The new fire proof wing of St. Luke's Hospital was also built during this period (see same copy of Olympia Churchman).
Canon SMITH resigned the parish as of Dec. 31st, 1931 - going to St. Luke's, Monrovia, California. Rev. T. DeWitt TANNER became the new Rector. Rev. Clifford SAMUELSON succeeded Mr. TANNER in ____ . Rev. David C. GRAHAM succeeded Mr. SAMUELSON in ___ .
Mr. GRAHAM enlisted as Chaplain [U.S. Army] in May 1942. Canon SMITH was called from California to take charge. Mr. GRAHAM returned in Nov. 1945, resigning the parish. Canon SMITH remained in charge and later was re-elected Rector.
Canon SMITH resigned the second time as of July 31, 1947, to accept the position of General Missionary of the Northern Deanery of District of Olympia, with immediate responsibility of organizing the rural areas of Whatcom County.
About September 1947 - the Vestry called the Rev. W. R. WEBB from Juneau, Alaska - who assumed active charge - Jan. 1st, 1948; the parish in meantime being administered by Rev. O. S. SMITH, Retd of Mount Vernon and Canon SMITH.
|The above historical information about the work of the
Protestant Episcopal Church along Bellingham Bay was extracted by Bob Witherspoon
from an early church record book and other sources at St. Paul's Episcopal
Church, Bellingham, Washington. The historical notes concerning St. Paul's
Church in Bellingham and St. James' Church in Fairhaven, long since extinct,
appear to be in the handwriting of the Rev. A. W. CHEATHAM, Rector of St.
Paul's Church from 1900 to 1913.
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