History of St. Paul’s Church in Manheim, PA

The congregation of St. Paul’s was organized on May 8, 1869 when the first vestry was elected. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on October 29th of the same year. In the next year, on May 3, 1870, the small “carpenter gothic” church was consecrated. The Rev. A.M. Abel became the first Vicar of the congregation.

The original church building was a simple rectangular room to which additions were made through the years. In 1906, the sanctuary was added. The present altar was given by the Girls Friendly Society in 1912. A small vesting room was enlarged in 1922. The parish hall was added in the 1950’s and the parking lot in 1977.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church Manheim PA Circa 1905
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA – Circa 1905

Since its beginning, St. Paul’s had been “yoked” with Hope Church at Mount Hope, both being mission parishes and sharing a priest (hence the title, “Vicar”). In January, 1976, with the financial and moral support of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, the ministries at Hope Church and St. Paul’s were assigned to separate clergy with the hope that St. Paul’s would soon become a full-fledged parish. Within eight years, it came to be. St. Paul’s entered 1984 as a self-supporting parish.

Over the years, every once and a while, there has been a call from some parishioners for St. Paul’s to sell its building and erect a larger one outside of town. But every time, the notion was voted down. Our people like being small and serving our neighborhood right where we are.

We have been a larger group in the past. Like everything else, there have been cycles to our existence. However, some things don’t change–visitors know us to be warm and welcoming!  Our sister churches like to attend meetings here because of the good food. In fact, most of our outreach projects seem to involve food in some way or another. We see ourselves as nurturers, helping our fellow human beings to live their lives in a more loving way.