The History of Saint Paul’s Church in Manheim, Pennsylvania
The earliest record of Episcopal services held in Manheim comes to us in a memorandum contained in the first parish register.
“During the autumn of 1849, Mrs. Harriet A. Grubb called for the Rev. D. Washburn, who was temporarily sojourning in Lancaster, to introduce the services of our church, and to direct the building up of the Chapel, at her expense at Mt. Hope…”
Episcopal services were held occasionally and with increasing frequency for the next twenty years … in various rented rooms in Manheim. The formal congregation of St. Paul was organized on May 8, 1869 when the first Vestry was elected. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on Friday, October 29, 1869 with Reverend A. M. Abel, the first Vicar, presiding. This small “carpenter gothic” church was consecrated Tuesday, May 3, 1870.
Gifts before the turn of the century included linens, hangings, book marks, a tin roof and, in 1896, an iron fence. On Christmas Day, 1899, a litany desk was presented by the Women’s Guild and remains among the oldest memorials still in use today.
Eastertide 1901, Mr. Brinton White of Caldwell, New Jersey presented two adjoining lots upon which a new, stone church could be built. Financial difficulties prevented this so the original frame church remains. Additions to this simple rectangular room began in 1906 when the sanctuary was added. An altar was given by the Girls Friendly Society in 1912 and a small vesting room was enlarged in 1922 to make room for a vested choir that began that year. In 1923, for $160, two coats of “colonial yellow” paint renewed the shabby exterior.
Over the years more additions and changes were made by a family of faith and love, focused in the Lord Jesus Christ who is its head. More details reside in early records housed within the church.