St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrates centennial |

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrates centennial

Suzanne Speaker/For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

St. Paul's Episcopal Church then and now: The old stone church

— This year, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Steamboat Springs celebrates its centennial, but as far back as 1889, a group of Episcopalians would meet in Steamboat Springs for services whenever a bishop happened to be in town. The group met in whatever space was available, and as was true of most gatherings among the earliest settlers, the ladies always brought food to share and provided a warm bed for the traveling clergy, who braved the weather to visit their far-flung flocks.

At the turn of the century, the population of Episcopalians in the western U.S. was so sparse that Utah, Nevada and western Colorado were administered by one bishop, the Right Rev. Abiel Leonard. In 1897, he provided funds to the Steamboat congregation for two building lots at Ninth and Oak streets in hopes of establishing a mission there.

By 1910, the local congregation was sufficiently confident to undertake construction of a stone edifice capable of seating 150 people. The ladies of the church formed a guild and sprang into action, collecting recipes for a cookbook that was published in 1912. Revenue from the sale of the book, donated stone from the Emerald Mountain quarry and the work of many volunteers made the first St. Paul's Episcopal Church a reality in time for Christmas 1913.

Circuit-riding clergy continued to serve the spiritual needs of the mission church for 70 years.

"I took a team and drove for 12 days through these counties, holding a service every night. We visited Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling, Egeria Park, Steamboat Springs, Hahn's Peak, Hayden and Craig," Bishop Leonard wrote.

In 1923, a second cookbook dedicated to unlocking the secrets of high-altitude cooking was published.

Recommended Stories For You

The church building was enlarged in 1962 with the addition of a chancel and sacristy plus a parish hall below ground and an apartment above the sanctuary (site of the present-day church office). Parishioners struck out as far as Denver to raise funds for the project, eventually gathering $35,000.

In 1984, the people of St. Paul's were able to provide full financial support for a priest, and St. Paul's achieved parish status. The Rev. Leon Wilkins became the first rector at St. Paul's.

In 1985, a third cookbook was published with tips on etiquette and household management as well as descriptions of pioneer ladies and their lives in the early days of Steamboat.

In 1999, it was time to build again, so the ladies of the church tied on their aprons and began compiling another cookbook.

To prepare the next chapter of the church in 2000, a group of leaders undertook a visioning project to ascertain and clarify the priorities of the congregation, which are represented in the following prayer:

A Vision of Faith


We have asked you for your vision for us

We are bold to proclaim this vision in your name

A place of youthfulness for all ages

A center in our community to enter, rest, learn and pray

A place in the sunlight to sing and eat, to sit and meditate

A place for the needy and wanting

A place of spiritual growth and reflection

A place to mourn and weep

A place to laugh and praise

A place of continuity and change

A place for all to gather, large and intimate

Wherein we meet the needs of our parish family and this community with the love of Christ. Amen.

In support of these goals, money was raised to fund construction of the current facility, which connects the old stone church with the Emerald Mountain School and includes a new sanctuary, parish hall and, of course, a kitchen.

The new church was dedicated and consecrated Aug. 9, 2002, by Bishop W.J. Winterrowd. In 2009, the Rev. Scott Turner was installed as priest-in-charge for three years before being called to the position of rector and installed on the feast of St. Aidan on Aug. 31, 2011.

In this centenary year, the revitalized parish of St. Paul's Episcopal Church once again is growing and thriving. New ministries are being undertaken, and new forms of outreach into the community are being explored. The Rev. Bain White, former deacon, has been ordained to the priesthood and serves St. Paul's, St. Mark's and the Lutheran Church of Grace in Craig in a mission partnership. Pastoral care and Evangelism are providing assistance to families in need and pathways into the church community for those in search of a church home.

Schedule of events

Aug. 30: Community block party and barbecue, 5 p.m.

Burgers, sides, sweets, music, games and a bubble party.

Sept. 11: Exploring the way of Jesus, Anglican style, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

For those in the community unfamiliar with the Episcopal church, a 12-week course will be offered by the Rev. Scott Turner. Call 970-879-0925 to sign up.

Oct. 26: Sacred art workshop, 9 a.m. to noon

Sacred art is an outward expression of your interior or spiritual life in a variety of artistic media.

Nov. 1: Sacred art exhibit, 5 to 8 p.m.

A hands-on opportunity to create and work with local artists.

Dec. 1: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, 9:30 a.m.

Combined Sunday service with music by the youths of St. Paul’s.

Dec. 6: Sacred art exhibit, 5 to 8 p.m.

View sacred art by local artists based on the theme: An Experience of Love or Light.

Dec. 7: Festival Eucharist and confirmation, 4 p.m.

Bishop Robert O’Neill will officiate with a celebration reception to follow.

All events are free and at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 846 Oak St.

Go back to article