There is an indomitable spirit about St. Paul's - strong, faithful people working together for over one hundred years. There were times she must have felt unloved and uncared for - but she has withstood the storms. We would like to share her story with you.
Bishop Alexander Garrett's first journey to Gainesville, TX, was August 16, 1875, when he conducted a service for a small number of Cooke County Episcopalians at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Gainesville. He returned home, praying and hoping that one day Gainesville would have a spiritual home -- a church -- for this young flock. On May 12, 1884, Bishop Garrett returned to preside over the laying of the cornerstone for a church. The building project took one year to build (as we see it today) to the tune of $5,000!
With much excitement, the building of St. Paul's Episcopal Church was under way. Donations, hard labor, prayer, and belief saw the church built in just over a year. Bishop Garrett held the first service in this beautiful new church on August 6, 1885. By May 6, 1900, the building debt was paid and the church was consecrated by Bishop Garrett twenty-five years after his first visit to Gainesville.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church was entered in the State of Texas Archives during 1966 as the first Texas Historical Landmark in Cooke County. In 1983, St Paul's became one of the original parishes in the newly-established Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth under Bishop Davies.
Just over a century later from the original construction work, the building of St. Paul's was in need of restoration and renovation on both the exterior and the interior. Once more, parishioners bent their heads in prayer and set about raising the funds for the needed work. And just as it was over a hundred years ago, St. Paul's once again was filled with the sounds of saws, drills, hammers, and hard labor. Renovations on the exterior were started in 1993. When they were completed, the church looked great from the outside. The interior had to wait its turn, however. A year or two went by, and once a new priest was found, the excitement for the interior renovations was rekindled. Again, parishioners set about with prayers and hard work to raise the funding required to complete the restoration of St. Paul's Church. Work on the interior commenced mid-January, 1997, and was completed six months later. The building looks as good as she did when she was first built.
Once again, the sounds of worshipping and sharing fill the lives of the parishioners in St. Paul's Episcopal Church. St. Paul's history has had its fair share of ups and downs. She has been opened, closed, and opened many times in the past. Let us continue in our faith and not let these doors close again! With knowledge and respect of St. Paul's rich history, thanksgiving to our predecessors, and with the Holy Spirit breathing new life into St. Paul's, the faithfulness and determination of long-time members and enthusiasm of new members, the congregation of St. Paul's is ready. Ready to add to the history of the church and ready to advance into the future. Amen.
The church is stately and simple, one worth the time to come visit. The acoustics offered in the nave are one of the finest in Cooke County. St. Paul's welcomes all persons to come see the oldest church building in Cooke County.