Home  |  Sitemap  |  A A A
St. Paul's
Episcopal Church

. . . And a summary of where we have been



Compiled by Larry Ouillette

St Paul’s Church is at least the third Episcopal Congregation in the town of Plainfield. The first was St Paul’s in Central Village (1855-1882) and the second was St Peter’s in Moosup. (1903)

In the early 1900’s The Reverend James H. George Jr. from St Alban’s Church, Danielson was conducting church services in and around Plainfield Area in public meeting places and private homes. It was determined that there was enough interest in this area for a new parish. In 1913, a parish committee was formed. The first parish meeting was on January 29, 1913 where the members voted on a church name.

The land for the church building was purchased in 1913 from Mr. Lawton (Owner of nearby Lawton Mills). The foundation for the new church was dug in September, 1914 and on October 10 of that year the cornerstone was laid by Archdeacon Brown of Trinity Church, Norwich. On February 13 1915, the church was dedicated by Rt. Reverend Chauncey Bruce Brewster, bishop of Connecticut. There were about 300 people in attendance at the dedication ceremony. Historical documents show that the total cost of the building was $6,214.87.



The Reverend James H . George Jr. - Priest in charge 1913-1916

Under the leadership of Father George, and his assistant, Deaconess1 Caroline Stanford, membership in the church grew, and on Easter Sunday of 1920 records shows an attendance of 225.

 In 1921 a plaque listing WWI veterans from St Paul’s parish was installed in the back of the church. In 1922 the present day Vicarage was purchased for $4,000 and additional $3,000 was need to make it in usable condition.

In April of 1926 a new wing was completed on the church, expanding the kitchen, adding a Guild Room,2 and adding a new entrance to the church hall.

January 1931, due to ill health, Father Drowne the rector was forced to resign. There would be no resident priest at the parish for the next 24 years.

In the 1930’s, with the coming of the Great Depression and decline of the textile industry in New England, St Paul’s Parish fell on hard times. In 1936 Lawton Mill (a large textile mill and a major employer in Plainfield) was closed putting many local people out of work. The hurricane of 1938 caused damage to the church further increasing the financial burden of the parish.

During much this time (1931-1955), the parish was administered by the rector of St Philip’s Parish in Putnam.

In June of 1955, The Reverend Deacon Kenneth Kinnern became the first resident clergyman at St Paul’s in 24 years. His salary was paid partially by the diocese, with the agreement that the church would take over complete financial responsibility as soon as possible. Under the
leadership of Deacon Kinnern (who was ordained to the priesthood while serving at St Paul’s) the parish once again began to flourish, both spiritually and financially. 
Father Kinnern left St Paul’s in June of 1958.

Record show a steady amount of activity at St Paul’s in the next couple of decades. The chronic shortage of priests and money gave the parishioners many challenges, and the parish had its ups and downs, but always managed to survive.

In the 1980’s, the diocese discussed a “Cluster “arrangement for three Episcopal Churches
in Northeast Connecticut. This would entail having 2 priests in 3 churches, with the three churches sharing the priest’s salary. The three churches would be St Paul’s Plainfield, St Alban’s Danielson and St Philip’s Putnam, and would be known as the Quinebaug Regional Ministry. In 1991 St Paul’s vestry officially rejected this idea.


                                                     Bp. Clarence Colerdige blesses the new handicap ramp.


 In 1995, major improvements were made to the church and vicarage. The $44,000 needed for these improvements came from a $22,000 grant and a $22,000 loan from the diocese. The church then owed the diocese $26,000 due to a previous loan taken out to reshingle the roof. The agreement was that this money was to be paid back to the diocese by June, 1998. It was paid back on June, 1997 – one full year early! Improvements included a handicap ramp on the outside of the church, an inside chair lift from the first floor to the church basement, vinyl siding on the church, a new furnace in the vicarage, a new heating system for the church, and replacement of the in-ground oil tank for the church. Also a water neutralizing system was installed for the church and vicarage as they were utilizing well water. The latter was discontinued in 2006 when the church and vicarage switched to town water.

In October 1997 because of a lack of a choir - the choir had recently disbanded - the vestry looked into buying an electronic music player. In December 1997 the player, brand-named "Synthia" was loaned to the parish for use during the holidays, As a result of this trial, the vestry voted to purchase "Synthia" and have used it in most services ever since.

 In 1999 the pastor, Mother Ellen Lang, moved out of the vicarage into a house of her own. The vicarage was now available to rent, adding money to the parish’s treasury.

In March of 2005, Mother Ellen left St Paul’s Church.

Later that year, The Reverend Eleanor Applewhite Terry was hired as the vicar. She presided at her first service on 18 September, 2005 and was officially installed on 14 January 2006.

At almost the same time, the bishop assigned to St Paul’s Church the Reverend Deacon 3 Scott Stevens. His first service was on 23 October 2005, and he was officially installed as deacon on 14 January 2006.

In 2006 - 2007 major renovations were accomplished to the church basement; the kitchen was renovated, and a handicap accessible bathroom was installed.

Much of the work was done by volunteers from the congregation. At the same time, the vicarage was renovated and was rented out again in August of 2007.

In December of 2005, The Reverend Deacon Scott Stevens started the church’s first website: http://stpaulplainfield.org

In March of 2007, a new choir was started; the “guitar choir” as it was known used a variety of stringed instruments rather than organ for musical accompaniment. The music for the church was now provided by this  choir and “Synthia”.

The church budget for 2008 reflected, for the first time, a balanced budget with no assistance from the diocese. With this new economic security, a major building campaign was begun to further renovate the church building.

 In 2010, the roof of the church was repaired and reshingled, the money coming from parish donations and a loan from the diocese.

In 2012, Mother Ellie and her family moved to the Boston area. She celebrated her last service on Sunday 29 May 2012, the Feast of Pentecost, using a Celtic Liturgy that she had sometimes used at St Paul’s. The service was followed by a potluck luncheon, and many hugs and tears.

In September 2012, the Rev. Victoria "VIcki" Baldwin arrived as the Interim Rector of the parish, to see the parish through the search for its next settled rector. During her tenure, she added a number of technological advances, including a parish Facebook page, a weekly newsletter, and started the process of sending out the monthly newsletter electronically rather than through the postal system.

On November 13, 2016, Deacon Scott announced to the parish that he was being re-assigned to Grace Episcopal Church in Yantic. Deacon Scott's last service at St. Paul's was on Sunday, January 15, 2017. This was followed by a farewell luncheon to both Deacon Scott and his wife, Jody, who had been leading our Sunday School since their arrival.


1. Deaconess – a woman trained to be an assistant to the priest. This has been replaced by (or evolved into) the
modern diaconate. At this time, the priesthood was open to only men. The Episcopal Church started ordaining women to the priesthood in 1976.

2. Guild Room - A room where the guilds (parish organizations and committees) meet- now the vicar’s office.

3. At the time of this writing, there are about 170 parishes in Connecticut, and less than 35 have assigned deacons.


Return to Home Page