St. Paul’s History

St Paul

1950’s

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was begun in 1955, when a small group of  Episcopalians in the area petitioned the Bishop of Chicago to start a mission in the city of McHenry. The request was granted and the first service of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was held on January 15, 1956 in a small schoolhouse on Waukegan Road. Officiating was the Rev. W. C Klein. In its early years, the church met in local schools and members’ homes.

In 1957, the Diocese purchased 5 1/2 acres in a rapidly growing area on the south side of McHenry. A two-story building was erected which was dedicated on April 16, 1958. The ground floor served as the nave (for worship), while the upper floor served as a parish hall with a kitchen, and also had classrooms and choir loft with an organ.

1970’s

In 1975, the congregation decided to expand the church by building a 130-seat nave and sanctuary immediately adjacent and joined to the existing building. At that time, two acres were sold to help finance the construction. The new space was dedicated in 1976.

1980’s

In 1982, St. Paul’s Church was one of the first churches in the Chicago Diocese to implement the “Search and Call” process. When Marion Mailey was called as their rector in 1983, she became the first female rector in the Diocese of Chicago.

In 1983, a Columbarium was built immediately to the north of the current nave. Its beautiful garden setting provides a contemplative environment for remembering loved ones.

At the annual parish meeting in 1983, church members decided to petition the Bishop for parish status. This was granted at the Annual Diocesan Convention in 1983.

1990’s

As the church continued to grow, further expansion was needed. In 1996, the congregation began work on a 3,000 sq. ft. parish hall and kitchen, as well as an administration wing. Once again, the addition was contiguous to the existing facilities.

2000’s and beyond

In 2007, we began our Little Cherubs Preschool, which served young children until 2014.

The St. Paul Diaper Bank Partnership, begun in 2009, was one of the first diaper banks in the country and our blueprint was widely put to use in other communities. In 2014, having grown into a major operation, It spun off as its own 501(C)(3) and is now known as the Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois.

For a number of years, we partnered with Transitional Living Services to create Betts’ Place using property and buildings that had been bequeathed to St. Paul’s to house veterans who were working toward transitioning into civilian life.  When the needs of TLS outgrew Betts’ Place, the property was sold.

After a period of prayerful discernment, the focus of our outreach has been related to the issue of hunger in our community.  Beginning in 2015, we have sponsored seven (7) Mobile Food Pantries in partnership with the other two Episcopal Churches in McHenry County, St. Mary’s Crystal Lake and St. Ann’s Woodstock.

Our current facilities include the original church building, which is now the location of the Julian Chapel, the Seaton Room for Children’s Chapel, and a multi-use office. The second floor has been rehabbed as a meeting space which we’re calling The Upper Room. Our excellent campus and physical plant provide a strong base from which to build our church as we continue to seek ways to reach out to those around us and draw them to the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.