"All Find A Welcome"
History of St. Laurence Episcopal Church
St. Laurence began as a mission church on November 28, 1977. The mission was founded by a dedicated group of determined lay people. The first meeting was held in the Hi-Lander Restaurant. Soon the congregation grew, and the Pleasant Park Grange was found available. The Reverend Robert Reddish was appointed vicar, and the mission was named "Brother Lawrence". The faith, hope, love, and perseverance of those early founders kept the mission together during those hard times.
The grange hall was in a lovely mountain setting, but it was a Spartan facility. There was no plumbing, little space for Sunday School, and members took turns coming in early to stoke the two wood stoves that supplied heat to the building. In the summer, services were held outdoors in an area beside the building.
In March of 1981, Larry Donoghue became the vicar. As the mission continued to grow, there was a need for more Sunday School space. Dale and Eve Hoffman, who lived just a mile from the Grange, offered their home as the Sunday School. By the fall of 1981, there was a need for a larger building. So the Mission moved to the VFW Post about 4 miles further west, near Shaffers Crossing.
This new location was a great help to the mission, with better visibility, indoor plumbing, central heating, and room for Sunday School in the same building. At this point, the church really began to grow. We started both a youth choir, and and an adult choir. We also had two weekday study groups.
In November of 1981, the members of the congregation voted unanimously to change the name of the mission from Brother Lawrence to St. Laurence. It was thought that Brother Lawrence was too confusing a name, since people are not used to thinking of a church as "Brother". And St. Laurence is another person after whom it is appropriate to name the mission.
In time we moved back to the Hi-Lander Restaurant (now gone during the widening of US 285). Later, we moved to Jackie's Aerobic Movement Center in Aspen Park (still there). In the summer of 1983, we purchased land. On September 14, 1986, the Feast of the Holy Cross, we broke ground for the church building and on June 7, 1987, the Feast of Pentecost, the building was consecrated.
In May 1999, Fr. Donoghue announced retirement. Following an extensive search, The Rev. Dr. Dorothy Lee accepted the position of vicar of St. Laurence. Her tenure began January 2000.
In January 2003, Rev. Lee left as vicar to pursue other activities within the Diocese.
In February 2003, Fr. Phil Mason became our regular supply priest, and in March accepted the position of priest-in-charge. In August 2003, Fr. Phil was called by the Bishop's Committee to be our full time vicar.
In October 2003, St. Laurence Mission became St. Laurence Parish, completing a long journey to fully independent status.
In 2006, Fr. Phil announced his intention to retire as Rector at the end of August 2009. As Interim Rector, the Vestry has called the Rev. Nina Churchman to guide us into the selection process, and fully explore our identity in that process. In March 2010, Rev. Nina's mission changed, as she formally became Priest-In-Charge.
We have been blessed with hard working people with creative talents and a willingness to make worship happen, no matter what the obstacles.