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What We Believe

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” is the slogan of the Episcopal Church in the United States. St. Paul’s is a welcoming and inclusive community of believers.

We have a healthy mix of elders, workers, and children. Many come to us from different faith traditions and find a spiritual home here at St. Paul’s.

Our Mission

To confess joyfully that Jesus is Lord in order to bring praise to God by:

  • Accepting others as Christ accepts us;

  • Strengthening faith through worship, prayer, Bible Study, and fellowship;

  • Serving the wider community;

  • Identifying and nurturing each person’s gifts and talents and encouraging their use;

  • Encouraging youth in church life.

Our Vision 

Growing as a Christ-centered community reaching out in love.

Plate and Gospel Bibile
1st St. Paul's Church 1881-1947 - 2
Altar at Christmas


St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was founded on January 16, 1880, nine years prior to North Dakota’s statehood! During our long history, St. Paul’s has been served by many rectors. The original church building stood in downtown Grand Forks, approximately seven blocks north of its present location. It was destroyed by fire in the late 1940s.

The sanctuary of the current building was erected in 1949. A split-level Christian Education wing was added in the 1970s. Destroyed during the flood of 1997, the Christian Education wing was demolished and rebuilt as our Fellowship (Great) Hall. It was dedicated to God’s service in May 2000.

St. Paul’s is the only Episcopal church in Grand Forks and is in a prime downtown location to bring in visitors.

Timeline of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church The Oldest Church in Grand Forks!

  • 1872 – The first Episcopal worship service is held on the deck of the river steamer.
  • 1879 – The first Episcopal priest, Rev. Woodford P. Law, arrives in Grand Forks.
  • 1880 – St. Paul’s is incorporated as a parish – 11 communicants were counted.
  • 1881 – The first service is held in the new building on the NW corner of 1st Ave N and 5th St N.
  • 1885 – The Rev. William Currie arrives, and the congregation begins to grow.
  • 1896 – The Rev. Anthon Gesner arrives, and the seating in the building is increased from 300 to 350.
  • 1899 – Women are given the right to vote at annual meetings.
  • 1908 – A Guild (Parish) Hall is added to provide meeting space.
  • 1930 – The Rev. Homer Harrington arrives as Rector and serves until 1958.
    • Harrington is the 1st native North Dakotan ordained in the Episcopal Church in ND.
  • 1950 – The first worship service is held in the new church building at 319 South 5th Street.  
    • Some of our elders remember this event!
  • 1953 – The Willet studios of Philadelphia designed and installed magnificent stained-glass windows.
  • 1957 – Florence Neate (Mrs. E.V.O.) Gyllenborg was elected to the vestry, the first woman to serve in that capacity.
  • 1958 – The Rev. Frederick T. Gillette arrives as Rector and stays until 1981.
    • Many current members were baptized and confirmed by Father Gillette.
  • 1966 – The new pipe organ is installed.
  • 1974 – Mrs. Dorothy Travis became the first woman Senior Warden.
  • 1975 – The Rev. Robert Woodard is ordained as a priest under new rules for Local ministry.
  • 1980 – Church records show that 1712 people were baptized in the first 100 years of St. Paul’s history!
  • 1981 – A period of short-term rectors begins, and “lay people” take a broader leadership role.
  • 1997 – The Rev. Page Towne is ordained as a Priest and serves in Bemidji and St. Paul’s.
  • 1997 – In the great Grand Forks flood, the lower levels of St. Paul’s are destroyed.
    • St. Paul’s members decide to keep the existing worship space downtown on the current site.
  • 1999 – The Rev. Betty Starkweather and the Rev. Barb Lander are ordained as Deacons.
  • 2000 – The new Parish Hall is completed.
  • 2003 – The Rev. Dr. Jim Shannon begins his 16-year tenure as Rector of St. Paul’s.
    • The Rev. Betty Starkweather is ordained as a Priest and serves St. Paul’s.
  • 2019 – The Rev. Harvey Henderson begins his ministry as Priest-in-Charge at St. Paul’s.
  • 2022 – St. Paul’s celebrates 150 years of the first Episcopal service on September 25th!
Woodford P. Law 1st Rector 2

Woodford P. Law

First Rector of St. Paul’s Parish

Steamboats on the Red River 2

(scroll in on the picture to read more on Griggs)

Parish Hall
Girl's Friendly Society Pageant 1924
St. Paul's
St. Paul's demolition for addition 1
St. Paul's 1980