St. Paul's Episcopal Lutheran
 Church - Oak Hill

Contributed by Doug Thompsen
Retyped by Sylvia Hasenkopf


This first record of any attempt to establish this church was October 16, 1809, when a meeting was held at the home of Adijah Dewey. A building fund was drawn up at that meeting; and " as soon as fifteen or more shall have subscribed to this instrument (meaning the building fund document) we will meet to form into a churchÖ"

Rev. Samuel Fuller was the first minister that preached regularly for this church group in Durham and he helped to organize the church. He was a Presbyterian minister for eighteen years; but he left that church body and embraced the Episcopal Church. He was ordained as an Episcopalian minister in 1811. In addition to his duties in Durham, he preached in Windham and Stamford for one or two years. Rev. Fuller served in Durham from 1811 to 1818. During Rev. Fullerís ministry, the parish was actually formally organized. On June 15, 1812, a Certificate of Incorporation, incorporating the church as St. Paulís Protestant Episcopal Church, was drawn up; and on December 4, 1812, it was recorded in the County Clerkís Office.

Following Rev. Fullerís, Rev. James Thompson became the pastor. He served the church as a "missionary" beginning in 1818 during which the church was built and dedicated on November 21, 1834. On November 21, 1834, the Right Reverend Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk, D.D. consecrated the church building as St. Paulís Protestant Episcopal Church.

Rev. Thompson continued to serve the Church until April 13, 1841. During that time he was assisted by four associate ministers, Rev. William Morris, Rev. Prout, Rev. John Scoville, Rev. George Sayres. Rev. Thompson died August 19, 1844 at the age of 77. He is buried in the church Cemetery at Oak Hill.

In 1883 the church underwent repairs and enlargement. On April 18, 1918, St. Paulís Church was declared closed by the Diocesan Convention and by order of February 11, 1919, the Supreme Court declared the lands could be sold. However, from 1918 to 1949, there is doubt whether the church was actually closed. In 1936, a letter was sent from the church to the trustees of the Diocese to obtain money for repairs. Nevertheless, ion 1949, a group of Lutherans began to use the building. On February 6, 1949, the first Lutheran worship service was held; and on January 8, 1962, the church was sold to the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church Ė Missouri Synod. On September 1, 1977, St. Paulís Lutheran Church joined the East Coast Synod of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

The magnificent stained glass window behind the altar was a gift of a Mr. Peck of Peck and Peck Furniture of New York City. It was either part of the original church built in 1834 or installed as part of the enlargement in 1883. It was restored in 1963.


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