St. Paul's Episcopal Church

12 washington Street Peabody

St. Paulís History

St. Paulís Church was founded in 1874 by Rev. Edward Gushee with the first service held April 12th in the ladies Parlor of the Union Block.  This service happened despite the opposition of the Massachusetts Episcopal Convocation, which did not see Peabody as a promising place for a mission.  Dr. Gushee then rented a billiard saloon on the top floor of the Allen Block in Peabody Square until the church building was completed at Lowell & School Streets in 1876.  The first pastor was the Rev. George Walker who remained until 1888.


The groundwork for St. Paulís current location began on July 21, 1913 with the corner stone being laid on September 27, 1913 under the direction of Rev. Allen Green.  The building is of English Gothic design built of brick with concrete stone trimmings.  The entrance is through a bell tower at the Southwest corner.  The church has a spacious chancel and nave with a seating capacity of 275.


The Reverend Norman Hall came to St. Paulís in 1948 and stayed until 1956.  In 1952 the Parish House was added with the McCarthy Room as a main meeting area.  His successor was Reverend Harold Woolcott.  St. Paulís continued in strength with the growth of the Church School.  Mr. Woolcott left a lasting impression on St. Paulís making many friendships within the Parish.  Reverend Harold Woolcott left to serve his home parish in Buffalo, NY 1959.


When Reverend Norman Kellet arrived in 1959 the following changes took place; in 1960 the Day School was opened and operated successfully for over 50 years. The Guild Hall was renovated and renamed John Young Hall, for the parishís oldest member, John Ford Young, finally a Thrift Shop opened, which although no longer operating was very successful for many years.


The Reverend John Holton came in 1966.  In 1972 a free standing altar was installed with a large cross made by Alfred Foulks from the old altar which now hangs in the back of the church as memorial to all past parishioners of St. Paulís Church.

In 1973 all long-standing mortgage debts on the Parish House and Rectory were paid off.  The present 8-room rectory, adjacent to the church was purchased in 1938. 


During 1981 the last of the stained glass windows were installed completing all of the windows in the church and in the vestibule.


The Reverend Donald Wilson arrived in July of 1983.  In the fall of 1984 St. Paulís hosted a Faith Alive Weekend.


In 1998 the leadership of St. Paulís took a bold step forward in calling the Reverend Martha Vanguener.  Reverend Martha was called to serve in Florida and left St. Paulís in 2003.


In November of 2004, Reverend Joyce Scherer-Hoock was called to serve as Priest in Charge.  During that time she was instrumental in establishing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  This Sunday School education program has been enjoyed by many youngsters as they learn that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who watches over them and is alive in our world today.


In September of 2007, Reverend Dr. Joyce Caggiano became Priest in Charge.  She returned to the Diocese of Massachusetts after five years in Detroit, Michigan as the Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services in 2006.  In 2010 the Vestry elected Dr. Caggiano to be the next Rector of St. Paul's.