History of St. Paul's
Before the Episcopal Church established a mission or parish in Winston-Salem, the Moravian Church in Salem had from time to time invited the bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina to preach. Bishop Atkinson wrote in his journal of September 1, 1858:
"I preached in the Moravian Church at Salem and baptized two infants. I was received by that interesting community with the kindness they have ever shown...to all ministers of our church who have visited them, and I was gratified to learn that some of them are among the largest contributors to the fund now being collected for
the purpose of building a house of worship of our own communion in or near their village."
Nineteen years later, the Rev. William Shipp Bynum, a deacon who served the church in Greensboro and who had held services here in the County Court House, reported on Salem and Winston to the convention of 1877: "Families, three; communicants, thirteen; a lot has been bought, plans prepared, and a church has been built."
St. Paul's first church in Winston was a small frame building built at Fourth and Marshall Streets on the site now occupied by the Twin City Club. The church was consecrated on Tuesday, February 11, 1879, and several weeks later the parish was organized. According to a newspaper account, seven Vestrymen were elected that evening. On this same night, members of the church were encouraged to come the following Sunday to help organize a Sunday school.
In 1908 during the rectorship of the Rev. Henry Teller Cocke, the parish built a second church on the northwest corner of West Fourth and Cherry Streets. This stone building was small but beautiful. Later, a parish house of similar design was added on the Cherry Street side. The altar of that second church became the side altar in the present-day Summit Street church.
The number of communicants grew, and in March 1928, construction began on the present edifice. On September 8, 1929, the congregation held its first service. The church was consecrated a month later by Bishop Joseph B. Cheshire, Jr. who had also consecrated the Fifth Street church.
The rector of St. Paul's during construction was the Rev. Robert Emmet Gribbin, who served the parish from 1921 to 1934, when he was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Western Carolina.
Today's St. Paul's Episcopal Church is situated on a five-acre campus in the West End Historic District. Architects Cram and Ferguson of Boston and builders Jacob and Youngs of New York City were famed for the design and construction of many magnificent churches, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Detroit Cathedral, and the pro-Cathedral in Baltimore.
In 1957, the Education Building was added increasing the entire church space to 43,000 square feet. The church owns St. Paul's Place, an apartment building adjacent to the Education Building on Summit Street. St. Paul's Place is operated by its own board of directors and is separate from the church's tax-exempt operations. The apartments are primarily for older adults who are members of St. Paul's, however any remaining space is available for the general public.
The St. Paul's nave comfortably seats 525 people, but can seat a maximum of 725 people. The main altar is made of Italian marble. The pews are made of white oak. The exterior of the church building is faced with granite from quarries in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the windows and doors are trimmed with sandstone from Briar Hill, Ohio. H. Newton Marshall Company of Boston made the oak choir stalls and organ screen. The Skinner organ, whose 4,721 pipes range in length from a quarter-of-an-inch to 32 feet, is one of only four four-manual Skinners remaining from the year 1929.
Six flags hang in the nave. Facing the altar, you'll see the Christian flag, the flag of the Episcopal Church, and the flag of the Diocese of North Carolina. On the right are a flag displaying numbers (representing the number of St. Paul's parishioners who served in World War II and the parishioners who died in that war), the flag of North Carolina, and the flag of the United States.
Hauser Studios of New England made St. Paul's stained glass Willet style windows. The high-altar window and the east window were installed first in 1927. The church also has two Tiffany stained glass windows, which were first used in the church's original home. Those windows will be used in the new construction.
The five-and-a-half-foot tall statue of St. Paul found at the front of the nave (left) was dedicated in the fall of 1989. The sculptor was Jay Hall Carpenter of Washington, DC. The statue, carved by Vincent Palumbo, master carver at the National Cathedral, is made of limestone from Ohio.