St. Paul History

A Brief History of St. Paul Presbyterian Church

PresbyterianChurchIt was 1984 when the Denver Presbytery “planted” a new church development congregation in southeast Aurora. On World Communion Sunday, October 7, 1984, the first service of St. Paul Presbyterian Church was held in the cafeteria at Smoky Hill High School. The Rev. Ms. Sylvia Guinn-Amons, on loan from Wellshire Presbyterian Church, was the congregation’s first pastor.

On March 3, 1985, the Presbytery called the Reverend Hervey “Mac” Macferran to be the Organizing Pastor at St. Paul.

On January 19, 1986, St. Paul Presbyterian Church was officially organized. During this service, 86 persons, representing 48 families, were received as Charter Members. During its tenure at Smoky Hill High School, the church operated out of a used van which carried all the hymnals, supplies and necessary items to conduct worship services in the school’s cafeteria with church school in various classrooms. Members would volunteer to drive the van for a Sunday at a time and were responsible for placing signs at strategic street corners announcing the worship service hours.

PresbyteryDenverBy 1989, it was clear that the congregation was outgrowing the space at Smoky Hill. At that time St. Paul had 130 members representing 77 families. The first Building Fund Drive began on February 12, 1989, with assistance provided by the Presbyterian Church Financial Services. The purchase of 6.4 acres of land was made by Denver Presbytery in 1990.

A special ground-breaking ceremony was held on the clear morning of April 8, 1990 to the lively tones of bagpipes and the merry voices of children and congregational members carrying shovels and other construction tools. The first phase of St. Paul Presbyterian Church was completed in January 1991. The first worship service was held on January 13th and the dedication was held January 20th A special fund drive was held in 1991 to complete the unfinished basement.

On February 1, 1991, Rev. Mac Macferran, the Organizing Pastor, left the pulpit to step out of active ministry and “semi-retire.” Reverend Donovan “Don” G. Houdeshell was called by the congregation to begin serving St. Paul in the capacity as Designated Pastor, a position he held for four years.

During Don’s pastorate, a number of special memorials and gifts were presented to the church from members and friends alike. The stained glass window in the Celebration Center was dedicated on April 12, 1992, in memory of Beverly J. Coombs. An Advent Organ was presented in September, 1994 and an illuminated sign was donated and installed in 1994.

Don Houdeshell completed his designated pastorate on March 31, 1995, leaving the ministry to pursue another career. Rev. Peter Adgie was called and served as Interim Pastor from April 1, 1995 through August 31, 1996. During his leadership a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) was formed and on September 1, 1996 Dr. Barbara Griggs Boyd began her service as Pastor of St. Paul.

In 1998, the church received a gift of a magnificent set of hand bells, which were given in the memory of Rebecca Sue Sampson by her parents, Roger and Jean Wiedenbeck. Also in 1998, St. Paul was given funds in memory of Pam Slack, a charter member for the purchase of a grand piano which was dedicated at a service in September 1999. The church hired Carolyn Germaine (Peters) as the first Director of Christian Education in August, 1999.

In June 2001, Dr. Boyd announced her intent to leave St. Paul. Following the loss of her parents, Barbara decided to take a break from the ministry in order to focus on future plans. Pastor Larry Grimm became the Interim Pastor in August, the same month in which a Pastor Nominating Committee was formed. Upon completion of the search, Reverend Randall Kittelson was installed as Pastor in August 2002.

In 2004, Session established five ministry units (Belonging; Discipling, Service, Witness and Worship) to oversee the needs and administer the functions of the church. These biblically based focus areas allow for the integration of programs and activities in to the varied events of the Church’s calendar.

Also in 2004 the congregation and Session decided to establish a capital campaign for the purpose of exploring the construction of a formal sanctuary. Using the theme of “Expanding Our Horizons” a Building Expansion Team was formed, money was pledged and a loan secured from the Presbytery Investment and Loan Program in 2005 to begin construction. Eidos, the firm that designed the original building worked with the Team to design a 5,000 sq. ft. addition.

On Palm Sunday, April 9, 2006 a service of celebration was held to break ground for the new building. The first worship service was held in the new sanctuary one year later on April 21, 2007.

St. Paul offers a number of activities to engage members and friends alike. A Garden Club, Movie Night, an annual Talent Show, a Gourmet Dining Group, Women’s Agape Circle, a Books ‘n Brunch group, and mid-week gathering educational studies provide members many ways to participate. Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts meet at the church and beginning in August 2009 the congregation of Old Landmark Ministries began to share our worship and education areas.

In April of 2010 the Congregation, Presbytery and Rev. Kittleson decided to dissolve the relationship between the pastor and the congregation. After a period of pulpit supplies, Dr. Stan Jewell was contracted by the session as an interim pastor beginning November of 2010.  He served until 2012 when Rev. Lynn Vahle provided pastoral leadership until September 2013.  At that time, Rev. Rebecca New was called to St. Paul as our designated pastor.  A year later, Rev. New decided to retire.  Pulpit supply and guest pastors served St. Paul until February 2014 when Rev. Kim Graber was hired as a half-time Temporary Supply Pastor.  In 2013 Landmark Ministries returned to St. Paul to again share our facility.

In August 2015, Rev. Graber’s contract was increased to ¾ time as clearly her leadership role was making some positive changes.  We have just completed the Presbytery Mission Agency’s New Beginnings program.  In this process we have made a “Bold Decision” to focus our mission efforts on Feeding the Hungry and Ministering to Children in Our community. We plan to ask Rev. Graber to become full time in March 2016 as both she and the congregation feel that her skills, enthusiasm, and commitment are what are needed to help guide us forward.