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Welcome to St. Paul’s!

Welcome to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. St. Paul’s is a vibrant and growing church, and the spiritual home to a diverse and active congregation. For over 200 years, St. Paul’s has served the Alexandria community through worship, education, outreach, and Christian fellowship.

From our historic roots in Old Town Alexandria to our commitment to moving beyond the familiar and embracing new missions, we worship in the midst of history—but are not its captive. We rejoice in all those who come to St. Paul’s for prayer, spiritual growth, and service, whether as visitors, friends, or members.

P r a y .   W o r s h i p .   L e a r n .   S e r v e .   G i v e .

As members of St. Paul’s, we work toward these five tenets that define our common life. We engage in a daily conversation with God through prayer and scripture, keeping the Sabbath by the weekly practice of corporate worship, engage in ongoing spiritual formation, serve the church and the world with our unique God-given gifts, and give generously of ourselves in support of the mission of the Church.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church began in 1809 in a small building on South Fairfax Street between Prince and Duke Streets. In 1817, one of the country’s most famous architects, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was chosen to design the present church. Appointed by President Jefferson in 1803 as surveyor of public buildings in Washington, D.C., Latrobe completed the U.S. Capitol and the White House. An outstanding example of American architecture and inspired by the Gothic churches in Europe, St. Paul’s is said to have been modeled after St. James’s Church in Piccadilly, London.

On February 9, 1862, the Reverend K.J. Stewart was arrested by Union officers after failing to offer a prayer for the President during the height of the Civil War. A melee occurred in the sanctuary as the congregation attempted to defend its minister. On that same day, a warning was issued to ‘females and others,’ threatening arrest for offensive remarks and demonstrations prompted, no doubt, by the actions of several St. Paul’s ladies, including one who is said to have dropped her prayer book from the gallery onto the head of an offending officer.

On June 28, 1862, St. Paul’s was seized and used as a hospital for Federal forces until the spring of 1865.

St. Paul’s has consistently been involved in community activities throughout its long history. In addition to establishing what would become the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1823, the Alexandria Hospital was founded in Wilmer Memorial in 1872 and in 1914 the Alexandria Red Cross was founded by the ladies of St. Paul’s Church.

St. Paul’s is blessed with a dedicated and faithful staff of lay and ordained professionals. Some of the clergy and staff you see on Sunday mornings. Some you speak to on the phone. All of them see their work as a ministry of service to the parish and to the larger community.

St. Paul’s is also served by a committed Vestry, elected by the congregation. The Vestry serves the rector, his fellow clergy, other parishioners, and the St. Paul’s staff as well as the broad ministry of the laity.

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