A Brief History

The Reverend Benjamin R. Clifford, Rector of Trinity Church in Bridgewater, began services in Brockton, then North Bridgewater, in 1871. They were intended to minister to skilled craftsmen and simple factory workers who came from the Leicestershire region of England to work in the city’s thriving shoe industry.

After a period in which services were held under the auspices of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the parish was named Saint Paul’s in gratitude for modest financial assistance from St. Paul’s Church (now Cathedral) in the city of Boston. A first building was erected on Pleasant Street in 1893.

1913 Vestry with Rector Matthews seated front row, center.

Under the distinguished rectorships of Samuel Hodgkiss, George Alexander Strong, Francis B. White, David W. Matthews, George Hardman, and Daniel K. Davis, it became one of the largest parishes affiliated with the Diocese of Massachusetts. The Reverand James R. Hiles was elected Rector in 1975.

Twenty-five years ago, the parish began welcoming a new wave of industrious immigrants from the West Indies and Africa, who brought with them an Anglican spirituality steeped in the Scripture and Christian family values. For that very reason, they blended harmoniously with the “old guard” of the quite traditional parish. Within a decade it blossomed into a fully interracial, multicultural, world-Anglican community of faith, as reflected in its Vestries.

Interior of earlier church building of St. Paul's Parish - 1985

At the same time, however, the Episcopal Church was engaged more and more in revising its understanding of faith. It became increasingly evident that a parting of ways was necessary and inevitable. In 1993, by unanimous decision, the Vestry and the people took action, disaffiliating themselves from the Diocese of Massachusetts, citing the biblical standard that their household of faith would “serve the Lord” (Joshua 25:15).

As its patron saint, the parish “suffered the loss of all things” materially for the sake of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8), loosing in court its property and other asset while retaining its identity as the historic Parish.  Being homeless for six years, it was graceiously taken in by the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Warren Avenue.

2008 Vestry with Rector Hiles standing second row center. Members of the Vestry include Anglicans from Barbados, Haiti, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierre Leone, Uganda and the USA

Now praise God, strengthened in the Spirit, the historic parish occupies New Parish Hall on Pleasant Street and enters a secure future in its service to the Lord.

Service to the Lord:

  • Traditional Anglican Worship
  • Bible-based Catechism
  • Youth Challenge
  • Elder Care
  • Community Concern