One hundred years ago, on Feb. 7,1915, St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ was dedicated at the corner of Chelmsford Street and Commonwealth Avenue in St. Paul. Though the congregation had formed in 1886, it spent its first 29 years in three temporary locations before building the church in St. Anthony Park.
As the church celebrates the beginning of its second century of worship, education, service and music, a $350,000 capital fundraising drive—the Second Century Drive—will be launched on Sunday, March 8, to renew the historic building.
There are three goals to the capital campaign: enhancing the chancel’s versatility, acoustics, and aesthetics; reducing the building’s carbon footprint while increasing its energy efficiency; and upgrading the dining room and kitchen on the lower level.
Many sacred services— including weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, Christmas pageants, children’s times, Thanksgiving booths, commissionings, ordinations and musical events—have taken place on the red carpet leading down the center aisle of the nave and up the steps to the chancel.
That worn carpet will be replaced as part of the capital campaign, and in order to provide more flexibility and better acoustics for worship and other events, a wood floor, folding choir loft doors and a mechanical platform for raising, lowering and moving the grand piano and altar table will be installed.
The church’s Green Action Ministry Team has been meeting for two years to explore options for making the church building environmentally sound. To meet some of this need, a new boiler, new windows and insulation will be installed over the next three years.
At least four capital campaigns and corresponding renovations (including the installation of a new organ in 1966) occurred during the first century. Each of these projects brought the church up to date with the needs of the time. The congregation voted at its recent annual meeting to honor the legacy of the forefathers and foremothers to maintain the historic edifice and update it to meet current needs.
This historic church is the worship home of many residents of St. Anthony Park and the wider community of St. Paul, Minneapolis and suburbs. It is also the home of the St. Anthony Park Co-op Nursery School, Boy Scout Troop 17 (also 100 years old) and the Schubert Club’s Music in the Park Series.
The congregation invites community members and friends to contribute to the restoration. Contact the church office, 651-646- 7173, for more information.