St. Paul's Episcopal Church is celebrating its 158th year as a parish, the 125th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the current building and the 100th anniversary of the tower bells this fall.
St. Paul's Rector Donald Fishburne said the bells call the community to worship in times of joy and in times of national crisis.
Inside St. Paul's parish hall on All Saints Sunday Nov. 6 at 9:15 a.m., the Rev. John Runkle, former cathedral conservator of the Washington National Cathedral, will preach and teach about living stones built into a holy temple in the past, present and future.
"We are excited about the growth in the population and the diversity of the greater Chattanooga area, and we embrace the future, including ecumenical partnership and interfaith ministries," said Fishburne. "As a congregation we are united in Jesus Christ and we celebrate the rich diversity of people our loving God is sending to our congregation."
Fishburne said Nov. 8 at the 158th annual meeting of the congregation, church members will gather that evening at Pine and Seventh streets to unveil a Tennessee Historical Commission Marker about the history and service of Saint Paul's Church. The church parishioners will honor the memory of parishioner Roberta Doub - the first woman to be elected to the church vestry.
"At that meeting we will also continue to prepare for the future," said Fishburne. "We will unveil a master plan for facilities that leads us into the conservation, preservation and improvement of our buildings, stained glass, Casavant organ, bells and towers. We hope to acquire more property to serve the congregation and community in the future, as Chattanooga grows and we grow."
He said church leaders will also unveil a Master Plan for Mission and Ministry that calls for the expansion of ministries with children, youth and college students as well as older adults. The church would like to expand spiritual formation, overseas missions, worship and music, new member welcome and caring for neighbors.
"As stewards of the riches of God's grace, we see ourselves as stewards of the good news of Jesus Christ and as stewards and caretakers of God's good creation," said Fishburne. "Our master plan calls for us to update our buildings to use less energy and help us in the greening of the church. Electronic communications have already helped us save more than 80 percent on paper publications mailed to members."