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OUR CHURCH HISTORY
LA HISTORIA DE NUESTRA IGLESIA
In August 1950, fourteen men and women met at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Walt Kanne (7021 Knox Ave. So., Richfield) their minds firmly made up about one thing: there was to be an Episcopal Church in Richfield.
This meeting was followed by a much larger one in the lunch room of the Lincoln Hills School. Two representatives of the Episcopal Diocese were present: the Rev. Vernon Johnson, then Archdeacon of Ruralwork (yes, Richfield was considered “rural” in those days), and the Rev. Douglas Henderson, the Diocesan Director of Religious Education and later the Headmaster of Breck School.
As a result of this meeting, a new church congregation held its first service in Lincoln Hills School on January 7, 1951, enthusiasm unchilled by the -19° day. Instead of an anticipated 25 people, more than 80 of the faithful arrived. The group chose St. Nicholas for their name because of the many, many children that came with the families wanting to start this new church.
The growing congregation continued to meet at Lincoln Hills School through its period of self-establishment. While meeting there, St Nicholas acquired property on Oliver Avenue South between 75th & 76th streets, hoping to build a structure of their own there.
Meanwhile, in 1948, Woodlake Lutheran Church had built a two level church for themselves, with a sanctuary on the main level and a fellowship hall and kitchen on the lower level. In 1953, when they outgrew that facility, an exchange was made: they received our property on Oliver Ave and we acquired their building and property at 7227 Penn Avenue South, our current location. A two level education wing was added in the 1958. In 1994, a one-level addition was built including the gathering space, nursery and office.
In the 50s & 60s, the place was buzzing with the sounds of children. Finding enough space for Sunday school became a challenge. Classes met in the furnace room, in the education wing, and in the rectory that was located on the “north 40”. As these children grew, we had large and active junior & senior EYC (Episcopal Young Church people) groups for junior high and senior high aged young people.
In the middle 60s, the senior EYC group offered a coffeehouse-type event once a month for teens. This was open to the community and included music, games and refreshments. In 2012, in keeping with our mission to be present to the needs and opportunities in our local community, St. Nicholas began offering a service in Spanish. It was agreed that this would happen on Saturdays at 5:30 pm.
The priests who have served St. Nicholas through the years are: 1950 - The Rev. Archie Cochrane, Vicar-in charge then Rector; 1955 - The Rev. Edward Eilertsen, Rector; 1959 - The Rev. Sherman Miller, Rector; 1966 - The Rev. James Riley, Rector; 1972 - The Rev. Stuart Edwards, Exchange Rector from New Zealand; 1975 - The Rev. John McMillan, Rector; 1984 - The Rev. William Fraatz, Rector; 1985 - The Rev. Robert Gibson, Exchange Rector from England; 1988 - The Rev. George Richmond, Interim Rector; 1989 - The Rev. Thomas Harries, Rector; 2005 - The Rev. Penelope Warren, Interim Rector; 2005 - The Rev. Thomas Eklo, Rector; 2012 - Padre Neptali Rodriguez, Vicar Latin Ministry / Hispania; 2017 - The Rev. Lindsay Freeman; 2015 - The Rev. Julie Luna, Rector.
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