New St. Paul’s Anglican Church readies for consecration

St. Paul’s Anglican Church is ready to welcome the community to its new church facility on Hurley Avenue during an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

The Mission-style facility, which houses the sanctuary, church offices, parish hall and classrooms, will be consecrated by Anglican Bishop the Rt. Rev. Eric Menees at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

Just across Marcin Street from Hurley Elementary School, St. Paul’s Anglican hopes the new building will be an asset to the community.

The congregation has a history in Visalia that goes back 137 years, and has been an integral part of the community helping to found Visalia Senior Housing, Turning Point and the Samaritan Center. The congregation also founded St. Paul’s School in 1966.

“As we have moved through this transition without a home for seven years, our vision has been that God builds things at St. Paul’s Anglican Church,” said Rev. Robert Longbottom, rector of St. Paul’s Anglican. “God builds lives, builds families, builds communities, and builds hope for God’s kingdom with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone.”

Previously, St. Paul’s Anglican was a part of the Episcopal Church. However, the congregation separated from the Episcopal Church when the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to form a new Anglican province, called the Anglican Church in North America, in 2009 over theological differences.

In 2017, the Anglican congregation left its former property on the corner of Hall and Main streets and began worshipping on the campus of First Presbyterian Church in Visalia.

While the Covid-19 Pandemic was closing everything down in March 2020, plans were submitted to the city of Visalia for the new building. The shut-down not only delayed the building process, but also meant the congregation had to move out of the Presbyterian Church. The congregation first moved to a livestream setup from the small downtown office, then moved to an open-air barn as Covid restrictions lessened. Finally, in December of 2020, the congregation was able to use St. Paul’s School chapel, where it has been holding Sunday services ever since.

Even while being without a physical building, the church congregation continued its work in the community, including work with Visalia Senior Housing, St. Paul’s School and other projects.

“We are excited to finally be in our building, our home,” Longbottom said. “However, during these last few years, especially the last four, our congregation has learned that the church is not its buildings, but its people.”

In total, with offices, classrooms and the sanctuary itself, the facility has 18,000 square feet. The sanctuary has a seating capacity of 350 and there is a chapel that seats 20. James Parish Hall can accommodate 250.

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