About Our Church

Our Vision

  • O God, help us to be progressive Christians in an open, inclusive and affirming community of faith.
  • O Jesus, guide us in providing a safe harbor for everyone on their spiritual journey.
  • O Holy Spirit be with us in our endeavors to bring God’s presence into our world in need.

We are Episcopalians (which is a denomination of the Christian family) with one foot in Catholicism and one foot in the Church of England. We are open minded and accept everyone to come as they are. We worship in a traditional service, but don’t leave our minds at the door.

We are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Olympia covering Western Washington.

Our Rector

The Rev. Kathleen Kingslight: Ash Wednesday morning at the Bremerton ferry terminal.

I was kicked out of the Catholic church when I was three.

It was a hot Sunday morning, a stuffy church, a bored kid and a distracted mom that caused it. When all you can see around you are the back of people’s heads when seated, or their butts when standing, church was BORING! My mother fished around in her purse for something to keep me occupied, so she could pray. She found her rosary, and handed it to me.

It was very interesting!  I looked at the shiny beads, and how the light reflected off them.  Then I noticed Jesus on the cross at the end of the pretty thing.  I thought to myself, “He must be hot too. And he’s probably bored like me. I wonder how long he’s been in mama purse?” So thinking I could improve Jesus’ day, I said, “Hang on Jesus, you’re going for a ride!” And I started swinging that rosary around my head like Jesus was on a circus ride.  I was sure he was having a very good time.

But unbeknownst to me, I had told Jesus to hang on rather loudly, and it was right at the consecration when the church was the most quiet.

The priest spun around from the altar, stared at our family, and Jesus’ rosary ride, and hollered at my mother, “Get that kid out of here NOW!”

So began my faith journey.

Around 10 I started playing organ for daily 6:00 am mass.  I was terrible, but I tried hard.  Everything was in Latin, and I slaughtered the Psalm every morning attempting to both play the organ while singing in Latin. The parish paid me a whopping $2 a service, and put up with me.

At 16 I helped to move the parish into the post-Vatican II world with the Mass in English, and guitars. Oh, my team and I rocked that church, with great hits like, “Sons of God,” “Hear His Holy Name,” and baptized words to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.” I can’t help but shutter at what I put that parish through with all the exuberance and conviction that that 16-year-old brought to the church. I was also very active in the Catholic Charismatic movement that had been awakened in the liturgical churches, from Seattle, to the whole country.

At 18 with a National Merit Scholarship to Michigan State University under my belt, I stomped out of the Catholic church after arguing with a priest that all faithful people, no matter what faith they followed, should have access to heaven. He told me I was a heretic, so I left the church and moved on to becoming an official heretical seeker.

While working on a music degree at MSU, I studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Indigenous Faiths, Judaism (even studying with a rabbi), New Age, Gnosticism…. You name it, I probably studied it. I met my husband to be, rode a big motorcycle, nurtured my potty mouth, and dropped out of college to “get rich, famous, and adored” as a rock star.

Though that part never manifested, we did make our living doing music: folk as well as classical. We recorded five albums of original music, and I sang with the  NM Symphony, and Rocky Top Symphonies as a soloist.

By then we had moved to the mountains of New Mexico and lived off the grid. We built an adobe house from scratch (making our own adobe bricks, hauling dead standing pines from the mountains etc.) and joined a Christian meditation group. For 13 years we were vegetarians, who meditated two hours a day 4:00 am, and 8:00 pm, and had a strong community of faith.

1973 Started working at St. James Episcopal Church as organist

1988 We moved to Austin, TX for Seminary at the Episcopal Seminary of Southwest,                    

1991 Graduated, but didn’t have an undergraduate degree, so received a certificate in theological studies.

1992 Completed 2 years of undergraduate work in one year. Chaplain to Settlement Home for Girls, and Hospice

1993 Received my BA from Concordia University on Tuesday, my Mdiv from ETSS on Wednesday.

1994 Ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in Laramie, WY where I had served two congregations while the rector was on sabbatical

1994 Ordained to the priesthood Richland MI, where I was the Associate Rector. Received Certification in Spiritual Direction from the Dominican Center, Grand Rapids, MI

1998 Called as Rector to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Portage, MI. Doctoral Work at Seabury-Western Seminary in Chicago, in Congregational Development. Studied Spanish in Mexico during Sabbatical. Studied Girardian theology with Benedictine Abbott in Three Rivers, MI. Was chaplain to the Daughters of the King, and Hospice. Extensive Anti-racism training through ERASE out of Chicago. Active with ISAAC (Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community). Worked for LGBTQ rights in housing, Antiracism work, Prison reform. Alternate and Delegate to General Convention from the Diocese of Western Michigan.

2010 Called as Rector to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bremerton, WA. Have continued my Spanish studies in Spain while on sabbatical. Attended General Convention, further studies in Congregational Development,

And now in 2020, leading virtual worship in the face of a Pandemic.

— The Rev. Kathleen Kingslight

A (relatively) Brief, Informal
History of Our Parish

St. Paul’s was formed in Bremerton, Washington, in 1902, 11 years after a Naval Station was established on the shore of Sinclair Inlet at Turner Point.

This was in the territory of the Suquamish Tribe, which had called this area home for as long as 5,000 years. The 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, between the U.S. government and the Suquamish and other area tribes, had made the land available for non-Native settlement. Bremerton, named for founder William Bremer, was incorporated as a city in 1901.

St. Paul’s became an Episcopal mission in downtown Bremerton. The first service was conducted in Charleston, in what’s now part of West Bremerton, in the Presbyterian Church.

But church leaders in this new town (near left), population 1,700, faced an uphill battle. The place quickly become known for its gambling, prostitution, wild saloons, opium houses and robberies of sailors. Charles Darling, assistant secretary of the Navy, in 1902 pulled all repair work from Bremerton and moved it to Mare Island near San Francisco (far left.)

In 1903, Bremerton’s leaders responded by revoking all liquor licenses in town. Business and civic leaders in Seattle also wanted the economic boost the Navy brought, and Darling moved work back to Bremerton. Saloons soon prospered again, though.

But St. Paul’s was doing well enough to move to a new location — Sixth Street and Chester — in 1915 (right). Then came the U.S. entry into World War 1 in 1917, the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 and then the Great Depression in 1929. St. Paul’s survived it all. And following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy Yard took on a vital role in the war effort, and Bremerton became home to about 80,000 people.

Starting in the late 1930s, the church had become well-known for making and canning English plum puddings for the holiday season as a fund-raiser (left) These were sold in stores and became quite popular, and St. Paul’s became known around Kitsap as “the Church of the Plum Puddings.” This tradition lasted for 40 years.

St. Paul’s finally became a Parish, graduating from Mission status, in January 1943.

In 1957, the U.S. Government began to sell the land on which war-time housing stood, giving first right of refusal to area churches. St. Paul’s a year later bought a 7.9 acre tract of prime view property in East Bremerton, its current location — 700 Callahan Drive.

In 1968, St. Paul’s leaders finished the new church home near the recently constructed Harrison Hospital. It included a new Balcom & Vaughan pipe organ.

Then in 1986, church leaders made the commitment to remain in Bremerton despite the rapid development of Silverdale thanks to the deployment of Trident submarines at nearby Bangor.

The church the next year completed a major rebuilding and redevelopment on the Callahan property — the building we know today.

St. Paul’s continued with an increasingly progressive vision, supporting the local LGBTQ community and partnering with Lord’s Neighborhood Diner to host a weekend meals program in the Parish Hall for low-income families.

In 2013, the church completed a major renovation of the Parish Hall kitchen to provide better services to the diner and to other organizations and groups using the building. Providing space to nonprofits is a part of the church’s vision for serving the community.

Now the church faces another crossroads. The Covid-19 pandemic has moved services online and thrust Kitsap County, with the rest of the nation, into an economic recession. And Harrison Hospital, a focal point of this neighborhood, will close at the end of 2020 and move to Silverdale.

Hang on as our second century continues ….