- 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.
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 (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.
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 in the late 1930s 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 ….