Introducing Holy Communion Parish
This parish had its beginning on October 27, 1854 when Harriet Newell Dodd, wife of Captain William Dodd, invited the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper to hold an evening prayer service in her home. An early newspaper account relates that the entire population of St. Peter-36 in number-turned out for the service. The following year, services were continued by the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson and the Rev. Dr. James Lloyd Breck. Wilcoxson is reported to have walked 100 miles a month in carrying God's message to the early settlers. Breck was a famous educator of the day.
In the autumn of 1855, the Rev. E. Steele Peake became the first missionary priest to the Minnesota valley. On October 1, 1856, the Rev. Ezra Jones was appointed resident missionary. St. Peter was considered the probable territorial capital which warranted this appointment. In the spring of 1857, the first church building was dedicated. It was located to the rear of where the present structure now stands. The church building was 41 feet by 21 feet and seated 100 people. It was named "The Church Of The Holy Communion", after the New York City parish formerly attended by Mrs. Dodd.
In the year 1859, Mr. Jones, feeling the rigors of frontier life and the isolation of a missionary was prompted to write, "I have now been here two and one-half years and no brother presbyter has been in my church. It is now 34 months since I have seen the face of a brother and at that time I walked 46 miles and back- returning to my post before Sunday." The Rev. Ezra Jones left for St. Paul that year.
The Rev. Edward Livermore from New York succeeded Mr. Jones. Mr. Livermore ministered to this parish for 23 years. For a short period he also held a parochial school in St. Peter. Under Mr. Livermore the congregation grew and the present church building was constructed. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Henry Whipple consecrated the Church on July 27, 1870. "The plan of the Church by Condon," said Bishop Whipple, "is the prettiest village or rural church I have ever seen." It was not until December 14, 1953, that the congregation again united to expand the church facilities by the addition of the parish hall. It was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Stephen E. Keeler, the then Bishop of Minnesota.
Constructed 125 years ago, the church itself testifies to the faith and vision of its builders. Unknown to many, Captain William Dodd-the founder of St. Peter-lies buried behind the Church along with his wife. infant daughter, Harriet, and son, Willis Gorman Dodd.