History of the Congregation

Important events in parish history

October 27, 1854: The first Episcopal service in St. Peter was conducted at the home of Captain and Mrs. William Dodd by missionary Bishop C. Jackson Kemper.

Year of 1855:

The Rev. E. Steele Peake became missionary priest of the Minnesota River Valley. Services were held in a school house. Church bell cast by McNeeley's Foundry, West Troy, New York. has rung onthe death of every president since 1857. October 28, 1856: The Rev. Ezra Jones became the first resident missionary
in St. Peter.

October 1910: April 1922:
The first church building was erected on land donated by the Dodds.
Minnesota admitted to union with the United States becom-
ing the 32nd state. Church of the Holy Communion admit- ted to union with the Minnesota Convention.

The Rev. Edward Livermore began a 23-year ministry in St. Peter.
The Dakota Conflict. Dr. A.W. Daniels, pioneer physician and
parishioner of Holy Communion treated the wounded at New Ulm, including, Captain Dodd who was mortally wounded in that city. The first military funeral in St. Peter held for Captain A.K. Skaro, a Civil War fatality, buried from the church.

E. St. Julien Cox, a vestryman, became first mayor of St. Peter. The present church building was consecrated by Bishop Whipple.

Electric lights were installed in the church. The Rood Screen was installed.

The Women's Guild was organized.
Lillian Cox Gault became the first woman mayor of St. Peter
and in Minnesota.

January 22, 1973: Irene Schmidt Mikolitch became the first woman elected to the Vestry of Holy Communion.

Year of 1976:

Restoration of the church's Kasota stone was completed.

November 30, 1986: Dedication of the pipe organ built and installed by parishioner Richard Lurth.

January 23. 1994: Marilyn Rundell became the first woman to be elected Senior Warden of Holy Communion.

Year of 1995:

Restoration of the Church and hall was completed.

Narrative history

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.