St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church held its first worship service on April 9, 1961, in the basement chapel of Thompson House, an Episcopal–Presbyterian conference center. The Reverend William Thomas accepted the challenge to become vicar and build a new Episcopal church in St. Louis County. Services were moved to an old farmhouse on a five-acre tract of land on Mason Road, twenty miles west of downtown St. Louis, which is our present location.
In June of 1962 ground was broken for a church building on the site, with financial and spiritual support from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Ladue, and the Diocese of Missouri. The Reverend Thomas was followed by a young priest-in-charge during the summer of 1966, John Danforth, a now-retired U.S. Senator for Missouri and current parishioner. The Reverend Ernest Hunt, III became the first rector in 1966, and under his leadership the mission received full parish status at the 1968 Diocesan convention. Early on, the parish consisted of young members who were frequently transferred by their companies. In response, St. Timothy’s members developed a tradition of being warm and welcoming. This culture of warm welcome remains a core value of St. Tim’s. An addition of a parish hall, kitchen, and Sunday school classrooms was built in 1968. In 1972 the Reverend Hunt left to become the rector of a large parish in New York City.
In 1973 the Reverend Arthur McNulty, Jr. was called to be the second rector of St. Timothy’s. Under his leadership, St. Timothy’s rapidly grew into a large and dynamic parish, and the Reverend Daryl Diamond, was called to be Assistant Rector. In 1978, when he left to take a Rector position, the Reverend Paul Lautenschlager was added to the staff as Assistant Rector. The Reverend McNulty left in the summer of 1985 to become the rector of a larger church in Pittsburgh, PA, and the Reverend Lautenschlager became Rector of St. Mark’s, St Louis in 1985.
The Reverend Warren Crews, who had been subdeacon of the Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, AR, became the third rector in 1986. During his tenure lay involvement flourished, the facilities underwent significant renovation, and an endowment fund was established. We again hired an Assistant Rector, the Reverend Helen Ludbrook. Our ecumenical relationships were enriched by activities with Holy Cross Lutheran Church. In 1991 the Reverend Crews resigned to pursue a life-long dream of obtaining a doctorate in historical theology.
The fourth rector of St. Timothy’s was the Reverend Frank Crumbaugh who came in 1992. During his tenure, membership increased and parishioner commitment became even stronger. The Reverend Paris Coffey served as Associate Rector until she was called to become the rector of a church in the Chicago area. The Reverend Crumbaugh resigned in 1997 to move to New Jersey where he and his wife could both be rectors of parishes.
The Reverend Jack Fleming became the fifth rector of St. Tim’s in 1999. Under his leadership and guidance, the parish grew, lay leadership continued to be very strong, and outreach activities increased significantly. The parish is considered one of the strongest in the Diocese of Missouri. The clergy staff includes the Rector, one retired Lutheran pastor and two retired Episcopal priests, each of whom is very dynamic and highly involved in parish activities. Membership increased, and the demographics moved to a broader geographic mix and an increase of younger families.
By the early 2000’s we had begun to outgrow our original worship space, and in 2002 we began to plan for expansion. In 2004, we dedicated a new $2.2M worship space, a substantial improvement over the prior worship space. The design is based on a semi-circle, gives excellent sight lines to the altar area from all pews and offers outstanding sound quality. The project included an expanded sacristy, an upgraded pipe organ, renovated staff offices, expanded facilities for the choir and music program, and an enlarged library/meeting room.
In 2010 we started the planning process for building a new, larger parish hall, renovating the education wing and youth space, rebuilding and enlarging the kitchen, and adding an elevator to make the entire building handicap accessible. We retired our mortgage from the 2004 project and will remain practically debt free as a result of generous pledges from parishioners and a matching gift for this new project. We broke ground in the fall of 2012, and we dedicated our wonderful new space on November 8, 2013. It is in full use already.
In 2011 the Rev. Fleming announced that he would retire in October 2012, and at his urging, the vestry appointed chairs of the Transition Team, who then formed a team of 14 parishioners to begin the process of identifying St. Timothy’s next Rector. After more than a year of prayerful deliberation, the team presented candidates to the vestry for their review and acceptance. In late spring the Reverend Marvin Foltz accepted our call and came to St. Timothy’s from Good Shepherd, Maui, Hawaii. In a joyous celebration on November 8 we welcomed the Reverend Foltz, our sixth Rector, in a Renewal of Ministry. Under his leadership, St. Timothy’s continues to flourish, providing a safe place where all can come to grow into a deeper relationship with God, serve others, and be part of a vibrant Christian family.
St. Timothy’s members are deeply committed to the spiritual and fiscal health of the parish. We have often had the highest per capita stewardship giving in the Diocese, our recent capital campaign ran at the same time as our annual stewardship campaign, with successful results for both, and we always pay our Diocesan assessment in full. As we look back, we thank God for guiding us through challenging, fulfilling, and rich experiences. As we look ahead, we continue to ask God to provide us with the strength and vision to do His work in the world.