St. Paul Episcopal Church first offered services on Rimbach Street in downtown Hammond, IN. That church structure was moved down Hohman Avenue to a site at 6043 Detroit Street.
The congregation grew and moved south, so a search began for property south of Hammond. In Munster, Helen Bieker was approached by two parishioners, Marianne Kincaid and Cindy St. Leger.
They asked if she would be interested in selling some of her acreage along Columbia and Park Drive. She said, “No.” But, some months later she changed her mind and called to discuss a sale of two acres to St. Paul. A lovely building was designed to incorporate many of the architectural elements of the Hammond building. In 1989, the congregation moved into the present church building in Munster.
The limestone cornerstone tells of St. Paul’s move from Hammond to Munster and is a good place to begin our tour.
Entering through the bell tower, a plaque tells us in whose memory the bell is dedicated. “Francis” rings daily at 9:00am, noon, 3:00pm, and 6:00pm and announces service times on Sundays.
Entering our chapel, notice the Dove window. It is a symbol of an ascending Holy Spirit It was given by Winifred Swanton in memory of her husband, John. The carved wooden reredos came from the altar area in the Hammond church. Wednesday services are held here at 9:30am. The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church, using the Book of Common Prayer for all services.
In the nave, one of the first things to greet you is the holy water font engraved with the name Emma Hohman, from the Hohman’s of Hammond. The stained glass windows, with the exception of the Crucifixion window, were all brought from Hammond, as were the pipe organ, altar, altar rail, pulpit, and lectern. Kneelers are all hand cross-stitched by parishioners. A special set is used for weddings. The carved Stations of the Cross, a memorial gift, are placed at intervals along the wall.
Next to the church proper is the Parlor, a space used for informal gatherings and for coffee hours during inclement weather. Just outside, The Cloister is an enclosed area used for spring, summer, and fall coffee hours and for meditation other times. A cross of the four evangelists is on the east wall. Gargoyles watch from the edge of the eastern roof, and the space is filled with lovely plantings.
Our tour ends with a visit to our Sunday School classrooms, down the hallway. There are several rooms set aside for different age groups, with happy decorations. There is also a Bride’s Room for wedding and special event preparation.
At the end of the hallway, you’ll find the entrance to The Cloister in the Woods, an attached full-service banquet facility.