In June 1836, the Rev. Frederick Hatch began serving as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, In October of that same year, he reported that he was also holding services on Sunday afternoons at Pleasant Valley, “Where the assemblage has been large and the people much interested in the services.”
Mill workers in Pleasant Valley, many of English descent, met and incorporated as a Sunday School. On February 27, 1837 the parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pleasant Valley, NY was incorporated as a congregation. At first, they gathered in the home of one of the founding members. It had been the custom of local Episcopalians to attend church at St. Paul’s on Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie and over time it had been decided that a local place of worship would be more convenient. By Spring of 1842, with the aid of a $500 loan from Trinity Church, Broadway in New York City, the groundwork had been laid for our present church building dedicated to St. Paul, at the corner of Traver and what became Route 44. For some time, the priest at St. Paul’s in Poughkeepsie also served our church.
The cornerstone of the church building, located at the corner of Traver Road and Main Street (Route 44), was laid on December 10, 1841 and the church building was initially funded by grace of a loan from Trinity Church, Wall Street. By this time, the Rev. Sheldon Davis had assumed duties here and on January 25, 1843, the church building was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, Bishop of New York. On Easter Sunday 1848, the Rev. Sheldon Davis was appointed Missionary of Duchess County, where he served until 1863. The Rev. George Henry Smith became the next rector in February 1869. He remained until 1876. Missionaries filled in for short tenures throughout the remainder of the 19th century.
In 1973, St. Paul’s reached its goal of being a self-supporting parish. The Pleasant Valley parish celebrated its 150th year with special events throughout 1987, culminating in a special celebration on October 18, 1987 under the Rev Stephen O. Voysey. Our work as a parish continues, fueled by our commitment to be faithful disciples of Jesus in this place. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pleasant Valley, NY currently serves approximately 190 members. Come and see!
At present, in our life together as Christians who adhere to the teaching and discipline of the Episcopal Church, a member of the World Wide Anglican Communion, we evince much the same character of our spiritual ancestors.
We worship together each week at services of the Holy Eucharist according to the form of The Book of Common Prayer, 1979. We offer centering prayer (a form of Christian Mediation) as well as evening and morning prayers. We study hard to discern God’s will for us as we examine Holy Scripture and other appropriate writings. We teach our children, preparing them for a life in which they may seek to grow in knowledge and wisdom into the loving stature of Christ. We work hard together to support our congregational needs. We play together, volunteer together and enjoy each other’s company.
St. Paul’s Church in Pleasant Valley currently serves about 190 members. St. Paul’s weathers challenges with a vital sense of trust in God and a cheerful Spirit. Our small numbers and high concern for each other’s wellbeing mark us as a family style church, one which attempts to meet the standard of demonstrating our love for God by actively showing love for our neighbor.
History of the Pastors of St. Paul's
The Rev. Frederick Hatch 1837-1842 The Rev. Homer Wheaton 1837-1842 The Rev. Sheldon Davis 1843 The Rev. William Thomas 1844-1846 The Rev. Sheldon Davis 1848-1863 The Rev. George A. Sleight 1864 The Rev. Thomas Newby 1866-1867 The Rev. Henry G. Smith 1869-1875 The Rev. Charles Goodrich 1876-1878 The Rev. John Henry Nimmo 1879-1881 The Rev. Duncan McCulloh 1884-1887 The Rev. Walter Marvin 1887-1888 The Rev. Charles O. Arnold 1890-1891 The Rev. William Evans 1892 The Rev. Frederick Thompson 1896-1897 The Rev. Frederick Smith 1898-1902 The Rev. Richard Russell Upjohn 1903-1912 The Rev. Walter Anderson Edwards 1913-1928 The Rev. Clarence V. Buchanan 1928-1949 The Rev. Arthur A. Bessey 1950-1954 The Rev. Ernest J. Alt 1955-1960 The Rt. Rev. William G. Weinhauer 1960-1961 The Rev. John Miner 1961-1964 The Rev. Wayne R. Schmidt 1964-1975 The Rev. Mills R. Omaly 1976-1982 The Rev. Canon Robert Booker, Interim 1983 The Rev. Stephen O. Voysey 1983-1996 The Rev. William Schnitzer , Interim 1996-1997 The Rev. Ellen O’Hara 1997-2012 The Rev. Robert Flanagan, Interim 2012-2015 The Rev. Megan Sanders 2015-2019 The Rev. Michael Shafer, Longterm Supply 2019-2021 The Rev. Heather K. Sisk 2022-present