“A very handsome building and reflects great credit on the faithful people of Park Point and its rector.” This was the dedication of the first St. Andrew’s building in 1917, 15 years after its humble beginnings in 1902 when 25 families on “the Point” began holding services in their homes. During the interim 15 years, however, St. Andrew’s held services in a guildhall purchased in Superior Wisconsin and pulled across the ice to reside on two plots of land donated to the church by early parishioners. St. Andrew’s By-The-Lake still resides on those two Park Point plots, on the shores of Lake Superior.
The early days of St. Andrew’s were a boom time for the city of Duluth and for the church. Soon after the church was built, Rev. MacLean baptized 50 persons and 3 infants at a single service. He confirmed 38 people in one ceremony. In 1918, with 125 children in Sunday School, the first “Young People’s Society” was formed, starting a tradition of youth ministry that has been an important part of the St. Andrew’s community throughout the years.
From the earliest years, the community has been creative in raising funds. In the guildhall days, the upstairs was rented as a flat to generate income while the downstairs was used for worship. In the 1940’s, parishioners held food showers for people in need, cooked “jiggs dinners” for families without enough to eat, supported soup kitchens downtown, made Christmas wreaths, had rummage sales, sold candy and dishcloths. One parishioner commented that these activities had “rewards of friendship, fun, and a feeling of pride in accomplishment that is lost in the easy way out of donating money.”
A monthly newsletter called “The Fisherman” was started in the 1960’s by Edith Boynton, and included both church and Park Point news. Since re-titled “The Breeze”, this Park Point newsletter is now a community-wide publication. Through environmental and other activities, St. Andrew’s continues to be an important member of the Park Point Community.
St. Andrew’s received some needed repairs and renovations in the 1970’s including a new mission hall. Over the years, parishioners have memorialized their loved ones through commissioning beautiful stained glass windows that are located throughout the building. The era of an open community church available to the public 24 hours a day came to an end in the 1970’s when upon arriving for Easter Sunday service, parishioners found one of the stained glass windows had been stolen. It was only then that we started locking doors.
In 2008, another major remodeling project was undertaken to repair a leaking roof. This project initiated other changes including moving the front entrance to allow handicapped accessibility, moving the altar to allow more seating in the church, increasing the social hall space, and improving the buildings efficiency. In 2010, we became one of the first Green Episcopal Congregations in Minnesota, a designation we received by the Minnesota Episcopal Environment Steward Commission.
Although St. Andrew’s has supported efforts to help those in need in Duluth over the many years, we have also taken on several significant projects including the sponsorship of a refugee family from Ethiopia in the 1980’s. In 2003, we raised $22,000 and helped build a Habitat for Humanity home for a parish member, and in 2005, we began raising funds to support victims of hurricane Katrina. Although we are small in size, we have a tradition of working together and committing to ongoing projects that positively impact our community and our world. Parish member, encouraged by our vicar and then embraced by all, initially identified the projects we have chosen.