The St. Paul’s Ivy Story

logo-vectorFor over 175 years, St. Paul’s has been living its mission “to help each other worship and experience God, to share openly the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to respond in love to the needs of others.”

Our story begins in 1838 with a small Episcopal church built on the banks of Mechum’s River. Around 1868, this church was moved to Ivy – a more central location and one allowing for the establishment of a cemetery. The new church was consecrated on August 1, 1870.

The Rev. Frederick W. Neve assumed the rectorate of St. Paul’s in 1888, beginning a long and fruitful ministry lasting until 1923. While rector, Neve built Kirklea, where our staff offices and youth room now reside. Dedicated to carrying the Gospel to the people of the Blue Ridge, Neve established a procession of mountain missions, many of which exist today. Through this work, the Archdeaconry of the Blue Ridge was established, and Neve served as its first Archdeacon until his death in 1948.

HONORING OUR HISTORY IS PART OF OUR STORY. Through the years we continued to develop our buildings and grounds. In 1948, a parish house was added and named Neve Hall as a memorial to the Archdeacon. The sanctuary itself was expanded several times, and the choir loft and bell tower added. The playground with its hallmark ark was created. In 1996, Kirklea and its land were purchased to allow more room for growth. A large capital campaign followed, resulting in our spacious parish hall, the excellent church school rooms below, our beautiful courtyard, our library and a larger space for our food pantry. This work was completed and dedicated in 1998.

SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY IS PART OF OUR STORY. Following in the footsteps of Archdeacon Neve, the people of St. Paul’s focus on sharing the love of Christ with others. We have built homes with Habitat and supported abused and neglected children through CASA. We provide assistance to families in crisis through AIM. Motivated students from low-income families receive scholarships to continue their education after high school. We feed the hungry at the downtown soup kitchen and help PACEM house homeless women in the winter months. Our longest-running outreach ministry is our food pantry, which has provided food to local families for over 30 years. It began serving only a handful of families and today helps over 60 area families keep food on their tables. Our partnership with Nzali and support of the Carpenter’s Kids extend our caring globally.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE IS PART OF OUR STORY. Our rich history and dedication to serving others is testimony to the willingness of our parish families to embrace the future. Building on our strong foundation, we continue to touch and change lives. It is this foundation of faith and love that moves us forward, enriching our story.
We are committed to keeping our buildings and grounds beautiful and purposeful. This is part of our story. For our facilities to meet our current and future needs, critical repairs and improvements are essential.

Kirklea is part of our history, and more importantly, it is home to the day-to-day operation of our church, providing office space for our dedicated clergy and staff. Its preservation and improvement are key to the legacy we leave future generations.

• The exterior is an eyesore with rotting wood and peeling paint – it can be a beautiful embodiment of our past and a durable asset for our future.
• The building is cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and poorly lit year round – additional lighting, a new HVAC system and improvement to insulation will provide a comfortable place for our staff.
• The floor plan is not optimal – a new layout will maximize the functional space to meet our growing needs.
• Aspects of the structure are not up to code and there are toxic materials on site – this must be corrected.
• The porches are dangerously unstable – they could be an inviting space for gathering or reflecting.
• Access to the Kirklea is awkward – resetting and enhancing entrance paths would provide ease to the staff and parishioners as well as a warmer welcome to visitors.

We are in dire need of safe and easy access to our facilities. Our parking lot has become a collection of potholes and ruts. Those with limited mobility meet challenges navigating our buildings.

• The surface of the parking lot is hazardous – resurfacing is urgently needed.
• Parking space is not adequate – a more efficient layout will accommodate more cars.
• Rainwater pools at our main entrance – improvements to drainage will keep us safe and dry.
• Inadequate lighting makes coming and going at night unsafe and unsettling – additional lighting is required to keep everyone secure.
• Access to and from disabled parking is difficult – resetting and enhancing walkways would improve ease of access.
• Getting to the lower levels of our facility and to Kirklea requires using stairs – adding an elevator would give universal access

To serve the people of St Paul’s,
to make this place an asset to the community and beyond,
to inspire others to join us in keeping our story vital,
it is time for us to meet these challenges.