Hicksville’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
History and Guide to the Symbolism – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the two 60-foot lots upon which it sits were gifts from A.P. Edgerton, one of Hicksville’s founding fathers. Mr. Edgerton came to Hicksville in 1837, but at the time of the building of this church he was living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His original home was located across the street where the Johnson Memorial Library now stands and was used as a summer resort by the Edgerton family and their guests.
In November of 1873, Mr. Edgerton’s house guest was Rev. Joseph C. Talbot, Bishop of the Indiana diocese. Bishop Talbot held an Episcopal service that day in the old Presbyterian Church which was located down the street at the corner of High and Bryan Streets.
After the service, Rev. Talbot suggested that Mr. Edgerton build an Episcopal Church in Hicksville for the benefit of his family, friends, and the people of Hicksville. Mr. Edgerton agreed. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was completed in 1875 at a cost of $7,000. It was consecrated on October 17, 1875.
The first thing you see when you enter the church is the Baptismal Font. It is located at the entrance to symbolize the first step in your Christian life. The whole congregation participates in the baptismal service. They turn and face the font and respond from the prayer book as the priest administers the sacraments.
The wide aisle goes the full length of the building. At one end is the font and at the other the seat of God. There are no barriers along the way.
The windows were made in England and shipped here for the building. The pattern of the crown and the cross remind us of the reward of the believers who are faithful to the death. They also remind us of the glory of Christ and His life of redemptive suffering.
The colors of the side windows are gold, green., purple, and red.
These colors signify the seasons of the church:
PURPLE heralds the Advent season when we anticipate the coming of Christ, the King of Kings.
WHITE or GOLD was used on Christmas Day and for several Sundays after. It is a symbol for purity and celebration. It reminds us of the gift of Christ.
GREEN symbolizes the manifestation of God’s plan in Christ. In the Ephiphany season between Christmas and Lent, we remember the life and teachings of Christ.
WHITE and GOLD are used again to designate Easter. White reminds us of the color of joyous celebration of the Resurrection.
RED is used during the Pentacost or Trinity. This marks the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of the Christian Church.
The windows above the altar have the symbol of the cross and the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. This reminds us of Christ’s teaching: “I am the alpha and the omega. I am the beginning and the end”.
The organ is thought to be original to the 1875 completion of the church. it is said to be a harmonium, a manually pumped instrument in which the air is forced through reeds (instead of pipes as a true organ would have). The two candle holders provided light for the organist.
Scones on the wall are not original. Those were stolen in the 1940′s. These replacements are very close to the look of the originals.
If you look up, you will see the original central lighting fixtures. They were electrified from the original oil lamps. When the church was restored in 1975, the lamps had to be raised to accomodate the cables used to pull the walls together. The walls had been bowing outward.
The area just outside the Communion rail contains two items of furniture. On the left is the lecturn and pulpit. Psalms and lessons are read from the large Bible. The minister delivers the sermon from here. On your right is the kneeling or prayer bench. The prayers for the day, as found in The Book of Common Prayer, are led from this bench.
Our Communion Rail is to the right and left of the altar. We have an open Communion. No one is turned away.
The furnishings behind the Communion Rail are:
BISHOP’S CHAIR: to the left of the altar is the chair where the visiting priest sits. The presiding priest also uses it.
ALTAR: symbolizes the throne of God and the Place of the Presence.
CREDENCE TABLE: on the wall to the right of the altar is used to hold unblessed sacraments for Holy Communion.
SECOND CHAIR: on your right is used by the person assisting the priest.
The altar or sacristy table is the focal point of the entire building. Its purpose is to remind us that the ultimate purpose of life’s journey is to dwell with God. On the altar are:
TWO CANDLES: symbolizing the humanity and the divinity of Christ.
THE CROSS: a symbol of the risen Christ.
THE RITUAL BOOK: used for celebrating the festivals of the year.
Notice the wooden beams. They are made of native ash.
The high ceilings and pointed arches are typical of the Gothic Revival style, popular in the mid 1800′s. They are meant to convey a feeling of spaciouness, awe, and reverence.