1887 was an auspicious year for the Episcopalians of Pearl River. For years the had been gathering in local homes as Rev. Thomas Stephens, the rector of St. Paul’s Church in nearby Spring Valley, led services. With the support of missionary funds from the diocese, these determined congregants laid the cornerstone of their first church on October 13 and held their first service in the church on December 4, 1887.
Committed to becoming a welcoming, active congregation, they continued to grow and became and organized mission in October of 1924. In 1926 the mission moved – literally and figuratively. To protect the building from annual spring flooding of a nearby creek, the mission carefully transported their building along three blocks and across active railroad tracks. The entire process took two weeks but the railroad, and the church services stayed on schedule, and the parish enjoyed its new Central Ave. and John Street location.
In 1941 the mission welcomed the Rev. Kenneth W. Mann, its first resident minister. Together they weathered the storms of war and celebrated the return of peace all the while staying focused on their goal to be recognized as an independent congregation.
Joyously on April 30, 1952 St. Stephen’s declared itself an independent and self-supporting congregation and called the Rev. Ernest Churchill to become its first rector. Under his careful guidance the congregation grew and the congregation soon found themselves seeking a new location to call home.
On June 8, 1958, they broke ground for a new St. Stephen’s church at the current Ehrhardt Road location. The congregation celebrated its first service in the parish hall on December 14 and realized their hope of celebrating Christmas together in their new home.
On September 11, 1966, after years of work, the congregation realized its dream when it opened the doors of the present church building and celebrated the first service in the new sanctuary.
In 2008 we celebrated 50 years in our home on Ehrhardt Road and to this day continue the work our Lord would have us do. Our doors are always open to a wide variety of groups – a nursery school, congregations of other faith traditions, twelve-step programs and our Food Cupboard that distributes food to families in our community. We have laughed, cried, rejoiced, shared meals and celebrated with many friends. But more than anything, at St. Stephen’s we have learned to love God in this place and through the many friends and neighbors we have met and have yet to meet.
St. Stephen’s warmly welcomes all of God’s people, young and adult, without regard to physical restrictions, wealth or standing, education or professional activities, the color of their skin or the language that they speak, where they live, or what their heritage or ancestry may be. Our Episcopal Church is a broad church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and the love and worship of Jesus Christ is the common bond, which unites us all.
Welcome to St. Stephen’s Pearl River, NY a congregation within the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the worldwide Anglican Communion. St. Stephen’s is grounded in its commitment to its spiritual life and lay leadership, as well as an understanding of, and deep commitment to stewardship. Our individual gifts of time, talent and treasure are given with joy to our congregation and have their roots in over a century of dedication to our faith, our church and our community. We invite you to worship with us and share in the fellowship of our community of faith. We hope this webpage will help you to become more familiar with St. Stephen’s, our congregational activities, and our mission to serve Christ in the world.