“God is love and where true love is, God himself is there”
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Dayton, traces its 153-year history back to a missionary minded group of parishioners of Christ Church, Dayton. Their first building was a small brick building built in 1868. The bishop designated the mission as a parish in 1889. The congregation worshipped in a number of locations until building the current building on Salem Avenue in 1923.
The people of St. Andrew’s have always retained the missional focus of its founders. Sharing God’s love in tangible ways has shaped St. Andrew’s story – welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry and seeking and serving Christ in all people. St. Andrew’s has been known throughout the Dayton area for its food pantry (operated in cooperation with other Dayton-area Episcopal churches) and a clothing closet, as well as numerous other outreach efforts. St. Andrew’s has long been a bright spot in a food desert and struggling neighborhood in west Dayton.
As with many churches, the number of members waned over the years. Most of the members no longer live in the surrounding neighborhood, but that has not diminished their commitment to loving and serving their neighbors. In 2010, a group of Rwandan and Burundian refugees began a new worshipping community at St. Andrew’s on Sunday afternoons. New Hope African Fellowship has joined with St. Andrew’s parishioners for many special services and activities. They have been blessed to have found a new home and renewed faith in America, and are grateful to St. Andrew’s for welcoming and hosting them over the last eight years.
Beginning in 2016, St. Andrew’s participated in the “Recasting of Assets” program sponsored by the Commission on Congregational Life, along with seven other parishes. The 13-month program gave each of the congregations the information, tools and support to look at the viability of their parishes. At the end of the program each congregation came to a heart-breaking decision on their future. Facing declining attendance, dwindling resources and an increased need for infrastructure repairs, St. Andrew’s made the very difficult and courageous decision to close as a parish.
A final worship service was held April 8, 2018. In the emotional, moving service, surrounded by former members, members of the community and friends from around the diocese, the people of St. Andrew’s were able to officially say goodbye to the place that had been the center of their spiritual lives and ministry for many years. Many of the remaining members have now joined various congregations in the Dayton area.
No final decisions have been made concerning the future of the property (worship center, education/fellowship space and rectory). Join the diocese in offering thanksgiving for the faithful ministry of the people of St. Andrew’s that has touched the lives of thousands of people over so many years.
“And these three remain, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13).
Resolution R2018-01 officially dissolves the union between St. Andrew’s and the Diocese of Southern Ohio. This resolution must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the lay and clergy orders to take effect.
Submitted by Cathy Bagot, chair of the Commission on Congregational Life and member of Trinity, Newark.