A Glimpse at the History of St. Mary’s*
The history of St. Mary’s church actually begins in 1900, nine years before the actual incorporation of the parish and four years before the incorporation of the borough of Haddon Heights. Mr. and Mrs. D. Mason Godwin, Sr., led a movement to establish an Episcopal church in Haddon Heights and opened their home for the first Episcopal service in this borough. The Haddon Heights Episcopalians, numbering about twenty, continued to meet in a variety of places for the next several years and were considered a mission of Grace Church in nearby Haddonfield.
In 1904, St. Mary’s Guild was formed. This group of ten women sewed, embroidered, baked and cooked to raise money for a church.
St. Mary’s Parish was finally founded in 1909, and the first part of the Church building was completed in 1910. St. Mary’s first rector, The Reverend Thomas T. Butler, led his first service in September of the same year.
St. Mary’s parish grew steadily. By December, 1928, St. Mary’s was ready to build again but, due to the economic conditions of the time, new additions to the Church were postponed. Additions to the nave and construction of a parish hall and classrooms were completed in 1936. Additional classrooms and a chapel were added in 1959.
The church today has celebrated its 100th anniversary and is a handsome brick building with tower and bell that can be heard throughout the community. The building itself is spacious and contains excellent facilities for Sunday School and parish activities of all kinds.
St. Mary’s remains a vital parish composed of individuals young and old, with varied backgrounds and interests, all united in a sense of spiritual service and commitment. The congregation is far larger in number than the tiny group that met as “Grace Mission” in the Godwin home, but the devotion remains unchanged.
* Note: As you might guess, this page gives only a glimpse. The true history of St. Mary’s can only be told by considering the many who have passed through, contributed to, and been touched by St. Mary’s. Some are remembered in our beautiful windows,vestments, Eucharistic instruments, pews … all the gifts that we continue to maintain because they represent lives touched by God here in this place, on another day. So many others left their decided and faithful mark on the spirit of this community. Our history is important to us because it is the story of God’s touch. This history also serves as a reminder that we, too, must be faithful servants of God, for God desires to continue to touch the world through this community.