History of St. A’s

The Episcopal Church has been in Benton Harbor since the 1880s with the founding of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Pipestone Avenue. A few of the sacred objects from that church remain in our use today. In the 1920s, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Mission took over the old Holy Trinity Church building and held services for another thirty years.

St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church began in 1961 with members of St. Stephen’s in Benton Harbor joining with members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in St. Joseph who lived on the east side of the St. Joseph River. This new congregation worshipped for a short time in a house on Napier Avenue while the Union Street property for the parish was acquired and the building constructed. Some in the neighborhood were initially opposed to our new church start, objecting both on zoning grounds and, more insidiously, to the idea of a racially integrated congregation starting up in the Fairplain area. But our founders were strong and determined and blessed, and built a thriving parish in our architecturally distinctive sanctuary. After a period of slow decline in the 1990s and the first few years of this century, our parishioners envisioned the potential of revitalized ministry in our neighborhood and decided to call a new rector in 2006 to help St. Augustine’s more fully engage the needs of the greater community and to rebuild and renew the congregation. In 2012 we became a "Believe Out Loud" congregation -- openly and intentionally welcoming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people into the life and ministry of the parish.

God has blessed us with a heritage of determination, hospitality, inclusion, and deep faith. It is in the spirit of this heritage and through God’s grace that we continue, and we invite you to join us!