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A Brief Sketch of Our Church In Its Early Days

Information from the minutes of the first meetings of the congregation show that on April 3, 1893, in response to a call from Mr. Matti Niemi, Chairman, "many members were assembled" at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Rockport, Mass. Mr. Otis E. Smith, Justice of the Peace, opened the meeting in the Lord's name. Officers were then elected and Mr. Smith offered his services in legalizing the congregational records. Evidently a congregation was functioning prior to that time; just how long we do not know. Minutes of the first four meetings show the name of the congregation to be "Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rockport". At the fifth meeting, April 1, 1894, the name appears as "Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rockport, Pigeon Cove, and Lanesville". However, already in November of 1893, two members, Mr. H. Petterson and Mr. J. Ollila, were assigned as canvassers in Lanesville for monthly dues (25c per month!). Preliminary action to affiliate with Suomi Synod was taken on November 29, 1894.

The instruction of the youth was organized on May 8, 1894. Sunday School met for two hours, beginning at 12 noon. Mr. Karl Elo and Mr. William Hukari were the first Sunday School teachers, with Mr. John Tuikka as music director. Confirmation class met three days a week.

On January 1, 1896, the name of the church was changed to "St. Paul's Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cape Ann". In Lanesville the congregation worshipped in the little chapel on Norseman Avenue until 1940, when the present building was purchased. At that time also, the name was changed to the present one "St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Lanesville and Gloucester".

The following have been resident pastors of our congregation since its inception:

Rev. John H. Kampi


Rev. Pekka Airaksinen


Rev. Gabriel Lipsanen


Rev. Samuel H. Ronka


Rev. Antti O. Kuusisto


Rev. Wilbert H. Tormala


Rev. William R. Sarvela


This sketch does not cover the history of St. Paul's through the years. Space does not permit a complete coverage at this time. Our history is ongoing and its complete compilation is a long range project already in process. Any longer history will reflect the changing socio-economic factors which have affected the growth of the church. What we are and what we have is by the Grace of God to whom we give thanks on this occasion.

Published in a program folder of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Lanesville, Gloucester, Massachusetts, October 12, 1958.

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