Corporation of St. Paul's Church fonds

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Corporation of St. Paul's Church fonds

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  • 1754-2006 (Creation)
    Corporation of St. Paul's Church

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Physical description

15.9895 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

Incorporated in 1759, the official name of the corporation is “The Rector, Wardens and Vestry of the Parish of St. Paul's, Halifax.” Its foundations began in 1749 with the establishment of St. Paul's by royal decree by King George II. The first missionaries, sent from England by the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands (SPG), arrived in 1749 aboard the 'Sphinx' with the Hon. Edward Cornwallis. Construction of the church building began in 1750 and was completed by 1763. The corporation was supported through a combination of pew rents, which were charged until 1890, and land ownership. The governing body of the parish corporation is the Parish Council, previously known as the Vestry. The Parish Council currently consists of the rector and any other clergy appointed to the parish (such as curates or assistant rectors); three churchwardens; a secretary; a treasurer; and not less than three and no more than twelve parishioners elected from the congregation; one or more parish organization representatives; and one youth representative. All committees and organizations of the parish report to the Parish Council, providing annual reports for the annual parish meeting. The Parish Council, through the Finance Committee, also oversees the finances of the church. Some organizations are overseen by specific offices, such as the Chancel Guild, which reports directly to the rector, and the Property Committee, which works under the churchwardens. As an evangelical church, mission and outreach have always been important facets to St. Paul's ministries. Through the years, this has included missionary work done by St. Paul's clergy beginning in the 18th century; providing relief efforts for victims of the Halifax Explosion of 1917; providing financial assistance to numerous war-time efforts; support of St. Paul's Home; as well as theatrical and concert performances. St. Paul's is home to the oldest Sunday School in Canada, founded in 1783. The Sunday School is currently overseen by the Spiritual Development Committee, who report to the Parish Council. St. Paul's first cemetery was known first as “the churchyard” later known as the Old Burying Ground. Located on Barrington Street, this location was used by the parish from 1749 to 1844 and is currently classified as a National Historic Site. Since 1987, this property has been overseen by the Old Burying Ground Foundation. Bibliography: Emsley, Sarah Baxter. St. Paul's in the Grand Parade. Halifax: Formac, 1999. Harris, Reginald V. The church of Saint Paul in Halifax Nova Scotia: 1749-1949. Toronto: Ryerson, 1949

Custodial history

Most of the records were stored in St. Paul's Parish Hall and moved to the Church, following the demolition of the old Parish Hall. Some records were accrued through records management from the St. Paul's church office.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of: administration, cemetaries, choir and music ministries, disaster response, guilds etc., newspaper clippings, outreach, parish council, photos, publications, service records, Sunday school, visitors books

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When records were found in the basement of the Parish Hall, very little original order was evident and an order has been imposed by archivist. However where an original order is evident, it has been preserved.

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Restrictions on access

Records are available by appointment only.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

See Saint Paul's Archivist for details on copying restrictions.

Finding aids

A database containing file-level and some item-level descriptions of these records is available in the St. Paul's Church Archives for staff use.

Associated materials

See also the Clergy of St. Paul's Church fonds and the Churchwardens of St. Paul's Church fonds.

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Further accruals are expected, both of historical and current documents, as the church is operational and the Archives Committee continues the ongoing process of accessioning, arranging and describing the inventory of the St Paul's Church Archives

General note

Includes 649 photographs (b&w and col.), 36.5 cm graphic material, 3 optical discs, 2 paintings, 1 audiocassette (100 min.), 1 audio disc, 1 map, and 1 videocassette (100 min.)

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