History of Saint Alban’s
The first Episcopalians to settle in Davidson arrived in the late 19th century, and 21 hearty souls petitioned Bishop Theodore B. Lyman in 1890 requesting permission to found an Episcopal Mission. But it was not until 1955 that permission was granted to build an Episcopal Church in Davidson.
Why the 65-year delay?
Much had to do with the strong Presbyterian roots in Davidson and the desire to keep the “Tory-tainted” Episcopalians out. Following World War II, priests from neighbouring towns held services on campus for the townspeople and Episcopal students, and shortly before Christmas 1955, St. Alban’s was established as a mission church. The first regular service was held on February 6, 1956.
Groundbreaking for a new chapel took place on November 8, 1956. The cornerstone was laid on our 53-seat Lorimer Street chapel on Easter Sunday, April 21, 1957, sixty-seven years from the date of the original petition. For the next 37 years, St. Alban’s was served by a succession of priests serving on a part-time basis. Everything changed in late 1993 when the Vestry of St. Alban’s decided to use the mission church’s “saved resources” to call a full-time priest – truly a step of faith for what was then a small congregation.
As a “Venture of Faith”, The Reverend Gary Steber was called and arrived in November 1994, breathing new life into St. Alban’s. The church grew twofold in 1995, had tripled in 1996, qualified for “parish” status in 1997, and added an Associate Rector. Having outgrown its space, the last service at St. Alban’s Chapel was August 16, 1998. The weekly family service and Sunday School was moved to Calvary Presbyterian Church on South Street.
As a second “Venture of Faith” of even greater magnitude, the congregation decided in 1999 to build a new church. The groundbreaking for new St. Alban’s church on St. Alban’s Lane took place on May 21, 2000, and the joyous consecration followed in October 2001. The new building houses the sanctuary, a bell tower, offices, education and preschool areas, a playground and plenty of parking. This new physical space allows St. Alban’s to reach out to those in need and spread the Good News as never before.