Get to Know: St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Florissant
"Church is not about a building," said the Rev. Mary Haggerty. As the priest-in-charge at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Florissant, she and the congregation are having some difficult discussions about what it means to be "church."
In the fall of 2021, the congregation learned the support beams that hold up their worship space were unsafe. They were evacuated out of their sanctuary and now worship in their parish hall while they figure out their next steps.
The situation is forcing St. Barnabas to go a little deeper. "It’s a bigger question than a building," Rev. Mary said. "Who is God calling us to be? What are the needs of our neighbors, what are our congregational values? Then we make decisions about how do we house that most efficiently."
Their structural beams may be failing, but strong relationships between members are the true and steady foundation of St. Barnabas. Several members, including Barb Parks, drive up to 20 miles to attend church together. She began attending after a friend invited her to a Bible study. "The people are just amazing here!" said Barb.
Deacon Dayna Jewson agrees. "I'm happy to be in a church that is so connected. Everyone knows each other and everyone cares about each other."
"This is where God's spirit led us to be," said Samantha Kennedy. Samantha and her family live two minutes from St. Barnabas and had been searching for a new church home. "When we walked in here, we just knew it's where we should be." She is now leading a seasonal children's worship program at St. Barnabas.
Those strong relationships lead to active ministries at St. Barnabas. The parish supports TEAM food pantry (the emergency assistance ministry) that serves the Florissant-Hazelwood area. Members also gather for Bible study every Sunday morning and Tuesday evening prayer sessions on Zoom. St. Barnabas is the home of the North County Community Garden. The garden project is a joint collaboration between St. Barnabas, All Saints and Ascension Episcopal Church in Northwoods, and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ferguson. The group is just beginning its second growing season.
St. Barnabas began as a mission church in 1957, after the Rev. Gordon Price of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ferguson convinced his congregation that they ought to plant a mission church five miles to the north of them in Florissant because so many people living in that area were attending St. Stephen's. St. Barnabas was admitted as a new parish in the Diocese in 1972 by the 132nd Convention. Ground was broken in 1959 to erect the church building and a new parish hall was built in 1992.
Rev. Mary says everything is on the table when it comes to the next steps for the congregation and its building. "We’re trying to step back and ask, what is our why? Why do we exist, what are our values, what ministry are we called for at this moment in time. Then figure out what building we need to do that work."
Church name: St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
Address: 2900 Saint Catherine Street
Email: [email protected]
Worship Services: Sundays 10 a.m.
- The Rev. Mary Haggerty, Priest-in-Charge
- The Rev. Dayna Jewson, Deacon
Mission: The mission of St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church, a parish for all people, is to extend God's gracious love and hospitality to each other and to the community by providing worship that inspires, opportunities for service and growth on life's journey, and a sacred place in the heart of Florissant where people can find wholeness and peace.
Vision: Our vision for St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church is to build and to sustain a vibrant and diverse community centered around common worship, fellowship, service and education.
(numbers from 2020 parochial report)