St. Paul's was established as one of the mission churches of Grace Episcopal Church in Burke County. In 1906 an Episcopal mission school was opened in the Linville area of the county on land given by Phifer Scott. The Rev. Walter Hughson and Miss Eva Frances Dixon founded the mission school and held its first service on September 2, 1906. Five months later, twenty-one people from the community were baptized.
The Rev. Malcolm S. Taylor took charge of the mission in 1907 and oversaw the laying of
the cornerstone of what people refer to as "the old stone" St. Paul’s Church on
April 23, 1907. That same year, Rev. Taylor left to become the first Headmaster of the
Patterson School for Boys in Lenoir.
The Rev. James Joyner came to St. Paul’s as a Deacon where he met and married
Miss Dixon. She lived in a mission house on the premises, taught school, gave religious
instruction, and began an orphanage for the community. She had served at the various
mission churches of Grace Church, prior to coming to St. Paul’s. Some of the current
members of St. Paul’s can still recall her vigor and dedication. Rev. Joyner served as
minister-in-charge until his death in 1915.
Following Rev. Joyner’s death, clergymen from St. John’s, Marion, and Grace Church,
Morganton, served St. Paul’s. Mission work was continued by the steadfast commitment
of lay people, especially the White and LaFevers families. St. Paul’s, along with St. Mary’s,
Quaker Meadows, and St. Stephen’s, Morganton, were officially designated Diocesan Missions in 1951. The beloved Bishop Henry served these churches faithfully and members could depend on him for monthly communion services. In the early 1950’s, St. Paul’s and St. Mary’s became yoked parishes and shared priests for a number of years. Sunday services were conducted regularly at both church locations.
On December 31, 1979, fire destroyed the stone structure of the old St. Paul’s Church while The Rev. Michael Mohn was serving as Rector. Sunday services continued in the White family cabin on the Catawba River. After much prayer and two years of hard work, the church was rebuilt. Mrs. Martha Greyer, a long-time resident of Lake James, donated the land on which the church stands today. The Rev Michael Mohn, the Rev. Tom Brereton and the Reverend Scott Oxford served the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s during 1982-1993. From 1993 - 2003 The Rev. John W. Fitzgerald served St. Paul’s as Priest. In 2004-2005 The Rev. Thomas Rightmyer served as Priest in Charge. On November 27, 2005, the Rev. Alfred T.K. Zadig was called to become Interim, and served St. Paul's until May 25, 2008. Bishop Taylor appointed Fr. Fitzgerald as Rector Emeritus of St. Paul's Parish. On May 31, 2009, the Rev. H James Rains was called to be rector of St. Paul's and he served the church for six years retiring in May 2015.
On November 1, 2015, the Reverend Margaret Dudley Ashby was called to succeed Father Rains as Rector of the Parish. The Reverend Ashby previously served as a Pastor in Staunton, Virginia. She and her husband Gerald live in Asheville, NC.
Fitzgerald Hall,the Parish Hall located next to the church, was completed in 1996. This building is used regularly by organizations throughout the community for meetings and other activities. The basement of Fitzgerald Hall houses the church library and meeting room. Sunday school rooms and the Rector’s office are located in the undercroft of the church. These additions have allowed St. Paul’s to have greater outreach ministries in the Lake James Community.
"the old stone" original St. Paul's - Artwork courtesy of Shannon Welch, a member of the White family.