The History of St. Paul's
The Congregation in Winter Haven was first organized as a regular mission with the name of St. Matthew's in November 1915. On Thanksgiving Day 1924, the congregation voted to change the name to St. Paul's. The Church recieved its charter as a parish. In 1925. A wooden building was erected on the site of the current Sanctuary. In the 1950s and '60s, additional concrete buildings were built to provide space for classrooms, a library, and a larger, fully equipped Parish Hall.
At Christmas 1953, Mrs. Arabella McKee gifted the Church with land directly to the west. This is now The Garden of the Cross. The garden contains a Della Robbia of the Holy Family given by Dr. Joseph D. Nagel, an altar given in memory of John W. "Jack" McKay by his family, and a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. The Garden of the Cross is a peaceful place where everyone is welcome to visit and meditate on God's blessings.
The church burned completely to the ground in June of 1985. Services were held in The Garden of the Cross and Stirrup Hall until the new church was built. The fire was determined to be accidental - caused by a transient. The church was rebuilt and consecrated in October 1988. Father William Lahey was priest during this time.
The beautiful stained glass windows on the north and south walls of the church were designed for St. Paul's by Franz Mayer and Co. in Munich West Germany between 1953 and 1960. After the fire, the windows were completely reproduced by the same company between 1987 and 1989.
There are 27 total windows divided into 9 scenes depicting the life of Christ. There are also 3 round stained glass windows in the main church and a series of stained glass windows in St. Mary's Chapel.