2016 marks our 40th year! We began celebrating, though, at the 2015 Diocese of Olympia annual Convention. As one of the actions of the Convention, St. Germain was recognized as meeting all the requirements to become a “Mission Congregation.” Prior to this new designation, our small congregation was initially considered a “Developing Congregation and, later, as a “Bishop Designated Mission Station.” We are excited to take our place among the approximately 100 members of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Washington!
Historical Summary: On June 20, 1976, fifteen people assembled in the Union City Masonic Temple on the Skokomish Indian reservation to celebrate the first Eucharist in what is now St. Germain’s church. The celebrant was the Rev. Donald Maddux of St. David’s, Shelton and the preacher was the Ven. Walter McNeil, archdeacon of the diocese. In the first months the congregation was composed mostly of members of the Leister Family, owners of a neighborhood store. Because of a lack of growth and other difficulties, services were discontinued in March, 1978.
St. Germain’s reopened in September, 1978 in an aging storefront building in downtown Hoodsport. In April, 1979, after a winter spent huddling around a wood stove and putting up with noisy upstairs neighbors, the congregation moved to a small rented house.
When the congregation purchased two lots on Lake Cushman Road in 1982 for $16,000, the surrounding community began to accept the fact that the Episcopal Church was really there to stay. With local residents doing much of the design work and participating in many stages of the construction, a new church building was ready for the Easter Eucharist liturgy in 1984. The building was designed so that the parish hall and church could be united for large services. The chapel portion of the structure was set up to handle about 50 worshipers. With the two rooms combined, about 100 persons were able to be accommodated. The new church building was consecrated by Bishop Robert H. Cochrane on August 1, 1984.
Because of concern for parking and building expansion, an additional lot was purchased in 1985. Landscaping has been, and continues to be, a congregational project when funds and time are available. The tragic death of a young child pointed up the need to complete a burial place for cremated remains. With memorial funds and donated labor from the congregation, the Memorial
Garden was completed in time for consecration on St. Germain’s Day, July 31, 1987. The Memorial Garden features a natural stone altar which is used for outdoor services. St. Germain’s serves a community where no other liturgical church has a congregation. Therefore, services are attended by people of several faiths and their participation is welcomed and cherished.
Throughout the small church building are many interesting features, such as an altar and east wall made with stones gathered by the congregation. Stones from historic buildings are incorporated, as well as those from the church and other local sites. A mortgage burning was held on June 7,
1992. On June 3, 2001, ground was broken for a new parish hall, a much needed expansion. The congregation’s women’s group, altar guild, ushers, lectors and lay readers are all active volunteers in the life of St. Germain’s and local community. Members of the congregation founded the local Hood Canal food bank and still help with support and staffing of the facility.
Because the congregation is ecumenical and swells in size with summer visitors, many activities are scheduled during those months. The annual “Corndoggle” community event, held during the last weekend prior to Labor Day weekend, has taken place for over 30 years! For many years a permanent outdoor grill, built by early parishioners, provided the memorable food served at the Corndoggle and other church-sponsored summer events.
St. Germain’s was founded by Fr. Donald Maddux, rector and vestry of St. David’s, Shelton, as a celebration of the 1976 American Bicentennial. The church building was erected in the year of the Seabury Bicentennial. These facts are commemorated in stained glass windows in St. Germain’s sanctuary. The patron saints of all Mason County Episcopal Churches, past and present, are also commemorated in the windows. The church was named for St. Germain of Auxerre, patron of Thurlby, Lincolnshire, where Fr. Donald Maddux lived before moving to Mason County.