Church History

History of Our Church


About 1900, the Rev. Le Roy Baker was rector of St. Paul’s in downtown Harrisburg.  He was a missionary minded priest, and it concerned him that while there had long been an Episcopal Church in downtown Harrisburg there was none in the Allison Hill (“The Hill”) area which is east of downtown and on a hill overlooking that area.  The community response was enthusiastic and on February 1st, 1903, the first service was conducted by Rev. Baker in a rented hall on Howard Street in the Allison Hill area.  Thus began St. Andrew’s Mission.  A Sunday School was organized and flourished.  The following year 17 people, mostly adults, were confirmed. In 1906, St. Andrew’s Mission organized itself into a parish and applied for a charter of incorporation. Within three short years, St. Andrew’s Parish had progressed from preaching station status to become a fully incorporated parish. The parish chose its current home at the corner of Nineteenth and Market Streets and St. Andrew’s Parish House and Rectory were dedicated on June 5, 1910. In the history of this diocese, no other parish has made that progression in such a short time.

For many years, St. Andrew’s was the center of community life on “The Hill”, and the Parish “gym” on the lower level was used by a number of community organizations. 
In November 1928, St. Andrew’s marked its 25th anniversary with a special service attended by the bishop.  As St. Andrew‘s approached the 1930’s the parish was struggling financially.  However, in keeping with the mission philosophy that has been the hallmark of St. Andrew’s the 1932 Good Friday collection went towards church work in the Holy Land of Jerusalem.  In 1933, a pipe organ was purchased and installed.

Twenty-one stained glass windows were installed in 1973.  Fourteen of the twenty-one windows were dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of dear, departed ones of the parish.  On April 4, 1976, the Four Evangelist stained glass windows above the altar were dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of William McBride, M.D.


After the end of World War II and during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Parish members began building homes in the outer areas of Harrisburg.  In response to the historic call of the church to mission that is our heritage at St. Andrew’s Parish, the rector, wardens, and vestry committed themselves to the establishment of a new Episcopal congregation in the suburbs of Harrisburg.  Planning for the new congregation and the search for a suitable site began in 1979.


In 1980, a 13-acre property along Linglestown Road was acquired, and the house upon it was used as a worship place.  Over 120 worshippers braved a snowstorm to attend the first service at St. Andrew’s in the Valley on Christmas Eve, 1980.  


Just as it became evident to the early parishioners of St. Andrew’s Parish (who first met in a rented hall) that a permanent house of worship was needed, it was evident that a permanent church structure was need for St. Andrew’s in the Valley.  A goal to raise $100,000 over three years was set in order to build a house of worship and provide a setting that would enhance the worship of God and serve as another spiritual base for the mission of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Parish. St. Andrew’s in the Valley was dedicated and consecrated on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1986.  Generous parishioners provided gifts and memorials to the glory of God and in memory of loved ones.

Our rectors have been:

1903 – 1905 The Rev. John E. Hill
1905 – 1907 The Rev. Henry B. Smith
1907 – 1907 The Rev. A. G. A. Buxton
1908 – 1911 The Rev. Ward W. Reese
1911 – 1917 The Rev. James F. Bullitt
1917 – 1920 The Rev. Henry A. Post
1920 – 1925 The Rev. William C. Heilman
1927 – 1927 The Rev. Alexander E. Pflaum
1927 – 1931 The Rev. Hollis W. Colwell
1931 – 1935 The Rev. Earl M. Honaman
1937 – 1972 The Rev. George Toadvine
1973 – 2007 The Rev. Canon A. Ronald Stiscia

2008 - 2015  The Rev. William T. Alford

2016 - Current  The Rev. Canon Nelson K. Baliira

St. Andrew’s Parish celebrated its centennial with a number of events, beginning in December 2005 on St. Andrew’s Day and culminating in November 2006 on All Saints’ Day with a special service celebrated by our bishop.  Following that service, a commemorative dinner was held.  A mural in the basement of the Parish Hall at 19th and Market had been commissioned and was unveiled.  Other centennial activities throughout the year included:  a picnic, a jazz concert, and several guest speakers.

In January of 2014, St. Andrew's officially separated its two facilities and the Valley Facility became incorporated as Saint Andrew's in the Valley. The City Facility retained the name St. Andrew's and remains active. 

© 2024 Saint Andrew's In The Valley Episcopal Church
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