St Paul’s Church is unique within the Parish as it does not have a building in its own right, but shares happily with Whinmoor St Paul’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School. Since 1967 the Church has enjoyed an excellent relationship with the school and with the wider community who use the premises for a range of activities for all age groups. The Sanctuary incorporated in the building in the school hall was the foresight of the Revd Norman Thomas, Vicar of Seacroft at the time and first Team Rector of the Seacroft team ministry.
At the beginning of 1967, four months after the school had opened in September 1966, the Revd Terry Short began conducting monthly services of Holy Communion at the school. Initially, a school dining room table served as an altar, until Terry Short borrowed a large Victorian altar from a church in the Leeds area. This remained in use for several years.
Upon the arrival of the first priest-in-charge, the Revd John Pulford, the Eucharist was celebrated each week. The first Sunday school was started, supervised by Mrs Chris Hardy. It was during this period that the Parish of Seacroft became a team ministry.
The Revd Brian Geeson was appointed team vicar of Whinmoor Church in June 1971, and in 1973 the church acquired its own specially designed altar to replace the borrowed altar.
Brian Geeson left in 1977 to enter full-time teaching, and was succeeded in 1978 by the Revd Eric Thacker. It was Eric Thacker who was responsible for the change of name from Whinmoor Church to Saint Paul’s in September 1979. This was marked by a service conducted by the Bishop of Ripon. The first confirmation service to be held at St Paul’s was conducted by the Bishop of Ripon in November of the same year.
Eric Thacker moved to the parish of Womersley and Kirk Smeaton in December 1981, to be succeeded in 1982 by Revd Paul Wilkinson.
In September 1986, the Church Room was opened on the school premises by Margaret Arnett, daughter of Commander Walter Dickson who donated money for the completion of the Room, which had begun in 1969 as a covered area providing access to the hall from the far end of the school, without disturbing pupils using the library as a classroom. Later on this covered area was fenced in to become a useful storage area. Later still, the fence was removed and the area walled in with windows and an outside door. Finally a proper floor was laid and a storage room, cloakroom and toilet added, along with space heating.
In 1992 the 25th Anniversary was celebrated with Paul, Ann and family. In total they stayed for 19 years.
Another significant event took place on Easter Monday 4th April 1994, when the first service of Holy Matrimony at St Paul’s took place. This was the marriage of Hilly and Mike Smith, members of the family of St Paul’s church and Hilly was also a Guide leader. This was the only Wedding, but more recently in 2015 there was a Wedding Blessing for Helen and Luke Bramma.
Another vacancy followed until Revd Clare McLaren was appointed. She came with her husband Lyndon and their family. Clare was here to celebrate our 40th Anniversary with an outdoor service with Bishop James followed by lunch. Then a BBQ and barn dance followed in the evening with music by the Tom Havoc band led by our Team Rector at the time – Tony Bundock. Clare stayed for 7 years and then moved to a parish in Bradford.
Yet another vacancy followed, then Revd Fiona Harrison-Smith with her husband, Martin and son Peter joined us for a short time but then exchanged churches within the Parish with the current Vicar, Revd Christine Bandawe with her husband Claude and daughters, Charlotte and Emilie.
Today the congregation of St Paul’s meets weekly at 10.00am on Sunday mornings. We are an inclusive and open congregation and welcome others to come and join us.