St. Francis dates back to September 1946, when a group of Episcopalians in the Holden community met to discuss the feasibility of a local church. Services and meetings were held periodically for the next five years when we officially became a Parochial Mission under the supervision of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Worcester. Our first regular services were held in the Holden Town Hall.
On October 1, 1952, we were formally organized as a Mission of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and adopted the name “St. Francis.” Land and a parish house were purchased in April 1953, and in November the Reverend Harold B. Boughey was called as the first full-time vicar. On March 25, 1956 St. Francis Church was completed and dedicated by Bishop W.A. Lawrence. Six years later we became a Parish Church when St. Francis was accepted into union by the Diocesan Convention in May 1962. Father Boughey remained as Rector until 1964.
Since that time, St. Francis has been served by five more rectors: The Rev.Thomas Sullivan, The Rev. Earl Whepley, The Rev. Gordon Scruton, The Rev. Rich Simpson, and The Rev. Patrick Perkins. In 1999, The Rev. Mark Hatch became the first Associate Rector at St. Francis, followed by The Rev. Darrell Huddleston in 2004, The Rev. Jill Williams, the first ordained woman to serve on the staff at St. Francis, in 2007, and the Rev. Karen Safstrom, an ordained Lutheran minister, in 2012, serving until 2018.
Our growth as a parish has allowed us to offer a variety of worship and educational opportunities for people of all ages. As we approach our sixtieth year of ministry as Episcopalians in Holden, we are a vital, growing congregation that looks to welcome all who are looking to grow and learn together in faith.