In 1702, Christ Church of Philadelphia established a mission Anglican Church in the growing riverfront town of Chester , Pennsylvania . The first service held in the new church was on January 24, 1703. Since this was the day before the Conversion of St. Paul, the Rev. John Talbot, who preached the first sermon on that day suggested the new church take the name of St. Paul . Two relics of those early days still exist. The Queen Anne Silver, presented in 1705, and the Sandelands tombstone which is embedded in the west wall of the nave.
Throughout the 18th century and into the early 19th century, St. Paul's struggled to survive. The low ebb came in 1831 when the Rev. Richard U. Morgan left. There was no rector and there were no communicants. With the appointment of the Rev. John Baker Clemson in 1831, St. Paul's began a long and steady period of growth. In 1850, a new church building was completed and in 1863, with the arrival of the Rev. Henry Brown, St. Paul's began growing. To make room for a growing congregation, a second church, St. Luke's, was built in the South Ward and in 1873 the church building was enlarged.
The Rev. Francis M. Taitt followed the Rev. Brown in 1893 and assured that St. Paul's would have financial stability. He established an endowment in 1913 that carried the church through its lean years. On Easter Sunday, 1900, the present St. Paul's Church was completed at Ninth and Madison Streets. The Rev. Taitt remained as Rector until 1929 at which time he was elected the Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Church membership peaked in the mid 1960's, but subsequently Chester experienced an economic downturn. Several times in the past few decades we considered relocating the church from Chester to the outlying suburbs, but we concluded that the church should remain as a point of stability in the city.