About St. David's on-the-Hill
“Do the little things in life that you have seen
and heard from me.”
- St. David, Patron Saint of Wales [Who was St. David?]
This quote, attributed to the final sermon of our patron, Welsh teacher and monk St. David, describes a guiding philosophy embraced here at St. David’s on-the-Hill. Throughout the parish’s history, our congregation has dedicated itself to helping others both within and beyond the church walls, believing that a life lived according to Christ’s teachings is one built on the simple and selfless actions that aid others.
The history of St. David’s on-the-Hill dates back to Sept. 13, 1914, when Cranston resident Hannah Clark, mother of five, took it upon herself to address a need for a local Sunday School. Assisted by her sister-in-law Mrs. William Jepson, she held the first session of the Meshanticut Park Sunday School in her home on Cranston Street, where she taught her own children plus six others.
From this humble, faith-filled beginning grew St. David’s on-the-Hill. Originally a mission of All Saints’ Memorial Church, Providence, St. David’s was incorporated in 1921, became self-supporting in 1946, and was accepted as an independent parish in 1950.
All Saints Day 2017: Sunday School students take part in St. David's Youth Sunday services with Rev. Gary Lemery.
Click through the photo gallery to see their presentations on saints in the Christian tradition.
Outreach and Community Service
Embodying the words of our patron’s final sermon, St. David’s parishioners have a long history of outreach and diocesan participation.
In the 1980s, the parish sponsored the immigration and settlement of several Cambodian families, and was active in the companionship diocese program, especially with Bangladesh. In 1987, several parishioners joined a walk for hunger from Seattle to Providence.
In more recent years, the parish sponsored an Episcopal Conference Center cabin dedicated to a former rector, raised $1,500 for Comprehensive Community Action Program, worked with other parishes to prepare meals for the homeless, sponsored paper shredding events at Garden City Center, and participated in walks to raise money for breast cancer care and research.
Currently, the church is actively engaged in efforts to aid citizens of Haiti devastated by recent natural disasters, provide food and other necessities to the homeless with Loaves and Fishes Rhode Island, among other Cranston-based community service programs.
With a brand new Baptismal font, and a visit from former St. David's clergy, we marked 2014 as the Centenary of our church.
In the Voice of our Founder
As part of the Centenary of the founding of St. David's, parishioner Denise Landes created a lively, compelling narrative of its early years, in the voice of Hannah Clark, from whose Sunday School a church was born.
Read this fascinating account here.
An early supporter of the ordination of women, St. David’s was honored to welcome the diocese’s first woman deacon, The Rev. Patricia Smith, in 1975. In 2002, St. David’s called its first woman rector, The Rev. Nancy A. Willis. Upon Rev. Willis's retirement, the church welcomed the Rev. Beth Sherman as Priest-in-Charge on Oct. 5, 2008. “Pastor Beth” was instrumental in bringing in new families and reinvigorating the church with a sense of fun and adventure.
Today, the church is proud to be an inclusive, open and affirming community that welcomes everyone, regardless of faith background.
From its origins as a place for Mrs. Clark’s own children to practice their Bible studies to its current lively Sunday School program, St. David’s on-the-Hill has made its youngest community members a focal point of church happenings. The church hosts several services led by Sunday School students and celebrates many youth-oriented events throughout the year.
Not to be overlooked, even the furry, feathered, and finned members of the St. David’s family are invited to join the spiritual celebration each October, with the annual Blessing of the Animals service.
True to the words of our patron, St. David’s on-the-Hill is committed to its mission: To serve God’s people through ministry and service to others. We invite you to pay us a visit and experience what makes our community so special.
For an in-depth exploration of St. David’s history, please be sure to view our online archive.