The groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 1, 1958.  A cornerstone of gray Cambrian limestone, shipped from Saint David’s Cathedral in Wales, was laid and sealed on the eve of Saint David’s Day, February 28, 1959.  A box inside the cornerstone holds, among other items, a note from the stonedresser in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In the end, the cost of the church building was $140,940.01.


Saint David’s Mission achieved parish status in 1963.  Rectors serving Saint David’s have been The Rev. Donald Clarke Aitken, 1961-1966; The Rev. John Earle McAdams, 1966-1986; The Rev. Michael Richardson Long, 1987-1997; and The Rev. Susan A. Holstrom, 1999-present. 

The first service of the mission was held March 4, 1956 in the Lowry Chapel of Aurora College (now University).  Classrooms were available for the Church School.  Services continued to be held at Lowry Chapel until Easter Sunday, March 29, 1959, when the present church building was completed.  

On December 29, 1956, Ann (Betty) Knell Daley and her husband, Paul, donated five acres of farmland at the corner of Illinois Avenue and Randall Road as a site for the church.  Ten men and women were appointed to the building committee, headed at first by Roy Lewis and then by Karl Grube. The committee selected Howard Raftery of Geneva as architect for Saint David’s church building.  He designed the church in an English country style.  Loans were secured and several fundraisers planned to raise money to build the church. 

St. David's stained glass windows

Saint David’s Episcopal Church was founded February 28, 1956 with the acceptance, by The Rt. Rev. Gerald Francis Burrill, Bishop, of a petition that had been signed by 33 men and women.  (He granted the petition a second time the next day, on March 1, Saint David’s Day.)


In the early months, The Rev. Imri Blackburn of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary rode a train to Aurora on Sunday mornings to conduct the worship services.  In June 1956, Bishop Burrill called Robert C. Harvey, a resident of Geneva who was completing his ordination studies, to be vicar.  He served at Saint David’s until mid 1961.

St. Davids, Wales

Stained glass windows depicting events in Christ’s life, a 20-rank pipe organ, and needlepoint pew kneelers are some of the enhancements that have been added to the church building through the years.  There is a rectory and Memorial Garden to the north of the church on the property.

Saint David (stained glass by front door)

Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) was a Celtic monk, abbot, and bishop who became  the patron saint of Wales.   Renowned as a teacher and preacher, he established several churches throughout Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.  He also founded a monastery at Glyn Rhosyn on the south-west coast of Wales where St. David’s Cathedral now exists.  It was a very strict, ascetic brotherhood  which centered on prayer and hard work.  Sometimes  known as “David the Water Drinker” (“Dewi Ddyfrwr”), he was said to drink only water and eat bread with vegetables. 


The miracle associated with Saint David occurred during a sermon at a Synod in Llanddewi Brefi .  The people in the back of the crowd complained that they could not see or hear him.  Instantly, the ground rose beneath his feet to form a small hill so that all may have a good view.  A white dove was seen resting on his shoulder, taken as a sign of God’s grace and blessing.


Claimed to have lived for over 100 years, David died on March 1st in 589. His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday.  “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.”  “Do the little things” (“Gwnewch y pethau bychain”) is a  well-known phrase in Welsh today, and serves as an inspiration to many.


Saint David’s Day is on March 1st and is a time of great celebration in Wales (and here at St. David’s too!)  On that day, daffodils and leeks are worn and traditional Welsh food, including leek and potato soup, is served.










Although the true origins of how the leek came to be an emblem of Wales are unknown,  the leek has been a symbol of Wales for a long time. One legend has it that in 633, a battle between the Welsh and the Saxons was fought in a field of leeks.  King Cadwallon ap Cadfan ordered the Welsh soldiers to distinguish themselves from the enemy by wearing the leek on their caps which helped to secure a victory over the Saxons.  Shakespeare refers to the custom of wearing a leek as an "ancient tradition". In the play Henry V, Henry tells Fluellen that he is wearing a leek "for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman". 


The daffodil may not have the historical or literary connections like the leek does, but has become popular in recent times. The relationship between the daffodil and the leek is strong given the similarity of their names in Welsh, cenhinen (leek) and cenhinen Pedr (daffodil, or “Peter’s Leek”).


The last emblem of Wales is the red dragon, Y Ddraig Goch. It was thought to be the battle standard of ancient Celtic kings, including King Arthur and King Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, the son of King Cadwallon ap Cadfan.  One legend involves a prophecy from Merlin regarding a long fight between a red dragon and a white dragon.  The white dragon would first dominate over the red dragon, but ultimately the red dragon would win.  It is thought to represent the conflict between the Saxons (the white dragon) and the Welsh (the red dragon). The House of Tudor, who were of Welsh descent, adopted the standard and added  the green and white stripes.  Green and white are also the colors of the leek.




The Leek, the Daffodil, & the Red Dragon





Uniting people in the love of Christ

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