The first services of St. Georges Episcopal Church were conducted in the Leavitt Block in July 1901 by the Rev. Hubert Pulsifer who reported to the 1902 Diocene convention that “a great many English people are employed in the mills there (Sanford) and a large number of the church families have been found.” One of the mill owners, Tomas Goodall, donated land to the church and money was raised to begin construction of the parish hall. Back in those days, the location was the edge of Sanford. Today we are considered to be in the center of town.
St. Elizabeth’s Hall was opened at a special service on June 14, 1903. Work began on the church building in 1904. The church was consecrated on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 24, 1906 by Bishop Robert Codman. Fire caused severe damage to the church and parish hall on February 1, 1908. With repairs completed, services resumed on May 3, 1908, and the parish hall was back in use by the summer of 1909.
The church underwent vigorous growth from 1928 to 1945 despite the great depression, which caused serious problems for the town’s mills. During those years, St. Georges had an active adult choir and 35 children were involved in a youth choir. Fr. E. Robert Newton began a long tenure at St. Georges in October, 1952. He served as vicar for 14 years and retired in November, 1966. It proved to be a difficult period for the church because the mills closed in the early 1950’s and 3,000 people lost their jobs.
Subsequent to the retirement of Fr. Newton, there were four different priests and two interns who served us well from 1966 through 1985. During the 1970’s, the economies of Sanford and Biddeford were jolted by the textile industry’s further problems and it became necessary to “yoke” the congregation of St. Georges with that of Christ Church in Biddeford, an arrangement that lasted until 1981.
After a long interim, the Rev. Linton H. Studdiford was called as vicar of St. Georges Mission in August of 1985. The church thrived under his leadership and, after 81 years as a mission, was accepted as a parish by the 168th Diocesan Convention in Portland on May 16, 1987. Fr. William Schuyler was called in March of 1993.
Lay participation in the work of the church is strong. The church continues to grow with many young families moving into the parish.
In January of 2007, Fr. Scuyler retired. The Rev. George Lambert came on as our interim rector in late March of 2007, followed by the Rev. Janice Matter, Deacon, our first Deacon assigned to our parish. On May 1, 2008, the Rev. Susan Murphy was called to be Rector of St. George’s Parish with The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, Bishop of Maine, installing the Rev. Susan Murphy as Rector on June 8, 2008.