In the News
Archdeacon Deborah Kraft
Get in touch
Have a Story to Share?
If you have a story you wish
to share, or have a great idea for St. Paul's please let us know!
Things to do in Thunder Bay!
St. Paul's Anglican Church is ranked #23 out of #71 "Things to do in Thunder Bay" on TripAdvisor!
Donated Aid On The Move
January 21, 2022
Some more help is on its way to Bearskin Lake First Nation, a remote Northwestern Ontario community that's struggled to cope with COVID-19 since it began spreading rapidly at the end of December. The Anglican Church of Canada has now purchased $10,000 worth of food for delivery to Bearskin Lake on the ice road network. The food will be distributed to residents free of charge.
Great Place of Worship!
"Very family oriented and non judgemental. Very accepting of new people. Lots of variety that appeals to all ages. Traditional services sunday morning with organ and choir. Contemporary 5pm service with great music, short sermon on saturday."
Beautiful and Welcoming!
"St. Paul's is not only beautiful, but a welcoming place to worship. It's garden with a labyrinth is a serene place to meditate or just to sit and enjoy the space. Its interior is traditional, with beautiful stain glass windows. It is a joy to visit, it is a joy to worship there."
Get Your Pet Blessed
September 30, 2020
St. Paul’s Anglican Church is inviting the community to have their pets
In celebration of Feast Day for Saint Francis of Assisi, the event will
take place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Sunday between 2-3 p.m.
with people welcome to have their pets blessed by driving by and
remaining in their vehicles or by walking by.
“We know how important pets are . . . and I have been at this church 15
years and we have always done a service in the church and we wanted to
carry it on this year,” said Archdeacon Deborah Kraft.
Blessing Box Vandalized
August 09, 2020
Parishioners at St. Paul’s Anglican Church were saddened this morning. The blessing box which was located outside of the church and filled with about $40 worth of supplies including food was vandalized.
The box, part of a growing number of these boxes located around Thunder Bay and into the region, has become part of the support network for families and people in need.
The vandals have apparently been caught on surveillance cameras, and hopefully, there will be a satisfactory solution found to this matter.
Drive By Blessings
April 05, 2020
It’s the most sacred week in the Christian calendar, and while physical distancing measures to combat COVID-19 have ruled out normal church services, one Thunder Bay church is finding creative ways to keep the spirit of Holy Week alive.
Deborah Kraft, an archdeacon and rector at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, spent much of the morning and afternoon on Palm Sunday providing “drive-by blessings” to churchgoers in the city’s south end. A lay pastor distributed palm crosses through car windows from a safe distance, using a jerry-rigged fishing rod.
Kraft said for many, being able to maintain a connection with their faith and church community is more important than ever. She felt an obligation to offer something to her community
November 26, 2019
Dr. Deborah Kraft, Archdeacon of St. Paul's Anglican Church, said she was touched by what Burton and the Giant Hearts group had done. "and I thought it was really important for us as a church, as a faith community, to reach out to those in need. If we can help a little bit that will be wonderful."
She said that they asked Burton to install the box, and with a large Indigenous congregation, they also asked for the writing on the front, take what you need, leave what you can, to be in Ojibwee as well as English.
Wake The Giant!
May 30, 2019
With the placing of ‘Wake the Giant’ decals in our east and west stairway windows, St. Paul’s has been officially designated a ‘safe space’ for Indigenous youth. Archdeacon Deborah and ‘Wake the Giant’ organizer Sean Spenrath pose with our new window decal yesterday [May 30, 2019].
Thunder Bay Group is giving new life to old bags
January 03, 2019
Since 2015, John and Christine Wreszczak have been collecting plastic shopping bags and turning them into plastic mats. Listen to John's interview with CBC news about their plastic mats and group of faithful "plarners" (plastic + yarn = plarn)
KAIROS Blanket Exercise Touches the Heart of 800 Youth
August 31, 2018
The majority of the 800 youth participants in the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) 2018 gathering mass Kairos Blanket Exercise watch from the sidelines as the remaining participants stand on their folded blankets on Aug. 16 at the Lakehead University Hangar building in Thunder Bay.
November 03, 2018
Archdeacon Kraft shares her life stories and how it helps
shape the life of St. Pauls
October 25, 2016
Tolling church bells, long a sign of mourning, is meant to remind people of the bombing of homes and hospitals and the suffering of innocent civilians in Aleppo, says Archdeacon Deborah Kraft, rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church. Photo: Robert Servais
December 11, 2015
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
THUNDER BAY — A viral video has inspired a local church to open its bell tower and give the public a chance to try their hand at playing its bells.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church Archdeacon Deborah Kraft saw an opportunity after a video of a Sydney, Nova Scotia woman using a church’s carillon as a workout routine spread across the internet.
St. Paul’s might be the only church between Winnipeg and Toronto to feature 7,200 pounds worth of bells in its tower and tied to giant keys, usually played by volunteer ringers for special occasions and Sunday service.
When people hear church bells in the air, Kraft said most of the time it’s a recording. Since 1910 when the bells were shipped to her church from New York via rail, St. Paul’s has been giving people the chance to hear the real thing.
On Saturday an open house will go even further, letting people try the instrument for themselves.
“We think it’s just a very nice thing we can do for the neighbourhood,” Kraft said.
Music teacher Stacey Cham-Klein said you don’t need a lot of musical experience to play the bells but being in shape helps.
“It is like a piano except you’re playing keys the size of baseball bats and the weight of a good door,” she said.
Kraft said playing the bells is a great workout too.
“It takes strength and agility,” she said.
The open house is from 5:45 p.m. To 8 p.m.
Church ‘goes to the dogs’
October 14, 2014
Nearly 50 animals brought their owners into St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Oct 4 for the annual Blessing of the Animals service that takes place on St. Francis’ day.
The animals included dogs, cats, rabbits and two bearded dragon lizards. The freewill offering of nearly $300 was given to Northern Lights Dog Rescue. Here’s a comment from Tammy Williams, volunteer co-ordinator with the City of Thunder Bay:
“Please thank your team for putting on such a wonderful event.”
” Like I said, I have wanted to bring some shelter dogs to this event for the past couple of years but have always forgotten to keep track of when it is. It is so great for our dogs to have things like this to attend because it really helps with socialization and their general well-being. Plus we always hope they will catch the eye of a potential adopter and find their forever home.
“So this evening was a blessing for these dogs in more ways than one. “Can’t wait to come back next year with a new batch of dogs. Can’t thank you enough.”
Night of Healing
June 14, 2014
The Chronicle Journal
Participants make a path of tulip pedals during a night of healing as part of Thunder Pride 2014 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. It was followed by a smudge ceremony at the church’s labyrinth. The event in Thunder Bay on Thursday let people remember loved ones who have died of AIDS, suicide, gay bashing and those who have faced discrimination. Thunder Pride events have been taking place daily with the Pride Parade set for noon today from Waverley Park to Prince Arthur’s Landing, followed by the Pride in the Park music festival.
March 21, 2014
The Chronicle Journal
From left, Donnie Harris, Ophelia Kamenawatamin, Barb Kutcher, Eve Gillingham, Lynda Farqharson and Deborah Kraft enjoy the warmth of Turkey during their March 3-15 pilgrimage to Turkey and Israel. (The group is pictured by the flowing waters at the excavated site of Hierapolis- a Roman spa city known for its thermal hot springs.) The group of 26 people, mainly from St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Thunder Bay, were led by Jouni and Deborah Kraft from St. Paul’s. Highlights of the trip included a visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, climbing a wooden horse in ancient Troy, walking the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, and touching the traditional birthplace of Jesus in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Submitted by Deborah Kraft Photo by Jouni Kraft
Lollapalooza of Jamborees Hosted Here
December 09, 2013
By Brent Linton, The Chronicle Journal
St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Thunder Bay held a first-of-its-kind First Nation Christmas Service on Sunday. The service was presided over by three bishops- Bishop Stephen Andrews of Algoma, Bishop Lydia Mamakew of Keewatin and Bishop Mark MacDonald, Aboriginal Bishop of Canada. “This is really a model for us for urban indigenous gatherings, and we hope this movement spreads from here throughout Canada,” said MacDonald. “We have had a jamboree that has been meeting on a regular basis, but usually in Winnipeg. But things started happening here, so it was Bishop Lydia’s decision that we come here, and have it happen here, and this has been the Lollapalooza of Jamborees here,” MacDonald added. The First Nation Gospel Jamboree featured three evenings of events at the Lakehead Labour Centre along with a feast.
Busy Day at Church
October 07, 2013
By Brent Linton, The Chronicle Journal
Archdeacon Deborah Kraft joined parishioners of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Thunder Bay and their pets for Sunday’s Blessing of the Animals service. The service was held in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals feast day. Along with the blessing, pet groomers, rescue shelters and pet stores held an exhibit in the church basement. The inaugural Canadian Cancer Society’s Bark for Life: Come Tell Cancer it Barked up the Wrong Tree walk was also held. The two-hour fundraising walk for dogs and their owners as held to celebrate the lives of those living with cancer to remember loved ones lost to cancer, and to fight back against the disease.
December 20, 2011
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Shoppers look on as a flash mob performs Tuesday. A random act of caroling was looking to put shoppers in the holiday spirit Tuesday. Around 50 parishioners of St. Paul’s Anglican Church started a flash mob in the food court at Intercity Shopping Centre, singing ‘Joy to the World’ for surprised shoppers who probably weren’t expecting a holiday serenade with dinner. “We have a sign outside of our church that says there is joy here and the joy that’s in our hearts we wanted to share with everyone,” St. Paul’s Archdeacon Deborah Kraft said after the performance. “If it can bring some people joy then we feel really happy about that.”
The flash mob began with three women holding bells singing the carol before parishioners of all ages joined in throughout the food court. Kraft said it’s the first time the church tried a flash mob and that it came together in a few weeks. “We thought it would be a little more interesting (than traditional caroling). We thought it would be a little more engaging and spontaneous,” she said. Kraft said she’d never heard of a flash mob before rehearsing began. But now the church plans to put a video of the performance online. The church wants to remind people that there is joy in the world in good times and bad she added. “It only becomes joy when we give it away.”
Blessed Are The Animals
October 07, 2009
By Brent Linton The Chronicle Journal
Right Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews, Bishop of Algoma, visits Tuesday with a donkey named Maude and Meryk Scriver before the blessing of the animals at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Thunder Bay. The blessing service is held annually in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Along with the donkey, a sheep, dogs and cats were to be blessed.
Labyrinth Inspires Meditation
July 03, 2008
By Peter Burkowski The Chronicle Journal
The labyrinth on the grounds of Thunder Bay’s St. Paul’s Anglican Church is not for puzzling, but prayer. The 11-circuit pathway is a replica of an inlaid prayer labyrinth on the floor of Chartes Cathedral in France. Visitors to a prayer labyrinth walk its winding path in quiet contemplation before eventually reaching the centre. Unlike a traditional maze, prayer labyrinths are not puzzles. “There’s a huge difference between a maze and a labyrinth,” said Rev. Deborah Kraft. “A maze has twists and turns and dead ends . . . (with a labyrinth) there’s only one way into the centre and you can’t get lost.” The construction of the labyrinth is part of the church’s centennial celebration, but the concept of the meditative paths has been around for hundreds of years. Other events to celebrate St. Paul’s anniversary have included a dinner gala, construction of a new chapel, assembly of books on the church’s history and a 49-person trip to Israel. The church has also increased its missionary works, seeking to foster goodwill in the community at large. “Christian churches for a long time thought that they were keepers of the aquarium instead of fishers of people,” said Kraft. She notes that the labyrinth is is accessible from the edge of the church grounds on the corner of Ridgeway and Archibald streets, and that it is open to the public. She encourages any and all to try walking the stone-lined path. “It’s not until you actually walk (a labyrinth) that you realize why this has been a profound spiritual tradition over thousands of years,” said Kraft.
Big Day For Clock Keepers
October 28, 2006
By Sarah Elizabeth Brown The Chronicle Journal
Kevan Holroyd checks the mechanism in the clock tower of St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Holroyd who looks after the clock with help from his father Gordon Holroyd will be turning the clock back to standard time this weekend. (Brent Linton) When Kevan Holroyd changes his clock back an hour tomorrow, he’ll walk up a flight of stairs and clamber up five steep, wooden ladders. A chartered accountant by day, Holroyd is also the clock keeper at his church, St. Paul’s Anglican.
Though the church was built in 1908 with a tower designed to hold a four-faced clock, the clock wasn’t installed until 1959. It arrived by freighter from now-defunct Gents of Leicester, England, with a $5,000 price tag, a huge amount of money for the time, said Rev. Deborah Kraft. The clock was installed to honour the six founding members of St. Paul’s. “I really feel like it’s our Big Ben,” said Kraft. Appropriate then, since the previous clock keeper got the volunteer job because of his English training. He’s also Kevan’s dad. An electrician trained in his birth country of England, Gordon Holroyd is familiar with Gents’ products. In England, electricians school is a six-year trip through every trade, including electro-mechanical devices like St. Paul’s clock.A quarter-century ago when the previous clock keeper moved away, the then-rector asked Gordon to take over. Besides being the outgoing clock keeper, Gordon is one of three assistant priests at St. Paul’s. In the 1990s, he took a parish in Ignace, and for some of that time, the clock stopped. Time started again when Gordon returned to maintain the clock.
Kevan began learning the clock’s inner workings several years ago when a fellow parishioner asked him to contact Gordon about fixing the clock. “(Gordon) said, ‘Why don’t you come and learn how to do it,’” said Kevan. “I said, ‘OK.’ It was that simple.” About a year ago, he took over completely, though he still goes to his father if he’s stumped. Kevan was barely into his teens when Gordon took over the clock’s maintenance. “I remember daylight saving’s time in the spring and the fall, him having to go do that.” Kevan didn’t climb to the clock tower as a boy, nor will he take his own sons until they’re old enough to clamber up the steep ladders. That doesn’t mean the boys, ages five and seven, aren’t curious. “He’s got to know how everything works,” he said of his eldest son. “They’re bugging me constantly to take them up there.”
Father and son have long fiddled with machinery together. By the time he was 16, said Kevan, they’d stripped down and rebuilt four or five cars. Caring for the clock is a symphony of small adjustments. Its mechanical guts are made of everything from brass to aluminum to steel, and they expand, contract and wear at different rates. Cold weather usually means more work, and voltages must be adjusted for summer and winter. Energy-efficient light bulbs that make the tower a glowing beacon create just enough warmth to keep lubricant on the gears working properly, said Gordon, who makes his living supervising maintenance and housekeeping at Grandview Lodge. Those lights had been out for nearly a decade before being turned back on last fall. The electro-mechanical, pendulum-driven clock is controlled by electrical impulses — a tiny description of an intricate process. The whole mess is hooked to an 18-volt DC battery, kept charged by being plugged into an electric socket. It all starts with the main controller in the vestry. Both the bells and the pendulum mechanism, located in the tower top, are connected to that controller, and to each other, through solenoids, or electromagnets. In the tower, the only sound is the clicking of the pendulum. Until the top of the hour. “When it’s time for the bells to ring if you’re only one flight above them, then you have to put your fingers in your ears,” Gordon said. “It’ll sure rock you. “Oh they are loud, yes,” he said. “One feels like Quasimodo sometimes.”
These clocks and their parts aren’t made anymore. Several years ago when one section needed repairs, the two Holroyds took one face apart from inside the tower and had Port Arthur Shipbuilding make new parts by hand. “When it needs service, it’ll let you know in no uncertain terms that it wants some general maintenance,” Gordon said. “It will all start to go wrong. All the times will get out and the bells will not be the same time as the tower. And the tower won’t be the same time as the vestry clock. So you know that it needs some TLC.” When the time gets funny, it’s common to climb the ladders four or five times during repairs, said Gordon. “In another few years, I’m not going to be able to make that climb,” said the 60-year-old Gordon, explaining why he passed his skills onto his son. Gordon’s arthritis makes the stairs and ladders a difficult route. “They seem to take on a whole life of their own,” said Gordon about the intricate mechanisms. “The bells, many times, for no reason when it’s eight o’clock, chime seven times. And yet, when you go there . . . it’ll ring right every time. “It seems to know when the clock doctor’s away, the mice can play.” The clock faces are just as sneaky. When he’s there or driving by daily, they’re fine. But don’t drive by for a day “and guaranteed, 15 minutes out,” chuckled Gordon. “So we think we have a clock fairy somewhere.”