St. David’s Episcopal Church (1909) stands on the northwest corner of a busy intersection in the Richland Parish seat of Rayville. The church is located in a somewhat transitional area immediately south of downtown, and both institutional buildings and well-landscaped residences are its neighbors. The one-story brick structure with cast stone ornament combines elements of the Gothic Revival and Craftsman styles. Despite the construction of a large rear addition also in the Gothic Revival style, the church retains its National Register eligibility.
The following article, written by Innes Green ran in the Richland Beacon on the 100th anniversary of this church’s founding.
St. David’s Episcopal Church marks 100th anniversary By Innes Green Special to the Beacon-News
From its beginning until after World War II, St. David’s was served by clergy from Grace Church, Monroe. Father E.F. Hayward’s long tenure is remembered with thanksgiving. Members of St. David’s attested their gratitude in 1954 by their name for the meeting room in their new Parish House, Hayward Hall.
Another memory evoking grateful remembrance is the work of the women of St. David’s who faced the Goliath of a $900 paving note, threatening financial disaster in that time of deep Depression. These women determined to meet this obligation by hard work. For several years they raised money by holding rummage sales, presenting bazaars, selling homemade candies, cookies and cakes.
The ladies won that war, even though nickels, dimes and especially dollars were hard to come by during those hard times. With continued leadership from Father Hayward, the membership of St. David’s survived World War II, and soon after the war, the church worked toward the goal of getting a full-time priest.
The Rev. H. Newton Griffith became the first resident priest for St. David’s. The Rev Richard Wilson of New Orleans followed, making many new friends for the church. The Rev. H.R. Goodman, the next leader, brought an unusual sight to Rayville as this tall priest scurried around tow n on his motor scooter. In 1966, the Rev. William E. Baldridge, a native of Tennessee and a Curate at Grace Church. Monroe, accepted the invitation from St. David’s to become priest in charge. After a few years, Fr. Baldridge married Vail Delony Silver, bringing his bride and her two daughters to the Rectory. At intervals over the next few years, another daughter and then twin sons filled the home brimming full.
Indicative of stability and growth was the milestone of 1969. “A Parish Weil Chime in ’69!” That goal was achieved when the Mission of St. David’s fulfilled the requirements to become a Parish. The first rector, of course, was Father William E. Baldridge. Signs of growth and service through the years include various physical accomplishments: The building of the Parish House in 1954, the purchase of the Rectory in 1961 , enlargement of the Rectory in 1969, purchase of the Heinemann and Byrd properties in 1962 and 1989. and continued maintenance and improvement of all facilities. In this early part of the 21st Century, people face the certainty of change.
The 100-year history of St. David’s arouses a deep appreciation for those who cherished the best of the past, but also gave stability to the present, and encouraged faith for the future. The names of all such workers through the years are invisibly inscribed upon the cornerstone of the little building we cherish: St. David’s Episcopal Church of Rayville, Louisiana.By Innes Green, June 25, 2009