St. Hubert’s Episcopal Church
“A picturesque stone church of simple design stands in the heart of the rolling hunt country in Clark County. It is named St. Hubert in honor of the patron saint of hunters
Bishop William R. Moody did the original drawings for the church, which was designed after a typical English country church. The last church to be built while he was diocesan, it was financed entirely by gifts from interested persons rather than by diocesan funds. Mrs. Caddis Morris of Clark County gave the five acres of land on the Grimes Mill Road, and all of the furnishings in the church were gifts.
The church, which serves a tri-county area and is a community venture as well as an Episcopal church, was completed in 1969. The first service was held on Easter Sunday, with the formal dedication on November 3, the Sunday nearest to St. Hubert’s official feast day.
St. Hubert’s measures twenty-five by fifty feet and seats 135 people. It is built of native Kentucky limestone, and all of the wood used in the church was grown in Kentucky. John Jacob Niles, musician and balladeer, carved the massive oak doors, chiseling the Eighty-fourth Psalm, with ivy and tobacco leaves as a border.
The needlepoint kneelers at the altar rail all relate to the hunt. The Christus Rex above the altar, carved in Italy, is a memorial to John K. Barnes, first rector of St. Hubert’s and the last priest ordained by Bishop Moody prior to his retirement.
The freestanding bell tower beside the church is of the same stone as the church. Hanging in the belfry is “Bell Clarence,” a gift from parishioner Clarence Lebus. The antique bell, cast in 1862, was rescued from melt-down during World War II by being buried in a corn field. Its mellow tones have rolled over the countryside every Sunday morning for the past twenty-five years.
For fifteen years St. Hubert’s was not formally affiliated with the national Church or the Diocese of Lexington. Bishop Moody called it a “peculiar” church, like Westminster Abbey, because it did not belong to any Church body or financially support any Church body. At the diocesan convention in 1983 St. Hubert’s was admitted into the diocese as a parish and remains so today.
From its beginnings as a country church St. Hubert’s has been involved in the rural community. The “Calamity Jane Fund,” an early project of the Woman’s Auxiliary, raised funds for country neighbors in distress and has assisted rural elementary schools. St. Hubert’s Fair and Horse Show, which began in 1971 and has been held every year since, has become a big money raising event for St. Hubert’s and neighboring churches. After the Rev. John K. Barnes’ tragic death in 1973, the horse show was named in his honor and a championship trophy presented in his name.
There is a beautiful cemetery behind the church building, dominated by a large statue of Jesus, the gift of William Mussett, a parishioner. This lovely cemetery is the final resting place of the third Bishop of Lexington and Mrs. Moody and of the church’s first rector, the Rev. John K. Barnes, and his two children.
“Order and beauty in worship create an atmosphere congenial to prayer, make easier the realization of the Presence of Almighty God,” wrote Bishop Moody a quarter of a century ago. The “beauty of holiness” remains intact today at St. Hubert’s Church through the continued use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal.
The Rev. John Madden has been rector since 1985, and St. Hubert’s has increased steadily in numbers and influence throughout the community and in the Diocese of Lexington.”
Reprinted with permission from Ripe to the Harvest
By Frances Keller Barr 1995
Since the history of St. Hubert’s Church was published in Mrs. Barr’s history of The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Ripe to the Harvest, in 1995. there are a couple items that need to be mentioned to bring our history up to date;
1. The Fair & Horse Show has since been discontinued.
2. The Rev. John L. Madden retired in 2007.
Since Fr. Madden’s retirement, St. Hubert’s has been served by several supply priests including: The Rev. Johnny Ross, The Rev. Andrew Mepham, The Rev. Stephen Teague, The Rev. John Cavendish, and The Rev. Terry Taylor. The Rev. Charles D. Ellestad served as Priest Pro tempore from 2008 -2012. The Venerable Bryant Kibler served as Priest in charge 2010-2012. The Rev. Dr. Duane Smith became Rector in 2013 with Fr. Ellestad serving as Priest Associate.
The Rev. John K. Barnes 1969-1973
The Rev. John Cavendish 1973-1974
The Rev. Rod Planck 1974-1975
Ted R. Stunkard, seminarian-in-charge 1975-1977
The Rev. James K. Harris 1977-1987
The Rev. John L. Madden 1987-2007
The Rev. Charles D. Ellestad, Priest Pro tempore 2008-2012
The Venerable Bryant Kibler, Priest in charge 2010-2012
The Rev. Dr. Duane Smith, Vicar 2013-
The Rev. Charles D. Ellestad, Priest Associate 2013-