Good Samaritan’s roots can be traced back to 1870 when the little village of Paoli comprised of a railroad station, one general store, a few scattered cottages and a comfortable stone tavern known as the Franklin House. Near the inn on the other side of Lancaster Turnpike was the popular Paoli Inn, which was patronized by many prominent Philadelphia families. “Where two or three are gathered together, there I am in the midst of them.” The east parlor of the inn became a gathering place and the Rev. Henry Palethorpe Hay, Rector of The Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, began conducting services and Mrs. Eliza P. Davis directed the Sunday School. In 1876 a generous parishioner donated half an acre of ground on the south side of Lancaster Turnpike on which to build a chapel. It was to be a copy of a village church in southern England and was called The Church of the Good Samaritan. These were the tender roots from which our parish started.
Moving into the 20th century, a larger parish hall became a major need and $20,000 was raised for this purpose. Ground was broken in 1950 and completed and dedicated to Rev. Horace Andrews Walton in 1951.
By 1956 the expanded church was already groaning with a need for greater space; substantial funds were raised through a concentrated parish campaign, and on March 17, 1957, ground was broken for the new church placed squarely in the middle of the 16-acre tract. The new church was dedicated on Easter Day 1958 by the Right Reverend Oliver J. Hart, D.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Pennsylvania.
The church today stands on approximately 15 acres, in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, on U.S. Route 30 (now known as Lancaster Avenue) still in the village of Paoli. In 2003 “Keep the Light Burning Bright” capital campaign was launched. With pledges totaling 9.3 million dollars, construction of the Ministry Center and renovation of the Sanctuary began on November 21, 2004 and was completed in December 2007.
Increased seating, new AV equipment, ADA requirements, expanded altar, and intercessory prayer corner were all part of the design for the sanctuary; a connector between the Education Building and the Sanctuary became a light-filled atrium, perfect for a gathering, welcoming center.
As part of the capital campaign, the first ten percent of the money raised was given to provide funding for construction projects in approximately twenty needy parishes, dioceses, and programs throughout the world. This amount of $859,000.00 made a significant impact in the lives of others who proclaim the Good News in India, Jerusalem, Uganda, and West Philadelphia, and elsewhere.