Evolving out of a passion to worship God as they saw fit, African Americans, while still in enslaved would steal away in solitude and congregate for worship services. From these small gatherings, evolved more structured services and when the General Conferences in 1866 and 1870 of the Methodist Episcopal Church South were held, plans were completed for the organization of these groups into an independent church known as “Colored Methodist Episcopal Church”.
Out of the establishment of the “Colored Methodist Episcopal Church”, Saint Paul Christian Methodist Church was independently established in October 1871 and pastored by the Rev. Lucius H. Holsey, who later became one of the leading bishops of the C.M.E. Church.
Between 1872 and 1964, Saint Paul had one of its greatest transformations. Initially it was known as Andrew Chapel and then Saint Phillip’s Methodist Episcopal Church and finally to Saint Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The church also changed location during this renaissance period in its history. It moved from Maple Street to Maple and West Broad (now MLK Boulevard) streets and to its present location, 1601 Barnard Street.
Since 1871, 44 dedicated servants of God have served as pastor, including our current pastor, Rev. Da’Henri R. Thurmond, Sr., whose vision is that Saint Paul is a body of believers (a family) that is wholly centered on worshipping God, faithfully committed to following Jesus Christ and works without ceasing to transform the community for God.
God has been faithful to Saint Paul Christian Methodist Church. For 144 years, God has kept His people as only God can do. From 1871 to 2016, from 15 members to thousands, from the late Bishop Lucius H. Holsey to current Presiding Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, from Maple Street to 1601 Barnard Street, from Andrew Chapel to “The Paul”. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!!