Church highlights its 145-year-old history

Church highlights its 145-year-old history
May 26
06:15 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



When you are the second oldest African-American church in the history of Winston-Salem, your archives hold a lot of history.

Founded in 1871, St. Paul United Methodist Church has had historic members such as legendary Winston Salem State University head basketball coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and impacts the community from the weekly food pantry to meals on wheels to name a few ways.

A two-day celebration was held to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the church.  St. Paul was founded as St. Paul Methodist Church and was renamed St. Paul United Methodist Church in 1969, one year after its merger with Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church and the denominational merger with the evangelical United Brethren Church.

“My goal as anniversary chair was to take our overall vision and mission of the church and to incorporate it into this ministry, and it was an honor to do so,” said anniversary chairwoman Sheila Robinson.

Last Saturday’s events included a historical photography and artifacts display of material from 1871 through 2016 followed by a panel discussion with church elders. Members were able to ask the panelists questions about the history of the church that younger members were not aware of.

The display showed vintage photos of pastors of the church and newspaper articles of the church.  The display also showed the location of the church at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets before moving to its current location on Dellabrook Road. Lead Pastor Donald Jenkins also explained how African-Americans were in a segregated part of the Methodist Church until 1968.

Jenkins has been pastor of St. Paul for over 20 years and said they are a changing church and has changed a lot over the past 20 years and it has been for the better. He said he is most proud of the community work the church is involved with and how it’s increased since he first arrived in 1993.

“I remember the encouragement I received from the older mothers in the church was important to me,” said panelist Marian Winbush.  “We have established a vision and are seeking to follow that vision at all times through our ministries and community outreach.  We are moving with following that vision, which is making disciples of Jesus Christ, starting with the children.”

Fellow panelist Mildred Thomas said she is most proud of the numbers of young people in the church and is excited about the future and forward direction of the church.

During Sunday’s worship service, most everyone showed a sign of unity by wearing a Carolina blue colored shirt that read “United for God’s Glory, Committed to God’s Word, Empowered by God’s Spirit and Involved in God’s Work.”

A special dance selection by church dance ministry Radical Reverence, upbeat choir singing, and a sermon by Jenkins highlighted the service.  Jenkins touched on the history of the church and how the church is a congregation that transforms lives. He also spoke on the purpose everyone has in their lives and how they should enjoy the journey to the goal.

Following the service, the church held a ministry fair for members as well as a cookout style meal for them to enjoy.

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