St. Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church family will celebrate 117 years of service to the community at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 20. The entire day will be dedicated to a generation of worshipping together. It will truly be “a family affair.”

The church sustained massive destruction during the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008. In 2009, the church received an “Extreme Makeover.” On Oct. 3, 2010, God allowed St. Paul to prevail. Services were held to re-lay the cornerstone that was destroyed during Hurricane Rita in 2005. The stained glass windows were dedicated to honor the memory of members past and present that same day. St. Paul Keeps a chronological record of significant events to explain the past.

Coming from humble beginnings; from slavery to freedom; from colored to Christian; St. Paul C.M.E. has been located in the heart of the community at 1201 N. 4th Street for 117 years. St. Paul may not be the oldest African-American church in the community, but their history spans over decades. The St. Paul C.M.E. church has family units in their congregation that proudly spans four and five generations. Just like a tree with deep roots grows new branches and leaves, a church family with deep history breeds new life.

Sunday morning at 11a.m., the church will allow those generations to usher in our 117th anniversary in the worship services. Mr. Samuel Foster, the oldest male member, will be the worship leader for the morning services. The mother of the church, Mrs. Lucille Brandon, at the young age of 96, will lead them to the throne of grace in prayer.

Church secretary, Mrs. Maxine Smith, and her family of four generations will welcome members and guests to the morning service. Christine White and her family will represent the legacy of Johnnie Breed Archie and six generations that have worshipped at the church. 

Morning services will have descendants from the late Irene Edwards, Maceo King, Hattie Moses and Idella Williams, all of whom where 50 year members of the church. The fourth and fifth generations of their families continue to worship at St. Paul.

On Sunday afternoon, when Tara Moore stands to give remarks, she will reflect and be reminded that where she stands, her grandmother (who passed away at 96) once stood. Tara smiles when she talks about bringing her grandson, Landon, to church with her on Sundays, continuing a worship tradition that spans five generations.

Special guests will be the Rev. Dr. John H. Smith Jr. and members of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. The Orange City Wide Choir will provide musical selections.

Yolanda Avery and her son Booker Daniels III will Minister in Worship Arts. The public is invited to come and share in this auspicious celebration.

The Rev. Lionel G. Hayes Jr., pastor of St. Paul C.M.E., expresses his thanks to the pioneers and those who continue to labor and sacrifice to make St. Paul what it is today.
The theme “A Family Affair: Together We Can Rebuild, Revive and Renew” is reflective of many generations represented in his congregation.