As the oldest black Methodist church in Lauderdale County, St. Paul United Methodist Church is continuing its legacy of service, a legacy that started 150 years ago.
“This was 1866, so this was just six years after the city of meridian was officially incorporated,” said Senior Pastor Eugene Boger.
Through the decades, St. Paul was instrumental in creating opportunities for African Americans.
“From the Freedman Aide Society which pretty much helped to establish the schools to educate African Americans, to the Union League, which was an entity that would help African Americans make the transition post-reconstruction. During the civil rights movement, this church was a huge figure,” said Boger.
Prominent church members included the first African American bishop of the United Methodist Church.
“A long term goal for St. Paul is to be a resource center for the history of black Methodism because of the history of St. Paul and its significance,” said Boger.
The church celebrated its 150th anniversary with a week of worship and remembrance. Boger said the church today strives to maintain its rich legacy by serving the current needs of the community.
“Our vision at St. Paul is to be a place where families can come so that the parents and the children will find a place here at St. Paul where the whole person can be ministered to.”