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April 27, 1900 - St. Paul Baptist Church was organized when a few people of the Primitive Baptist denomination made the decision to become affiliated with the Missionary Baptist. This group came together and worshiped in a house located on Crockett Street in Charlotte, North Carolina.
After the Civil War, Blacks in the South were confronted with the problem of adjustment in a society that barred them from many areas of religious and social life. No longer welcome in their former master’s congregation, it was necessary to create a separate world. In the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, one of these worlds was known as Brooklyn. During the same period, as the Black population increased so did the number of churches. Thus, by 1900 in the Brooklyn section alone, at least ten churches existed. In fact, it was April of 1900 when a small group organized Saint Paul Baptist Church.
Although Saint Paul Baptist Church has only a few documented records of its past, some facts were passed orally to help fill the gaps. A few members (number unknown) left Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church to organize a Missionary Baptist Church. The group met in a house on Crockett Street and formed Saint Paul Baptist Church. Some of the charter members were: Mrs. Addie Moser, Mrs. Nellie Mobley, Mrs. Patience Foster, Mrs. Octavia Watson and Mr. and Mrs. William Alexander. The members met in the house about thirty days and elected the first officers. The first Deacons were Mr. Daniel Thomas, Mr. Wash Orr, Mr. William Alexander, Mr. Alfred Johnson, Mr. William Everage, Mr. Frank Haily, Mr. Horace Lockett and
Mr. Ephraim Edmonds. The first Church Clerk and Choir Leader were Mrs. Octavia Watson and Mr. W. M. Scott, respectively.
1908 - A short distance from the Crockett Street house was an abandoned building on East First Street. It was said by Mrs. Addie “Ma” Moser, the last charter member, that the building had been a Methodist Hospital. Eventually, the members moved their worship service from the house to the hospital on East First Street. According to Mrs. Laura Kirkpatrick, the basement of the hospital was used for living quarters and one of the tenants was Reverend Witherspoon (elderly shut-in). He advised the group from his bedside.
Reverend Mayfield, a wise man, knew the need for social and spiritual programs for everyone. Therefore, auxiliaries and clubs were organized to embrace the entire church and community. Annual social events, such as Easter egg hunts, hayrides and picnics were a vital part of the Church’s program for the youth and young people. Normal programming included the Missionary Circles, Baptist Training Union, Ushers, Choirs and Bible classes, the Union Sewing, Helping Hands, Every Ready and Men’s Progressive Clubs. In 1938, Boy Scouts Troop No. 25 was organized with Mr. W. D. Honor, Mr. D. Freeman, Mr. P. Hinton and Mr. A.B. Banks as Scout Masters. Troop 25 is the oldest Black Troop in Charlotte and Mr. A. B. Banks was Director of the first camping experience for black Scouts at Camp Steere. Achievements in scouting for Mr. Banks included the Silver Beaver Award and he served as Scout Master until his death in 1981. The first Den Mothers for the Cub Scouts were Mrs. Sarah Robbins and Mrs. Glenn. A few years later, Mrs. Louise Goodman became Den Mother. Known for her love for boys, she was also the recipient of many awards which included the Silver Beaver Award. She served until her death in 1981.
Saint Paul was also the first Black church in the city to organize a Junior Usher Board. Mrs. Maggie Jones was their Advisor, and some of the first ushers were Mrs. Inez Stevenson, Mrs. Magdalene Culbreth, Miss Sadie Broomfield, Mr. Segers, Mrs. Ruby McCleaver, Mr. Otis Wright, Mr. James Huntley, Mrs. Irella Hyette, Mr. A. C. Carter and Ms. Pearline Wilson. During the same period, the Musical Department expanded. Mr. John Gray was Musical Director and his daughter Miss Zenobia Gray was the Assistant Musical Director. A Junior Choir was organized, and Mr. Robert Roach became Chorister for the Vocal (Gospel) choir. Saint Paul’s membership had grown from a mere thirty to over one thousand, and the Sunday school was honored for having the largest attendance in the City.
Reverend P.M. Mayfield retires
Reverend P.M. Mayfield retired in 1943, as one of the most respected ministers in the Charlotte community. He is remembered for undying concern for his members and his ability to hold an audience spellbound. Mrs. Mattie C. Barber remembers Reverend Mayfield’s Monday visits to the absent members in the congregation. “He used his money and his daughter’s tuition for college to help satisfy the needs of his members.” Reverend Zack Alexander, Jr., the first surviving Deacon and Church Clerk of the “Mayfield era”, remembers Reverend Mayfield as a speaker whose voice was trained like one who sings. “Reverend Mayfield often said a minister needs the same voice training as a singer because it is just as necessary to be clearly understood and hold your audience’s attention.” Reverend Mayfield served Saint Paul Baptist Church faithfully for twenty-eight years. The members paid tribute to his loyalty on April 23 1943, by making him Pastor Emeritus of the church and retiring him on full salary (thirty dollars per week) for the remainder of his life. This agreement was recorded at the courthouse, making it legal and binding.
After a careful search, Saint Paul elected James F. Wertz as minister in 1944. He brought to the church a new vision. A firm believer in Christian Education, Reverend Wertz implemented plans for Bible Studies and workshops to aid the total man. Church members were encouraged to attend more state, local and national conventions in order to help lay a foundation that would benefit the church and community. Because of the continuous growth in membership, the Board of Deacons and Trustees were increased and a part-time secretary was hired. In addition, Senior Choir II, Young Adults, two gospel choirs and a one hundred voice choir were organized. Mr. L. Augustus Paige became the Minister of Music and Reverend Barnette the Director.
1n 1947, Reverend Wertz’s vision led to the creation of the Homemakers Convention. It was a month-long function (October 31st to December 1st) that included the participation of other churches and schools in the City. Events such as an Oratorical Contest, a Womanless Wedding and Slabtown conventions were special features. Also featured were panel discussions by the young people of the church and mothers and daughters and fathers and sons night. Second Ward High School, West Charlotte High School and Johnson C. Smith University choirs provided music for some of the sessions. Sermons were delivered by Dr. Hardy Liston, President of Johnson C. Smith University and Dr. Claude Broach, Pastor of the Saint John’s Baptist Church. It was at this time that Saint Paul formed a lasting relationship with Saint John’s Baptist Church, becoming sister churches.
Groundbreaking at First and McDowell
Meanwhile, the present structure was no longer equipped to serve the needs of the overflowing congregation, so plans were begun for a larger building. The church purchased property at the corner of East First and South McDowell Streets. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Sunday August 28, 1949 at 4:30 pm. Assisting Reverend Wertz in the services were two of the oldest members of the church – Deacon George Wright and Mrs. Addie Moser. The invocation was delivered by Deacon L.J. Jones and music rendered by the One Hundred Voice Choir. The construction of the new church began in October 1949, and was completed in June 1950. On the first Sunday in July 1950, members marched to the new church, located at 515 South McDowell Street. The site chosen for the church was known as “crime corner”. When asked “why put a church here?” Reverend Wertz answered, “Because this is where a church is needed in the Brooklyn section”. Results were seen immediately. Now with a full-time staff of four, Saint Paul expanded its services to the entire community. The church began a radio ministry each Sunday morning in July 1951, on station WGIV at 11:00 am. About the same time, the church housed the first day nursery in the area funded by United Community Service. The Scouting continued to grow as the church embraced the boys in the community. Relationships were formed with Myers Park Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and the Little Church on the Lane. Bishop Herbert Spaugh and the Little Church on the Lane donated the first organ Saint Paul used.
Reverend Wertz announced his retirement. A replacement was found and he retired after twenty-seven years of service on June 28, 1970.
1951 - Remembered as the first year the the Sunday morning service of the church began being broadcast live over the radio station WGIV. St. Paul was one of the first churches in Charlotte to have a radio ministry.
Redevelopment Commission Organized
As Saint Paul continued to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the community, a group known as the “Redevelopment Commission” was organized. The Commission’s report included such statements as “once it could be said there was one in every town – the slums in the shadows of the seat of government. Charlotte’s is – was- Brooklyn, 238 acres of blight beyond repair next door to downtown and at the back doorstep of City Hall and the County Courthouse”. Little did Saint Paul realize this included their church; after all Saint Paul was not “blight beyond repair”? However, after many meetings in 1968-69 with Vernon L. Sawyer and the Redevelopment Committee, the congregation realized the requirements to remain in Brooklyn would be impossible to meet. Saint Paul was forced out of the Brooklyn section of Charlotte, its home since 1900. The congregation voted to sell the church to the City.
Another split leads to court summons
The decision to sell the church created new problems. The original plan was to build a church on Beatties Ford Road. In the meantime, Mr. Albert Franklin was driving past Allen Street Baptist Church and saw a “For Sale” sign and informed Reverend Wertz. This information was presented to the congregation for discussion. To build or to buy an existing church would become one of the most important decisions for the members. After several months of conflict, the congregation voted to buy Allen Street Baptist Church. The opposing members left Saint Paul and organized Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church. Saint Paul purchased Allen Street Baptist and moved on June 8, 1969. The opposing members summoned Saint Paul to court in order to gain half of the assets. The court granted Mayfield Memorial Baptist the property that Saint Paul Baptist owned on Beatties Ford Road and a portion of the money received from the sale of the old church. Despite the pain and conflict, Saint Paul’s interest was turned to serving the people in North Charlotte.
The new minister, Reverend Paul W. Drummond began his duties as minister of Saint Paul on Sunday in August 1970. Young and energetic, he came to a congregation struggling with irreparable damages from a split in membership. However, it was time to heal and move forward. Because of his concern for the spiritual growth of every man, the primary focus was given to teaching the meaning of stewardship. The congregation now realized the importance of giving their tithes, time and service in order to help others commit themselves to Christ. Committed to ministering to the “whole man”, Saint Paul increased the number of services already offered to the church community.
Church Staff Increased
With an every-growing membership, three new full-time positions were added to the administrative staff. Mr. James Lytle was hired as Youth Director; Reverend Zechariah Alexander as Christian Education Director and Mrs. Willette Robinson, the first Administrative Assistant. Six computers were purchased for the Learning Center for Word Processing Classes. In addition, Mrs. Sarah Johnson had a vision to feed the needy of the church and community. Mrs. Annabel Watson had a vision to aid the sick and shut-ins. Reverend Drummond was supportive of both programs and the church began to feed the needy persons three times a week. The Rose of Sharon organized to aid the sick and shut-ins. The Music Department experienced hardship after the split in membership. Left was only Mr. Roy Anderson as Director. Ms. Nancy Pinkney volunteered to play the organ for the choirs. Miss Virginia Massey was hired to reorganize the children. After a brief tenure, Mr. Anderson and Miss Massey resigned and Saint Paul hired Mrs. Lonnie Miller as Director. Under her direction, the music department experienced significant growth. Again the music was very diverse as other choirs organized. Mrs. Annie Rose Poole directed the Spiritual Choir and Mrs. Delois Miller directed the P.W. Drummond choir. Mr. Reginald Douglas was hired as organist. In 1977, Mrs. Miller resigned and Mr. Donald Chisholm was hired as Minister of Music. The Music Department continued to grow into what Saint Paul has at the present time. Indeed, Mrs. Jacqueline James and Mr. Elson Baldwin served faithfully as assistant and organist to Mr. Chisholm. Rev. Grace Ridgeway became the first ordained woman minister under the leadership of Rev. Drummond in 1980.
Reverend Drummond Retires
Dr. Drummond announced his retirement in 1997 stating, “I have taken you (Saint Paul) as far as I can”. However, he agreed to remain as the minister until a replacement could be found. Under his leadership, Saint Paul had become a church with nearly three thousand members and a budget over one million dollars.
Growth Necessitates Expansion
As Saint Paul continued to experience growth in membership, the church was expanded and renovated. Modern musical instruments were purchased and the Tape Ministry began. An early morning (7:45 am) service was added to relieve overcrowding at the 10:45 am Sunday morning service. As Saint Paul continued to make great strides in the areas of spiritual enrichment and community involvement, the Building Program was restored with the theme, “Building On The Past…For The Future”. A kick-off Stewardship Banquet was held at the Adams Mark Hotel on November 8, 1987. After several setbacks, the Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on May 23, 1993. Saint Paul’s goal was realized on the third Sunday in November 1996 when the congregation moved to its present sanctuary. The Family Life Center which was the “Gym” was under construction.
On Sunday, November 1, 1998 Dr. Gregory K. Moss, Sr. was called to pastor Saint Paul Baptist Church. A new pastor with a new vision, he came with a Mission: “To convince the unconvinced to be convinced and make disciples”. Spiritual growth for every disciple was the Pastor’s thrust. This was done through exercising and developing their God-given talents and gifts.
In the year 2000 St. Paul celebrated its Centennial Anniversary, many presentations were made and several special events were held. Ms. Louise Tolliver documented and presented the history to the church family. In 2006 Dr. Moss was elected president of The General Baptist State Convention. In 2007 the church celebrated the burning of the mortgage.
Under the leadership of Dr. Moss the church experienced becoming missional beyond the walls of the church, and taking a stand for social justice. In 2008 the church participated in the first “Souls to the Polls campaign” supporting the election of the first African-American President and the ability to vote on Sunday. In 2010 the church had a poverty simulation by sleeping in their own “Tent City” on New Year’s Eve. In 2011 the church had a “Party with a purpose” in which the entire church and community packaged meals to provide food for Haiti. In 2012 Dr. Moss was elected president of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, his election changed St. Paul as we became not only a nationally known congregation but a global church as well. Serving as President of both the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc. and The Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, Pastor Moss committed St. Paul Baptist Church to transforming and embracing not only its local neighborhood, but others abroad.
Pastor Moss’ passion for education was expressed in his ministry focus on education as well as missions and social justice. He was very supportive of the youth of the church. With the leadership of Rev. James Burney the Youth now hold a separate worship services twice a month in the youth sanctuary. In 2010 introduced SPICE (St. Paul Institute of Christian Education) and the purpose was to lead our Disciples as well as the surrounding community such as : Sunday School University, Word of Wednesday Bible study, Youth Bible Study, Admissions, VBS, SPICE Institute(s) teacher and leadership training and Discovery (of spiritual gifts). It Other ministries developed at St Paul with Pastor Moss’ direction include the Samson Ministry for men, the Chosen Vessels Ministry for women and the Discovery of Spiritual Gifts Ministry for all who fellowship in St. Paul. He has also developed Christian Education ministry that equipped the whole church empowering, expanding the mind, renewing the body and healing the spirit.
Under Dr. Moss’ leadership the membership continued to grow. More than 3,500 persons joined the church and gave their lives Christ in his pastoral tenure and almost half of them by baptism. Always concerned about the local church, a renovation program began that was undergirded by the Nehemiah plan which provided the initial financial support to begin the Main Sanctuary renovation which was completed in 2013. Many blessed opportunities were afforded St. Paul under the leadership of Pastor Moss.
Reverend Dr. Gregory K. Moss Retires
In the fall of 2015 Dr. Moss tendered his resignation after seventeen years of faithful and dynamic service to St. Paul, the Charlotte community, the nation and the world.
In accordance with the succession plan Rev. Dr. J. Donald Ballard was appointed as Interim Preacher pastor in January 2016 and served until September 18, 2016. During the interim Rev. Dr. Monica Redmond, as Executive Pastor served as the liaison between church staff and Board of Directors, handling the responsibilities of the church until a Pastor was been called.
We broke ground on our Affordable Housing project.
Reverend Dr. Robert C. Scott was called by St. Paul in August 2016. 97% of the church voted for Dr. Scott and he became the fifth elected Pastor of this church. He preached his first sermon on October 2, 2016. He was formally installed on April 30, 2017.
He graduated with honors from Jackson State University with a BA in Political Science/Pre-law. He received his MDiv from Duke University Divinity School and earned his DMin degree from United Theological Seminary, graduating with high distinction in 1997. His dissertation examined The Dialectical Method of Preaching as Pastoral Care in the African American Church.
The Reverend Dr. Robert C. Scott is an officer of the prestigious Hampton University Ministers Conference as Necrologist, He is on the Board of Trustees for United Theological Seminary in Tronton, OH and he was named the Outstanding Alumnus of the year this June. He is also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity where he served as the Centennial District Representative of the Eighth District and was named as the Centennial Omega Man of the Year in July 2010.
Reverend Scott was one of the key organizers of A Call to Oneness, which organized over 20,000 African American men to march against violence and crime in St. Louis. He is a General Board member of American Baptist Churches, USA where he sits on the Finance Committee. He is on the Board of Trustees for United Theological Seminary (Trotwood, OH), where he was honored as one of the recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Before coming to St. Paul Baptist, he served congregations in St. Louis, MO, Lexington, and Durham, NC. He is married to Pier Charisse Scott and they are the parents of Charis Jordyn Scott. From October 2, 2016 to October 29, 2017, the following changes were implemented under his leadership:
It is his desire to be a vessel of God and declare to a broken humanity that God the potter wants to put us back together again.
To God Be the Glory!
For in Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.