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St. Paul Methodist celebrates 153 years

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St. Paul Methodist celebrates 153 years

February 15, 2019 - 10:01
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In a small, white frame church just off Texas 71 in the area of Columbus that was founded as a settlement for freed slaves, the men and women of St. Paul Methodist Church gathered on Sunday to recall and celebrate their 153 year history.

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    Antrey Waddle sings a spiritual during St. Paul Methodist's 153rd anniversary celebration in Columbus last Sunday.
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    The members of St. Paul Methodist Church present for Sunday’s anniversary celebration are shown. The members shown include Gene Alley, JoAnn Johnson, Barbara Twitty, Dorothy Fitzgerald, Debra Cummings, Eula Purnell, Willie Glenn, Jr., Rev. Charles Purnell, Jr., Don Jenkins, Thomas Whitehead, Rev. James Bryant, Howard Evans, Jr., Lula Bryant, Antrey Waddle, and Dennis Faniel.

Citizen | Vince Leibowitz

COLUMBUS--In a small, white frame church just off Texas 71 in the area of Columbus that was founded as a settlement for freed slaves, the men and women of St. Paul Methodist Church gathered on Sunday to recall and celebrate their 153 year history. Founded by freedmen in the first full year of emancipation, 1866, the church is the oldest black church in Colorado County.

“In 1866, when we had nothing, a group of people came together and formed a church,” said Debra Cummings, a longtime member of the church, during ceremonies Sunday.

“The elders are all gone, but some Sundays, I still look out and see them,” Cummings said, recalling the men and women who have kept the congregation going for more than a century and a half.

“As long as we can stay together with one another, in love and life, this church will stay together,” said Tommy Whitehead, another longtime members.

The program included selections from a guest choir from Wesley Chapel Methodist in Altair, and from Sanford Chapel United Methodist in San Antonio, and a solo by church member Antre Waddle.

Howard Evans, Jr., recited a poem he wrote about the church.

The guest speaker was former St. Paul pastor Rev. Charles Purnell Jr., now with Sanford Chapel in San Antonio.

St. Paul is under the pastorate of Rev. James L. Bryant, who also spoke during Sunday’s ceremonies.  

More information on the church’s history will appear the last week of February, in our Black History Month special coverage.