This 21st century St. Paul Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Inc. is a result of a merger with the Spring Green Church of Christ, DOC. The Records state that the Spring Green Church of Christ was a small congregation with the inability to find a permanent location. The demise of their pastor Reverend J.J. Gregory, left the congregation without spiritual leadership and a permanent place of worship.
During the same period, the St. Paul Church of Christ, was under the leadership of Reverend Jefferson. The Reverend Jefferson served diligently but, did not fully agree with the Holy Ordinance of the Disciples of Christ. This created a problem for the St. Paul Church of Christ.
Both, the Spring Green Church of Christ and the St. Paul Church of Christ brought their dilemmas to the Northeastern District Union and the Councilmen (as the Assembly had not yet been organized.) The Councilmen met and presented the Solutions: 1) The two churches would become one. 2) The merged church would be named the St. Paul Church of Christ Disciples of Christ, because St. Paul was the oldest, and had the larger membership. 3) The church would secure a pastor.
It was two of St. Paul’s deacons, Deacon Isaac Cobb, and Deacon John Leonard who had heard of Reverend William Johnson; and they went on a mission to find him. After locating Reverend Johnson, they persuaded him to accept the pastorate of the St. Paul Church of Christ. After much fasting and praying, Reverend William Johnson accepted this great task to pastor the newly merged, yet to be organized, St. Paul Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ.
Reverend William Johnson was a fiery gospel preacher (being a former COGIC member), a family man, and a lover of Christ’s Church. God had blessed St. Paul with His leader who would move His church forward.
St. Paul began the journey of growth and development. Due to the rapid growth of the congregation, the church relocated to various locations including, 523 Myrtle Avenue, 201 Willoughby Avenue, Bedford Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Permanent housing finally came when God answered St. Paul’s cry and the church moved to 579 Gates Avenue. In 1955, God, again smiled on St. Paul endowing them with spiritual and material blessings. The church purchased 534 Gates Avenue, the Tompkins Theater, making it a haven of worship for Gods people. Also, under Bishop Johnson’s leadership, the church purchased 233 acres of land in the Catskill Livingston Manor, New York , and to this day the church is still land owners of the aforementioned properties.
On October 9, 1973, St. Paul was stricken with an unbelievable loss, Pastor, Leader, Bishop William Johnson, D.D., D.C.L. was called home to be with the Lord, after forty-one years of dedicated service.
In 1974, St. Paul elected Elder Edward McCall to the office of Pastor, and he was duly installed by the officials of the Northeastern District Assembly (formerly the Northeastern District Union.) Under Elder McCall’s leadership, many of the different ministries that began under Bishop Johnson’s leadership continued to progress and flourish. To increase its spiritual enrichment, the St. Paul Growth and Development Bible Study was organized and instructed by Elder Cecelia D. Wragg. The Christmas Carousel was established to assist the neighboring families during the holiday season. The No #2 Missionaries were re-established as young women uplifting the name of Christ through ministry, and service.
On May 9, 2008, Elder Edward McCall was called from labor to reward, and went home to be with the Lord; after thirty-four years of dedicated service. St. Paul’s next step would be to accept the infinite wisdom of the Almighty God, and the direct leadership of Deacon Levell Scarboro, assisted by Deacon William Bowie. The Deacons, along with the ministerial staff held the church together spiritually, as they shared the duty of delivering the preached gospel each Sunday. This dynamic ministerial staff consisted of Elder Ida Bonner, Elder Debra Harris, Elder Emmett Murray, Elder Aaron D. Owens, Sr., and Elder Cecelia D. Wragg.
As time went on, St. Paul knew they needed to make a decision, and they continued to seek God for an answer. On Saturday, March 12, 2011, St. Paul sought leadership by duly electing Elder Aaron D. Owens, Sr. as the interim Pastor for one year, and on Friday, March 2, 2012, by a majority vote, St. Paul officially elected Elder Aaron D. Owens, Sr. as Pastor of the St. Paul Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ. “To God Be The Glory For The Things He Has Done.”
Under Elder Owens’ leadership, St. Paul continues to be the property owners of 579 Gates Avenue which was renamed The Elder Edward McCall Multicultural Center on Sunday, August 18, 2013. During a community attended Re-Dedication service which included marching around the block, the Re-Dedication Ceremony, the Signage Reveal and ended with an Old Fashioned outdoor Barbeque for the community.
Elder Owens is St. Paul’s third Pastor and he’s a man which possesses a 21st century vision. With the desire to build and promote God’s kingdom on earth both spiritually and economically. His vision to complete Phase I of the “Nehemiah Project,” modernization of the edifice was realized on Sunday, August 17, 2014. The actual renovation was completed in four months, during this renovation period, the congregation returned to 579 Gates Avenue, (now known as) the Elder Edward McCall Multicultural Center. All meetings, services, Bible Study and Sunday Morning Services were housed where it all “began.” The return to a beautifully renovated edifice was marked by a Holy and Spirit Filled Re-Dedication Ceremony where the members marched from the original church home at 579 Gates Avenue, to the ‘new’ home at 534 Gates Avenue.
It’s Elder Owens’ vision that our ministry will not be confined to four walls, but that we may reach thousands and even more, with the use of the modern technology available to us in this 21st century. He believes, the promotion of the work for the kingdom of God will come through fasting, praying, intense study and a scholarly discussion on all issues. His plans includes encouraging others to grow personally, professionally, emotionally and spiritually by using compassion, unique perspective and sheer belief in other’s inherent goodness, integrity and vast potential. To assist all in developing the gifts which lie within them, that we may conquer the challenge that has been set before each of us. Acknowledging that the challenge is to mobilize and to initiate new outreach ministries that will position us to renovate the lives of those who feel that all hope is lost; which will catapult Christ’s church to the next level…..