St. Paul UMC Celebrates 150 Years of Faith and Resilience

St. Paul UMC

Senior Pastor Lucretia Facen is all smiles during the special worship service celebrating St. Paul UMC's 150th anniversary on Aug. 20. (Photo by Smiley Pool/Dallas Morning News) 

Church has been a vital part of the Black community in Dallas since its founding in 1873

What began under a brush arbor where formerly enslaved people gathered for worship in the original Freedman’s Town of Dallas has flourished into a vibrant community that planted the seeds for six other United Methodist churches. St. Paul UMC celebrated its 150th anniversary last weekend with a legacy luncheon honoring leaders from each generation and two exuberant worship services.

"St. Paul is a pillar of strength and resilience for the African American community in Dallas. It serves as a spiritual sanctuary, a center for social and political change and a hub for education and community development." Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. emphasized during Sunday’s afternoon event. "Your faithful ministry has given the Black community identity, dignity and hope for 150 years. But more than that, your struggle for freedom and for justice and for equity and inclusion has blessed all people."

In addition to launching the Dallas Bethlehem Center, St. Paul UMC also birthed Warren UMC, Lambuth UMC, Hamilton Park UMC, Highland Hills UMC, St. Luke “Community” UMC and Crest-Moore King UMC. This holy ground was also the first location of Huston-Tillotson College which is now Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.

The 150th anniversary celebrations will continue throughout 2023, including the Legacy on the Green Samuel L. Brown Golf Tournament on Sept. 8. All proceeds will benefit St. Paul’s outreach ministries, including Body and Soul which serves warm meals on weekends to the church’s downtown neighbors experiencing homelessness.

St. Paul UMC is a living legacy to the faithfulness, resilience and strength of its people from generation to generation.

Dallas Morning News Story

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2023