Early Days

St. Paul United Methodist Church, has stood as a beacon of hope for over 125 years, at the corner of Huffman Avenue and East Fourth St. The cornerstone of the sanctuary was laid April 14, 1883. On September 3, 1883, the church was given the name St. Paul at the Annual Conference held in Hamilton, Ohio. The Rev. Thomas Collett was appointed the first pastor. Dedication Sunday was held on December 9, 1883 with 133 charter members.

Rev. John G. Vaughan
Pastor, 1888-1893 and 1898-1905

The stained glass windows were fabricated by George Misch and Brother. The south window was given in honor of the first pastor, Thomas Collett, by his wife. The east window [balcony] was given in honor of the Rev. E.A. McHarry by Mrs. E.A. McHarry, Eaton. The north window [L.H.M.] was donated by the churches of Dayton in honor of the Ladies Home Mission. The sale of the Ladies Home Mission property and two existing churches, along with other donations, raised $13,000 needed to begin the building of this church.

The organ pipes and wood panel are all that remain of the first pipe organ, installed in 1899. Electricity was installed in 1906. The Assembly Building was added in 1908 and has been well used for Sunday School, Church, community meetings, entertainment, dinners, basketball leagues for over a century. It was used for housing people during the 1913 flood. The Baptismal Font was given in 1927, in memory of Miss Mollie Guthridge, who had been appointed the first Superintendent of the Primary Department in December, 1920. The Altar Rail Communion Tables were added in 1924.


Just Us Girls Group, About 1933
In later years, known as Just Us Grandmothers

Rev. John Samuel Altman
Pastor, 1931 to 1942

Rev. Samuel R. Martin
Pastor, 1942 to 1948

St. Paul Informer
November, 1946

Rev. Samuel R. Martin
Pastor, 1942 to 1948

Rev. Howard M. Carpenter
Pastor, 1954 to 1957

Rev. Charles H. Graham
Pastor, 1957 to 1962

In April 1969, Phase I of a remodeling project began and was completed around 1973 [architect, Mr. H. Korns]. The entire basement was refurbished into classrooms and nursery. In 2008, the sanctuary was remodeled to give it a warmer, friendlier atmosphere--red carpet was laid; the walls were painted a butterscotch color and the altar area was painted a deep red.

75th Anniversary, December 1958

95th Anniversary Program

The neighborhood surrounding the church was developed by William P. Huffman, a banker and real estate developer. He donated the land for Linden Ave. Baptist Church and Huffman School. Huffman School, the oldest elementary school building in Dayton, was closed in 1982. The building has been renovated into Huffman Place, a senior citizen apartment complex. Currently designated as the Huffman Historical Neighborhood, the neighborhood has become a community rich in economic and cultural diversity.

St. Paul United Methodist church is more that brick and mortar to the people whose lives it has touched. The church has continuously sought meaningful ways to serve its parishioners and neighbors by reflecting Christ's teachings in its actions.

1963 – The church and its ministry began to undergo many changes as a result of changes in its community.

May 1964 – A 10 Year Plan for the future began. That same year, ameeting was held at Van Buren Center to organize a local council for Laubach Literacy work in metropolitan Dayton. Mrs. Virginia Stafford, wife of St. Paul pastor Rev. W. L. Stafford, was instrumental in creating interest in the Dr. Frank C. Laubach system of teaching illiterate people to read. Later, this organization became the Miami Valley Literacy Council which partnered with St. Paul to train tutors for our English for Speakers of Other Languages as well as test our Hispanic/Latino students.

May 1967 – A special meeting of the Trustees was called to discuss a pilot program for a community center at St. Paul. This was the "Neighborhood Youth Activity" program sponsored by the Future with God Sunday School class. The predecessor program to our Young Peacemakers' Club After School Program began in 1970. A Thrift Store was organized in June 1971 and has operated for many years as The Stuff Shoppe. A Food Coop began in 1977 which resulted in a grocery store in St. Paul. The Community Food Outlet provided low cost groceries to community families until 2005.

May 1973 – Under the leadership of District Superintendent Dr. James Flinchbaugh, eight United Methodist Churches in the inner east Dayton area joined forces to explore common concerns and to discuss possible ways of ministering to the challenges facing the churches and the neighborhoods.

August 1974 – St. Paul, Oak St., Trinity East, Van Buren Community Center, and United Theological Seminary joined together in an Urban Ministry pilot project. An Urban Ministry Retreat, to evaluate the progress of the project, was held at Bergamo Center in February 1975.

November 1975 – On the recommendation of Rev. Allen Mitchell, the St. Paul Mission was designated "Operation Reach Out." There was a fund of $1400 committed to begin these ministries and was matched with funds from the District Mission Fund. By 1978, the budget for Neighborhood Ministry as $15,500.

June 1980 – At Annual conference at Lakeside, Rev. Allen Mitchell presented a resolution for inner city churches, such as St. Paul, Dayton, to be recognized as "Mission Congregations." Ann Klein began her service as Interim Pastor at St. Paul in January 1981. In June 1981, her husband Rev. Jack Klein was appointed part-time pastor at St. Paul and part-time Director of Dayton Urban Ministries.

June 1982 – Karen Shepler joined the St. Paul staff during the summer. She returned as pastor in 1986.

December 1983 – St. Paul's Centennial was celebrated. Donations provided a new roof for the oldest portion of church building.

January 1991 – "Yoking together with other churches to do what we cannot do by ourselves." Each yoking church sent two members to become involved in the implementation of new ministries. For many years to follow, 21 churches yoked with St. Paul to intentionally claim the ministry we were doing in partnership.

December 2008 – St. Paul celebrated 125 years of ministry and service. St. Paul served as the beginning site for the Huffman Historic Neighborhood Christmas Tour. St. Paul provided a concert under the direction of Charles Shields, church musician, as part of the celebration.

Today, St. Paul UMC continues to live out its servanthood calling with a Choice Food Pantry which serves 1000 people each month, weekly hot meals, an after school program, and a thrift store, among others.”

50th Anniversary, 1933

60th Anniversary, 1943

70th Anniversary, 1953

75th Anniversary, 1958

80th Anniversary, 1963

History of St Paul Church presented by Jerry Murphy at the church homecoming, September 2016