History of Saint Paul United Methodist Church


Saint Paul Methodist Episcopal Church was organized on the fourth Sunday in February, in 1866, three years after the Emancipation Proclamation and under the leadership of the late Reverend Gilbert Brooks. It was during his administration that the first church, a white wooden frame structure, was erected on 26th Avenue and 12th Street. However, this building was destroyed by fire in 1888.

Located on the same site, a new brick building featuring Gothic architecture was erected under the leadership of Reverend J.C. Houston. The congregation worshipped in this building until 1921, when, under the leadership of Reverend D.L. Morgan, the Haven Institute property was purchased by Saint Paul. This property, also known as Meridian Academy, served as a private school for black students and was operated through the African Methodist Episcopal Churches in the area. The Haven Institute property was located at 27th Avenue and 13th Street. This building was destroyed by fire. Hence, for approximately two years, the congregation worshipped in the chapel of the Masonic Temple which was located on 26th Avenue and 13th Street.

In 1939, the present building was erected under the leadership of Reverend E.A. Mayes and was later dedicated to the Lord’s service by Bishop R.E. Jones in 1941.

In 1968, the Methodist Episcopal Churches of Mississippi merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Thereafter, Saint Paul Methodist Episcopal Church became Saint Paul United Methodist Church.

Saint Paul has a rich and glorious history. Immediately following the Civil War, Saint Paul was instrumental in operating the Freedman’s Bureau School which played a pivotal role in the education of black students and black adults.

Saint Paul was instrumental in the establishment of the Carnegie Library. This historic library was built in 1912 with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation specifically for African Americans in Meridian. The ‘Colored Branch’ of the Carnegie Library, as it was called, was the educational hub of the African-American community for many years. After being in use for sixty-two years, the Carnegie library, located on the corner of 13th Street and 28th Avenue, closed its doors in 1974. Through the years, the Carnegie library sustained some structural and physical problems, and was demolished in 2008. The Carnegie library was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Saint Paul has always displayed a strong role in the community. It was designated as a local city landmark in November of 1990, by the Meridian City Council and the Meridian Historic Preservation Commission. Saint Paul is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#133). Additionally, Saint Paul became a part of the Freedom Trail during the 2014 Fiftieth Year Commemoration of the Freedom Summer 1964.

In 2017,  Saint Paul was recognized by the Mississippi Conference as the Meridian District Vital Church of the year, and also recognized by Discipleship Ministries as the ‘One Matters’ Church of the Year for the Mississippi Conference.

Saint Paul most proudly makes note in its history, and cherishes the memory of the highly acclaimed and world renown, Bishop L. Scot Allen. The nephew of Dr. A.L. Fielder, Sr., Bishop Allen grew up in Saint Paul’s church and later became the first African American elected Bishop in what became the United Methodist Church in 1968. As Bishop, he forged the way for African Americans in the predominately white, racially charged Southeastern Jurisdiction.



  1. Gilbert Brooks, 1866-1867
  2. Moses Adams, 1867-1869
  3. J. Aaron Moore, 1869-1870
  4. Samuel Williams, 1870-1872
  5. J. Gaston, 1872-1875
  6. P. Jamison, 1875-1878
  7. Nathan Conner, 1878-1879
  8. Moses Adams, 1879-1880
  9. Gilbert Brooks, 1880-1881
  10. J.W. Dunn, 1881-1883
  11. J.N. Wilder, 1883-1886
  12. J.C. Houston, 1886-1889
  13. C.D. Payne, 1889-1892
  14. I.J. Pratt, 1892-1893
  15. A.J. McNair, 1893-1896
  16. J. Campbell, 1896-1897
  17. J.C. Hibbler, 1897-1899
  18. J.C. Houston, 1899-1900
  19. B.L. Crump, 1900-1902
  20. A.J. McNair, 1902-1905
  21. S.A. Cowan, 1903-1910
  22. W.M. McMorris, 1910-1911
  23. I.L. Pratt, 1911-1912
  24. L.W. Price, 1912-1915
  25. J.B. Brooks, 1915-1917
  26. J.C. Hibbler, 1917-1921
  27. D.L. Morgan, 1921-1928
  28. R.N. Jones, 1928-1929
  29. M.T.J. Howard, 1929-1933
  30. E.A. Mayes, 1933-1944
  31. C.M. Webb, 1944-1946
  32. S.L. Webb, 1946-1947
  33. L.E. Johnson, 1947-1951
  34. Wendell P.C. Taylor, 1951-1957
  35. J.D. Wheaton, 1957-1961
  36. A.W. Crump, Sr., 1961-1965
  37. L.A. Timmons, 1965-1967
  38. S.S. Barnett, 1967-1972
  39. E.L. Henry, 1972-1986
  40. C.E. Appleberry, 1986-1992
  41. Joe May, 1992-1995
  42. Harold Robinson, 1995-1998
  43. Phillip Heidelberg, 1998-2003
  44. Timothy Thompson, 2003-2006
  45. Ludrick Cameron, 2006-2009
  46. Martha Williams, 2009-2012
  47. Elbrist Mason, 2012-2015
  48. Eugene Boger, 2015-Present
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