Church History

The beginning...

Saint Paul A.M.E. Church has its beginning in the home of Sister Mary Larey in the year 1870. She and her husband, Brother Elder Larey, lived in a community near Macon known as Lareysville. She first organized a prayer meeting in her home and invited the neighbors to worship with her once a week. It was not long before the room proved to be too small to accommodate the congregation each week. Sister Larey also organized a Sunday School and gathered together the children of that community for instruction. The Blue-Black speller and Turner's Catechism were the literature mostly used.

Her daughter, Lizzie Larey, who afterward became Sister Lizzie Harris, was the first Sunday School teacher. This mission grew very rapidly and it was not long before they needed a minister to preach to them. Rev. W.H. Pack, at that time pastor of Steward Chapel AMEC, sent Brother Sipio Robinson, a local preacher of his church, to pastor them.

Sister Mary Larey was an African Methodist and her husband, Mr. Elder Larey, was a Missionary Baptist. The two congregations continued to grow so rapidly that Brother Larey's denomination met on one Sunday and Sister Larey's denomination met the next. But the time came when both denominations could not continue to exist in peace at the same meeting place. Subsequently, Brother London Armstrong, who had bought a plot of land, in what is now known as North Highland, gave the Methodists a piece of this land for an AME Church, while the Baptist group became known as Lizzieboro Baptist Church.

Thus, it can be clearly seen that from this small beginning in Mr. and Mrs. Larey's home, two strong and progressive churches have grown, one being an African Methodist and the other a Missionary Baptist.

In 1872, St. Paul, then a Mission, joined the Macon Georgia Annual Conference and was assigned to the Camp Hope Circuit. Rev. I.N. Fitzpatrick was appointed as the first pastor. He served faithfully for two years. Many pastors followed Rev. I.N. Fitzpatrick, and the church membership continued to grow.

The church prospered greatly under the spiritual leadership of more than 46 pastors whose names are housed in the archives of the Saint Paul’s History.

Nineteen eighty-nine marked a year of a dramatically different nature in the history of Saint Paul A.M.E. Church. With the appointment of Terence Renard Gray as the Senior Pastor of this great church, God began His move of ushering in a different kind of A.M.E. Church. Perhaps the most profound difference was expressed in the Church’s theme during those first years, “Saint Paul: A Church Excited, Ignited and on Fire with the Holy Ghost.” This theme would change over time, but it ushered in a new vision of the Church, its worship, its praise, its giving, its teaching and its evangelism.

St Paul witnessed a dramatic increase in its membership, ministries, worship schedule that included three services on Sunday, and dramatic increase in financial resources under the leadership of Rev. Gray. Rev. Gray served the longest tenure of any pastor in the church’s history. Significantly, a new parsonage was purchased, a business arm of the ministry was developed, and 20 acres of land purchased on which the new sanctuary is now located.

Rev. Ernest Gordon led the congregation into the new sanctuary at 2501 Shurling Drive and continued the enormous work of God which had been begun by his predecessors. Most significantly, a Children’s Church became an integral part of the ministry; an after school program was started; a dance ministry was started; and a Boy Scout and Girl Scout ministry were begun as work continued to fully complete the church building at 2501 Shurling Drive.

Rev. Ronald Slaughter was appointed pastor in 2007. As with his predecessors he continued with diligence the work of managing the financial obligations of the church with reference to its new edifice. Under his leadership St. Paul completed the construction of the church edifice adding significantly to the administrative and teaching capacity of the church. Under Rev. Slaughter many souls were added to the church.

Rev. Jerome McClain served St. Paul from 2011 until 2013 and he led the church in addressing continuing concerns related to its financial challenges by its building initiatives. He provided much attention to the study of the Word through Bible Study and included materials he had authored in this study as well.

Rev. Robert Angrish was appointed as pastor of St. Paul in 2013. He, too, worked diligently to address financial challenges of the church. Under his leadership Children’s Church curriculum was upgraded and the youth were given an assigned Sunday for leading worship. Ministerial staff were given a stronger teaching role in the church designed to equip each minister for greater ministry.

In 2014 Pastor Michael Ephraim was assigned to St. Paul and he came in immediately stabilizing the church finances, adding back the 7:00 a.m. worship, strengthening and revitalizing the music ministry of the church, and articulating a desire for transparency in our business dealings and operating a God and ministry-focused church ministry.