St Paul A M E Church

4901 14th St NW
Washington DC 20011
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Opening Hours

  • Mon: 10am-3pm
  • Tue: 10am-3pm
  • Wed: 10am-4pm
  • Thu: 10am-3pm
  • Fri: 10am-4pm

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On October 25, 1856, a group of freed men led by Anthony Bowen, founded St. Paul A.M.E. Church. Bowen, a great civic, educational, and religious leader was assisted by Carol Bailey, Moses Briscoe, Caleb Delaney, George Newman, Benjamin Landam and the three Ward brothers, Henry, George and Cato. In its early history, the church was known as the "E" Street mission, The Saint Paul Society and Saint Paul Chapel. In 1859, the founders along with their supporters, following the tenets of biblical history and believing in God's command to his servants to "arise and build", purchased land on Eighth Street, Southwest on which the first edifice was built. The largest amount secured for this sanctuary was raised by Mary Ann Barnes. As a reward for her efforts Mrs. Barnes was presented a silver loving cup. All through the first one hundred years of its existence, St. Paul played a significant part in community activities. During the post-war days of 1865 and the Reconstruction era, much was done to help the free men of color and the freed slaves, who were coming into the District. The church served in a triple capacity, as an educational institution, as an under ground railway for escaping slaves, and as a religious meeting place. Many prominent speakers of the early days were presented at the church. Phyllis Wheatley was among the number. In reviewing the history, it is noted that in 1874, "a Grand Banquet held for the benefit of the St. Paul Chapel at the. Richmond House on Pennsylvania Avenue, November 26, 1874" was one of the outstanding events. The church was remodeled in 1890 under the leadership of Rev. L. H. Jackson, and the towers and the lecture room were added. This project was sponsored through "Buy a Brick Rally". Gradually the improvements were completed, and in 1892 under Rev. J. W. Norris the pay ments to finance the building were conducted on a monthly payment plan. It was during the pastorate of Rev. Norris that many accessions were made and in less than a year, one hun dred marriages were performed. St. Paul has been blessed in having many outstanding and distinguished pastors. The first pastor who later became Bishop of the A.M.E. Church was Alexander W. Wayman. Rev. W. H. Hunter became a chaplain in the United States Army. Rev. W. B. Nash, also became a chaplain in the Army during World War II. Between 1902 - 1946 Reverends D. P. Seaton, Beckett, Sides, David Johnson, O.E. Jones, Nicholas, P.A Scott, John R. Barnum, J. Damos, Manoko, G. Oliver Wing, J. McKenzie Harrison, and Wesley B. Nash were pastors of St. Paul A.M.E. Church. Rev. Nash was appointed Presiding Elder in 1948. During the administration of Rev. David Johnson, the church was blessed spiritually and the membership increased greatly, being filled to capacity every Sunday. The metal ceiling and first hot water heating plant were installed under the leadership of Dr. John P. Turner son of Bishop Henry McNeil Turner. In 1948, Rev. J.W. Duckette was assigned to St. Paul. During his administration, the church was completely renovated. A new electric organ was installed in 1954.