St. Paul's Lutheran Church
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Fellowship Committee
This Committee is all about Food, Fellowship, and Fun.​
Social Ministry
We are hard at work doing what we are called to do for the hungry, the sick, the incarcerated, and the needy.
Ministries and Committees
St. Paul's Ministry and Mission is supported by a network of committees. These committees are appointed to work in the best interest of our congregation and in service to our local community. The work of this church is best represented by the work of our various committees. All members of our congregation are encouraged to hear the call and invest their talents in service to the Lord.
Interested in learning more?
Christian Life
Be a witness!  Find out how our Christian Life Committee is doing the Lord's work; greeting visitors and meeting folks in the neighborhood
From first Communion, to Confirmation and all points in between.  All members come here to learn how to fulfill the word in their lives. 
​Thanks be to God and our Finance Committee.  They keep our doors open.
We are proud of all the hard work our Property Committee does to keep our church in working order.
Provides care and oversight for our nursery 
We are always seeking ways to make use of our congregation's time and talents.  If you have a desire to use your gifts for the church, this committee is here to help you.
The legacy of our church is defined by those who've gone before us.  The stewardship of this committee is one of our greatest priorities.
Parish Education
Property Committee
Memorials Committee
Stewardship Committee
Nursery Committee
Worship and Music 
Handbells, Choir, Altar Guild, and special liturgical events; all are dealt with by this committee.
.A Brief History of St. Paul’s

By Lilly Olsen

As described in the history book prepared for St. Paul’s 75th Anniversary in the year 2005, this church now

located at 6100 Cottage Hill Road was born in the throes of the Great Depression. The little congregation that

became officially first known as the “United Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Advent”, a congregation of

the ULCA, a predecessor of the ELCA, was served by mission developer Reverend John T. Gillison, a native

of England. The very first worship service, prior to actual organization of the church, was held in a

Presbyterian church on South Broad Street on June 22, 1930, at 3 P.M. Fifteen worshipers were present, and

an offering of $2.48 was received. Subsequent worship services were conducted in the chapel at the YMCA,

until chapel property on Carlen Street near Dauphin Street was purchased from Dauphin Way Baptist Church

for $6250. The first service in the new chapel was held on November 15, 1931, with sixty-five people


This church seemed born to ups and downs, and the down times were really down to rock bottom. Just over a

year after that first service, fire partially destroyed the rear building, and there was no insurance coverage.

Being deep into the Depression times, the Pastor was hard pressed to get money for the payment of bills, most

members being unable to keep up their contributions, and offerings were severely decreased. The same year,

the Pastor’s car was stolen; and when recovered, it had been badly stripped and damaged. 1935 went on

record as the hardest year since organization, however, despite the hard times, the congregation managed to

give residents of the “Poor Farm” a Christmas program and stockings filled with fruit, candy, and nuts.

Another charitable venture launched by Pastor Gillison was an arrangement with Smith’s Bakery whereby

once a week he would be given day-old bread to distribute among the needy. The Pastor also managed to

publish regularly several hundred copies of a little magazine, “The Lutheran Messenger”, for distribution in

the surrounding area. The magazine brought some extra income from ads sold to local merchants, and this

went toward utility bills and support of the pastor himself at a time when the congregation could not afford to

do so. Troubles reached their peak late in 1936 when Pastor Gillison finally collapsed from strain and

overwork. This remarkable man had given of himself with no relief, no vacation, for such a long time that at

last he could tolerate no more. While the pastor was recuperating, services continued regularly, conducted by

Mr. Olin T. Hanson, Sr. (father of Barbara Grovenstein). The parish record book carries the notation:

“Strenuous efforts have been made in 1936 to keep things going.” Slowly the pastor’s health began to mend,

and in time the economic situation nationwide began to improve. At the end of the decade, upon the

resignation of Pastor Gillison, a new pastor was at the helm when a period of growth began. In 1940, the

name of the church was changed to St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The nation entered World War II on December 7, 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and several members

went into military service. After the war, the congregation acquired in 1948 an Army chapel from Camp

Shelby, Mississippi, which was moved to property already purchased on the southwest corner of Government

and Houston streets, across from Memorial Park. This would be the new home of St. Paul’s for almost 38

years. 1950 saw the beginning of the eleven-year pastorate of Waldemar H. Lefstead, D.D., possibly St.

Paul’s most beloved pastor. During his service to the congregation a parish building annex was built to the

rear of the church. The new Lutheran Church in America (LCA), a merger of the United Lutheran Church in

America, the Augustana Lutheran Church (Swedish), American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish), and

the Suomi Synod (Finnish), began its official functioning on January 1, 1963. On December 13, 1981, during

the pastorate of the Reverend Paul R. Haffly, the congregation voted to relocate again and erect a new church

building at 6100 Cottage Hill Road. The last service in the historic Army chapel housing St. Paul’s

Government Street church was held on June 29, 1986, with 154 in attendance. The pastor was then the

Reverend James W. Nipper. Besides a number of interim pastors, twelve called pastors have graced St. Paul’s

with their service.