A Brief History of St. Paul's
St. Paul's is literally the first church of West Deptford, founded even before the township separated from Deptford. Born on the eve of the Civil War in the midst of a general religious awakening, the church traces its roots back to the very foundation of our community.
Religious worship and study began in old "Thoroughfare," with the formation of a Sunday School. Meeting at the old schoolhouse, classes were taught in reading, writing, spelling, and Old and New Testament Bible. Local ministers preached and held meetings on occasion.
A great revival took place, led by the Rev. Aaron Ballard, Methodist pastor at Paulsboro. Hundreds attended the revival meetings and over 500 conversions were reported.
As a result of the great revival, St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church was formed and construction began on the present Church Street site. A lower story was built of stone and used until the second story was added.
The first oyster supper was held as part of a fair to raise money to complete and furnish the upstairs. The grand total for the building was $4,000.
The old church building was torn down and the current building was built. A mortgage was required to finance the total cost of $8,000.
The mortgage was paid off, with great celebration.
The Sunday School building was added, including Hickman Hall, the large fellowship hall in which many events are held.
The adjacent property was purchased and the house demolished to provide additional space for parking and landscaping.
Today we continue to reach out to the community and the world in the name of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
For over 150 years people have gathered on this holy ground for the worship of God celebrating our Christian faith and serving with love. Join us, and share in our ministry to the people of our community and our world.
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In 2003 we celebrated the 300th birthday of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. During his lifetime (1703-1791), he dedicated his well-ordered intellect, self-discipline, and high energy to intense religious activity aimed at renewing the Church of England.
The Founder of Methodism
Far ahead of his time in his thinking, Wesley acted on the conviction that the Gospel is for the whole person and the whole human race, a vision that resulted in the founding of dispensaries for the sick, homes for orphans, schools for persons who were poor, visiting prisoners, opposing slavery, and publishing numerous materials. He traveled over 250,000 miles in his lifetime as he spread the Gospel.
The marks of the Wesleyan spirit have been characterized in a variety of ways over the years. Here are five:
A Warm Heart
set afire by the Spirit of God as at Aldersgate.
A Keen Mind
informed and stimulated by broad reading.
A Passionate Concern
for the poor and oppressed, wherever they might be, whatever their circumstance.
An Open Hand
to all those in need, spiritually and materially.
A Catholic (Universal) Spirit
by which Mr. Wesley meant the spirit expressed by the oft-quoted aphorism “If thy heart be as my heart, then give me your hand.”