We rejoice in the Lord at all times!
Under the Episcopal Leadership of Bishop Clement Fugh, Presiding Prelate, Fifth Episcopal District, St. Paul A.M.E. Church enjoys the unique position of being the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California. St. Paul has been a tradition in the community for over 83 years.
AME historians and observers credit the early forward thinking of Rev. E.M. Elliott for developing a strong foundation through his leadership and pastoral facilitation. Rev. Elliott proudly reported his one conversion and three members to the 69th Annual Session of the California Conference held September 20-25, 1933. Known at that time as the Berkeley Mission, the Conference endorsed this "pebble" of a spiritual movement and encouraged its future growth and development.
At the close of the conference, with official sanction in hand, Rev. Elliott worked diligently to further develop the Berkeley Mission. Early developmental meetings were held in the home of Rev. and Mrs. Speese at 3033 Harper St., in Berkeley. Recorded participants included Rev. & Mrs. Speese, Mr & Mrs Chrisman, Mrs. Nellie Chrisman, Mrs. Ethel Culiver and Mrs. Mahalia Boxhill. As a result of their efforts a temporary church headquarters was established at the corner of Grove and Russell Streets. Mr. & Mrs. Julian were the first converts at the opening of the new church. The Church Sunday School, established during its first week also showed promises of success when three children joined.
“Berkeley Mission” This is the pastorate of Rev. A.A. more, who was transferred from the New England Conference last year. The pastor was a member of the Puget Sound Conference to 1933. This church had a phenomenal growth this year, having increased its membership from five to more than seventy. A Church School of 110, of which Mrs. Speese is the Superintendent, and a large league are other features. Number of conversions, seven. No debt. No building of its own. The problem of housing confronts us this fall as the place where we have heretofore held meetings was only rented, and the owners have asked us to move. We need a church an parsonage in Berkeley. No place in Northern California is brighter for the future of the church.
Maturity and expansion of this magnificent church steadily progressed by the grace of God and a succession of pastoral appointments. The property at 1630 Fairview Street was purchased under the leadership of Rev. H.C. Claybrook. The name Berkeley Mission was changed to St. Paul AME Church and the seal of incorporation was secured in early 1937. St. Paul moved to its current location at 2024 Ashby Avenue in 1953, under the pastorate of Rev. J. Austell Hall. In 1995, construction was completed on the new 1.5 million sanctuary under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Vernon S. Burroughs.
As the needs of our congregation and community continued to grow, a new vision was set for St. Paul under the dynamic leadership of distinguished ministers including: Rev. AA Moore. Rev. H.C. Claybrook, Rev. C.W. Smith, Rev A. Ward, Rev. S. Rhone, Rev. M. Hawkins, Rev. J. Bell, Rev. J.Morton, Rev. F. Stephens, Rev. A. Shaw, Rev. J. Austell Hall, Rev. Paul Kidd, Rev. E.P. Williams, Rev. Geroge W. Baber, Rev. J. Russell Brown, Rev. A. Lee Henderson, Rev. Daniel Pinkard, Presiding Elder Felix Dancy , Rev. Dr. Vernon Burroughs, Presiding Elder Allen L. Williams, Rev. Leslie R. White. St. Paul welcomed its present shepherd, Rev. Anthony L. Hughes in October 2013. Under his leadership, the debt on the church has refinanced and the Male Chorus has been revived, singing on 5th Sundays for the WMS Observance.
Today, St. Paul AME celebrates 83 years as a community resource, a beacon of hope, a refuge for people in need, a spiritual center for those seeking salvation and a church home.