Thanking God For His Faithfulness Celebrating 105 Years of History
Early in the year 1910, Sister Addie Lee saw the need of a church in the community of Clayton, NJ. She called on Brother and Sister George Bates, Brother James Green and Brother David Butler for the purpose of organizing a church. They called the pastor of Kaighn Avenue church, Reverend J.T. Plenty, for spiritual guidance.
Under the guidance of Reverent Plenty, the church was organized. On March 9, 1910 Sister Addie Lee, Brother George Bates, Sister Belle Bates, Brother James Green, Brother Richard Anderson, Sister Elvira Bethel, Brother Asa Fleming, Sister Sarah Anderson, Sister Louisa Fleming, Bother David Butler, Sister Helen Butler, Sister Maggie Butler, Sister Lizzie Trublett, Sister Mannie May, Sister Cora Roberts, and Sister Elizabeth Williams, met in the organizing of this church.
The first service was held in the home of Brother David Butler. Later a small building was rented and they began their services there with L.H. Lofland (a licentiate), of Kaighn Ave Baptist Church, acting as pastor. He served until June 1, 1913.
The following year, Reverend S.J. Henderson served. During this year of 1914, the present lot, 160 ft by 178 ft was purchased from Ruth Ann Stanger, deeds were given to the body on March 11, 1914, and recorded in Book 246, Page 552. Brother George Bates, Brother James Green and Sister Addie Lee were Trustees.
A small building was later given to this body and they had it rolled over to the present site on logs. This small section is currently the Pastor’s Study and Trustee Room. The larger section of the church was not built until the early 1930’s. In 1941 the church suffered a fire which was caused by a lit Christmas tree, according to older members of the church. The church was quickly restored.
Ministers who served at St Paul’s Baptist Church were:
Brother S.E. Harris, the builder of this present edifice, 1914-1915
Brother Joseph Forman, February 9, 1915-December 8, 1916
Reverend W.L. Wainwright, July 6, 1917-February 9, 1919
Reverend R. Merritt, March 8, 1919 – March 24, 1920
Reverend N. Matthews, April 1920 – April 1921
Reverend R Merritt, March 8, 1923 – December 11, 1924
Reverend J.A. Russell, June 9, 1927-August 10, 1928
Reverend J.S. Scott, January 9, 1929-September 1929
Brother T.G. Tucker, a licentiate of this churched served until October 21, 1931
Reverend V.S. Griggs, 1931-1938
Reverend W. Hinton, 1938-1939
Reverend P.W. Taylor, 1939 –1943
On September 9, 1943, the churched called Reverend L. E. Simmons who took charge from October 7, 1943 to June 7, 1953. During this time many new members were added to the church and many improvements were made.
Reverend L.S. Chandler took over on December 10, 1953 and on January 18, 1954 he was installed. He remained at St. Paul’s for 23 years. From his pastorship came two ministers, the late Reverend William Young and Reverend Edward Dorn, who is the current pastor of Second Baptist Church of Pedricktown. The church and the fellowship hall were remodeled, new carpeting was installed; a new front was put on the church, landscaping was done and additional property was purchased for a parking lot.
The church opened their doors to the Child Development Center (Head Start) for a few years. On February 6, 1977, Reverend Chandler resigned from the St. Paul’s Baptist Church.
February 1977 Deacon Charles Wood, chairman of the Deacon Board took charge. However, when Deacon Wood fell ill, Deacon Alfred Lee, oversaw the church’s well being and lead by the Holy Spirit, St Paul’s had a minister in the pulpit every Sunday to deliver the Word of God until Reverend Charles Harris took charge on March 19, 1978. Reverend Harris came to us from Antioch Baptist church, North Hills, PA and traveled many miles to our church. He resigned on September 30, 1979.
Once again, Deacon Lee stepped up and through many disappointments, trials and tribulations, our prayers were answered. God sent Pastor, Reverend John Golden, Jr., who was a true model of what a father, husband, friend, pastor and good Christian should be. He gave so much of himself. Since his acceptance on October 3, 1981 to become pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist church, the Holy Spirit has dwelled among us. Within the first two years of Reverend Golden’s service, the church gained more than 20 new members. The Bible Study and Prayer Meetings were attended by 33% of the congregation. During this time, the church obtained more land on the left side of the church, painted the interior and put in a new ceiling and lighting. Reverend Golden resigned from St. Paul’s Baptist church on September 1992, relocating to Savannah, GA.
Being led again by Deacon Lee and the Holy Spirit, we continued marching onward and upward.
The church was once again blessed with the calling of Reverend Gerald R. Riddick, along with this wife Phyllis Riddick. Reverend Riddick came into the pulpit in November 1993 and was officially installed the first Sunday in December, 1993. Under the leadership of Reverend Riddick, the church welcomed over 30 new members through Baptism and Christian experience. Reverend Riddick saw the need to separate the Prayer Meeting and Bible Study, encouraging the spiritual growth of each member. He also encouraged the members to actively involve themselves in the church’s ministries, workshops, and Bethany and COPP classes and to attend the National and State Christian conventions. The church added new ministries i.e., Mighty Men and the Junior Clerical Ministry. The church also re-instituted the Youth Ushers. Pastor Riddick’s motto was “Striving for Excellence in the Lord” and his favorite scripture is Psalm 21:1. Pastor Riddick resigned from St Paul’s Baptist church July 1998.
Deacon Lee took charge once again until our current Pastor Sport Palmer Jr. was called June 1999 and installed on September 24, 2000. Reverend Palmer is a visionary, preaching and teaching the unadulterated word of God. Pastor Palmer so often says, “Just let me do what I love to do – preach the word of the (Lawd) Lord”.
Under his leadership the church has gained approximately 70 new members. Pastor Palmer continues to encourage members to attend workshops, Bethany, and the National and State Christian Conventions. The church has also added new ministries, i.e., Doorkeepers, Correspondence, MIME, Young Adult Choir, Pillars of Fire Women’s Choir, Bereavement, Couples, Box, Prayer, Evangelistic Outreach, and the First Aide ministry. The church also reinstituted the Youth and Women’s Ministry. The church has developed two new additional Bible Studies – Hour of Power and Words of Life. Ministry leaders are in constant training and development through monthly leadership meetings. Pastor Palmer is a firm believer in spiritual maturity though the study of God’s word. He is truly a man after God’s heart.
Pastor Palmer’s motto is “It’s all about Him.”