St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Donora will celebrate its 106th anniversary this weekend.
The church, located at 49 S. McKean Ave., will hold a service commemorating the occasion at 10 a.m. Sunday.
St. Paul Baptist was born when a woman known only as Mrs. Penn established a mission house in 1916. It grew so quickly that it had to move into the old Star Theater in Donora, and they took the name of Southern Baptist Church.
The church has welcomed many African Americans who left the South during the Great Migration.
Plans for a new church began in the 1920s, but construction did not begin until 1942. The church was completed in 1954 under the direction of Reverend Walter E. McBrayer, and the cornerstone bearing his name remains on the building.
The vision of the church at its inception was “to extend Christian community, missionary and educational service to all men, women, and children of Christian discipline.” This vision continues today.
St. Paul, under the leadership of Pastor Lee Haney Sr., continued the Carrie B. Hill mission. The church is also affiliated with the FLM Haiti Mission, which provides health and literacy services. A free monthly drive-through food distribution through the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank is provided on site, along with clothing and hygiene items.
Despite necessary precautions due to the pandemic, services, Bible study and live streaming of movies continue, as well as in-person Sunday service.
The emcee for Sunday’s memorial service will be Deacon David Hunter, along with Raymond Johnson of Antioch Baptist Church in Belle Vernon, who will serve as worship leader.
The keynote speaker will be the Reverend Kenneth E. Johnson, former assistant pastor of Rodman Street Baptist Church in Pittsburgh.
Attendees will receive a packed lunch and a commemorative gift.
The birthday chairs are Sheila Groomes and Marion Ogletree.