St. Paul CME Church celebrates 150 years of worship in Savannah


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Regional and national black church leaders gathered today in Savannah to celebrate an important anniversary for St. Paul CME Church.

The historically black church was founded 150 years ago this month.

It was a packed house inside the Tiger Arena around noon at Savannah State University – as leaders from the region gathered to celebrate. There were songs and dances, but especially prayer.

St. Paul’s Methodist Christian Episcopal Church was established in October 1871. It was born out of a passion to worship God by enslaved African Americans who came together for services, according to the church’s website. While St. Paul’s is located on Barnard Street, religious leaders held birthday worship at Tiger Arena to have more space for pandemic precautions.

The birthday sermon was delivered by Reverend Al Sharpton. Reverend Da’Henri Thurmond Sr is the current Senior Pastor.

“Celebrating our anniversary is truly an acknowledgment of what God has done for us, not just for us but for our ancestors,” said Thurmond. “And then I believe it is a recognition of what God is doing to move forward, so even the generations that will come after us will be able to recognize this day as an important and sentimental moment in the history of our church.”

Notably, those in attendance included: Bishop Thomas L. Brown Sr, 6th Episcopal District of CME, Reverend Thurmond Tillman, First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Former Mayors of Savannah Otis Johnson and Edna Jackson, Father Ahmaud Arbery, Marcus Arbery Sr. and Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, with family lawyer Lee Merritt.

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