St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church has the second oldest black congregation in St. Louis and is "the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi River." The date on the cornerstone from the Lawton-Leffingwell building places the formal organization of St. Paul A.M.E. Church at 1841.
Older documents and records of the church indicate, there were several earlier beginnings. Bishop Charles Spencer Smith, in his book "The History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church" has tied the beginnings of the local congregation to the work of Rev. Jordan Winston Early, a member of the Methodist Church South, who left that group in 1832 to associate himself with the A.M.E. Church movement in St. Louis. Prayer meetings or societies had been organized much earlier and met in private homes, due to the growing power of slavery, and the Nat Turner Insurrection of 1831; they also were obligated to proceed with caution. One of the several meeting homes was that of Priscilla Baltimore, a slave and nurse who purchased her own freedom and that of her husband. The society came to be known as "Little Bethel Chapel." Mrs. Baltimore was a moving force during these early years, until her death in 1882.
In the course of time, Rev. Early and others obtained a small log cabin near the end of Main Street. Later they moved to an old mission located at the corner of 7th and Washington Streets, which was obtained from the Presbyterians. In due time, the Mission, having become too small to accommodate the society, was moved to a large hall secured on Broadway, over an engine house near the center of the city for continued worshipping. From another old record, it is indicated that the Rev. John Anderson was appointed to the charge of the A.M.E. Church in St. Louis. The first leaders' meeting was held on the evening of July 29, 1840. In the year of 1836, Rev. William Paul Quinn was sent on a missionary journey by the A.M.E. Church General Conference, which met in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to work in the west. He came to Illinois, and was not permitted at that time to preach in St. Louis, as Missouri was still a slave state. By 1840, Rev. William Paul Quinn conceived the idea of standing on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River and preaching across the river to the men and women, many of them slaves; on the Missouri side in (St. Louis). Thus was born the seed of African Methodism (in the west). In 1841 under his leadership, St. Paul A.M.E. Church Chapel was born and was formally organized.
St. Paul A.M.E. Church was the initial birthplace of the St. Louis Chapter of the NAACP in 1913. It was also the church home of Annie Malone, Madame C.J. Walker, and Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, one of the head founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
St. Paul A.M.E. Church is one of the leading Congregations among 7000+ congregations established throughout America, Africa, and the Caribbean's. The St. Paul parishioners are successful citizens throughout Metro St. Louis and the United States. St. Paul is noted for its birth of denominational leaders in both clergy and lay. Outstanding Pastors has been elected from the pulpit of St Paul, as Bishops throughout various Episcopal Districts of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Distinguished Pastors such as: Frank Madison Reid, Sr., George Wayman Blakely, Vinton Randolph Anderson, and Cornal Garnett Henning. Currently, Attorney Benjamin Edwards serves on the Judicial Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
St Paul is noted for being a Church that serves the community: The "Our Redeemer Lives Ministry" feeds hundreds of families every month under the leadership of Evangelist Aileen Wynne. St. Paul Saturdays, a profound male mentoring program, was founded by former pastor Bishop C. Garnett Henning and Dr. William Harrison, and formed in St. Paul. Their motto is: "Building men is better than mending boys."
The following clergy have served St. Paul as Senior Pastors: John Anderson, Williams Douglas, Henry Cole, George W. Johnson, Byrd Parker, Israel Cole, W.H. Revels, John Turner, Thomas W. Henderson, M.W. Beckley, George Schafer, E.T. Cottman, C.W. Preston, D.P. Roberts, William D. Cook, John W. Sexton, W. Sampson Brooks, C.A. Williams, Noah W. Williams, Joseph Gomez, Frank Madison Reid, Sr., Russell Brown, Marcellous R. Dixon, G. Waymon Blakely, Vinton Randolph Anderson, James H. Oxley, Edward Sneed Foust, C. Garnett Henning, Felix Delano Dancy, E. Lewis Branch, Alvin L. Smith and J. Arthur Rumph.
On October 27, 2013, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland appointed Rev. Spencer Lamar Booker to the charge of St. Paul. On November 3, 2013, Pastor Booker resumed the Pastoral Charge of St. Paul with a 20/20 Vision entitled "Networking to meet the needs of ALL people through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Matthew 28:19-20 Luke 4:18-19)
Under the leadership of Pastor Booker, a major renovation of the physical plant was dedicated to the Glory of God, on July 15, 2017. Since the historic rededication of St. Paul's sanctuary, Bishop Clement W. Fugh has reassigned Pastor Booker to continue the vision he established upon his initial appointment. The Book is opened for what God will perform. Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor has it entered the hearts the bountiful blessings God has in store for St Paul, St Louis.
We the Members have been chosen by God, at St. Paul Church, to be spiritual vessel and to perform temporal ministry(s) on behalf of God. Therefore, we will engage ourselves in Church work being mindful of the work of the Church which is our Christian duty; That is to meet and minister to the Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Emotional and Environmental needs of all People; By spreading the liberating move of God through Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Anointing of the Holy Ghost: With Praise, Prayer, Preaching, Purpose, and Performance. We are the church, networking to meet the needs of All People through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.