In the mid 1800’s there were many people in the area of German origin who represented several religious groups. They were Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran. History that is available indicates the German Reformed group held services beginning in 1841, but eventually lost their pastor and ceased to function. He returned later but had changed his views and affiliated with the English Evangelical Church.
The beginning of our congregation occurred September 7, 1868, when a group of German Lutherans met in Daniel Bischof’s Hall to organize a separate church and incorporate as the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s Church. Subsequently, a frame church building, which still stands today, was dedicated on May 8, 1870. The Joint Synod of Ohio provided pastors until 1908. Around 1900 there arose a controversy regarding recognition of fraternal orders and this resulted in a split and some members leaving to form the Zion Reform Church which today is the First United Church of Christ.
In March of 1908, a committee investigated becoming members of the Pittsburgh Synod and this became reality July 19, 1908. In 1911, under Pastor Frischkorn, half the services were conducted in English and by 1916 all German services had been eliminated.
On April 11, 1919, a new site was purchased at the northeast corner of High St. and Vine. The congregation continued to worship in the old building under a rental agreement while accumulating funds to build a new structure. The cornerstone was laid at the new location November 6, 1921, and the new church building was dedicated September 17, 1922, with C. Krauth Spiggle as Pastor. The property was valued at $75,000 on which a debt of $10,000 remained. In 1928 the congregation withdrew from the Pittsburgh Synod and joined the Ohio Synod.
Under Pastor Coad, our current property was purchased for $60,000 and subsequent construction allowed for dedication of the first unit and first service in the completed sanctuary in June 1961. This was followed by an educational wing with office, parlor, fellowship hall and, later, a bell tower.
Whereas prior pastorates were generally short term, 1928 was the start of a period during which pastors remained at St. Paul’s for more years. There was steady growth under Pastors Howard Dunmire and Charles Cassel who served from 1928 to 1941 and 1942 to 1958, respectively. Then Pastor Carl Coad was called in 1958 and stayed until his retirement in 1979, followed by Pastor Robert Jewell from 1979 until 1994.
In 2011, St. Paul welcomed their permanent pastor, the Rev. Ann Marie Winters from Hosanna Lutheran Church in Pataskala, Ohio.
St. Paul can be proud of not only its heritage, but also its accomplishments. We spawned the establishment of St. John Lutheran Church in Champion when 75 people from our congregation moved to that mission church. We sent four members to the ministry; two have served and retired. We recently saw the graduation and installation of our two seminary students. We have a well respected and fully utilized preschool operating in our facility and, as a congregation, have been promoting ecumenical programs.
From a predominately German background to a multi-ethnic congregation.
The building in which we reside is great, but the people in whom God resides are greater.
It is these people who are the history and the future of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Warren, Ohio.