Steeped in rich tradition, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ – Shawnee, the “little country church” on Mapleton Road, was founded by a group of German people who migrated to America prior to 1879. This group organized the church because they wanted “a spiritual home pledged to proclaim the word of God” where “everyone was welcome and would be taken in as a brother”.
The cornerstone for the church was laid on June 9, 1879 and was dedicated in October at the cost of $200 to build. Original services were held in German every two weeks on Sunday afternoons. At that time, it was custom for the men to sit on the left hand side of the center aisle, with the women sitting on the right side. This tradition continued until 1918. Soon after, services were held in English once per month.
In 1919 the church building was raised and a basement was built under the sanctuary. The basement currently serves as a fellowship hall, Christian education facility, and nursery.
The congregation voted to join the Synod of the newly reformed Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1941.
A two-floor addition, which now houses the church’s kitchen, pastor’s office, and bathrooms, was completed in 1952 and one year later the church was incorporated.
In 1961, St. Paul’s became associated with the United Church of Christ, which is it still affiliated with today.
In 2015 a new addition was completed which included an elevator to make worship and fellowship more accessible to everyone, a side entrance, and additional bathrooms.
During its 125 years of service in the Wheatfield community, St. Paul’s of Shawnee has had 24 clergy serve as pastors. Presently the Rev. Ronald Lord is the spiritual leader of the church, having been installed on October 20, 2002.
The tradition at St. Paul’s has always involved an active involvement of its congregational members (currently 154) in church and community related activities. The Christmas pageant and the Christmas workshop, which are open to the community, are always a highlight during the holiday season, as is the Lenten breakfast on Easter morning.
There are many groups and committees involved in helping St. Paul’s to meet its responsibilities to its members and local community.