St. Paul C.M.E. Church celebrates 150 years of worship in Savannah

ByWTOC Staff

Published:Oct. 24, 2021 at 8:53 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Area and national black church leaders gathered today in Savannah to celebrate a milestone anniversary for the St. Paul C.M.E. Church.

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

It was a full house inside the Tiger Arena around noon at Savannah State University - as area leaders gathered to celebrate. There was song and dance, but most of all prayer.

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

The anniversary sermon was delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Rev. Da’Henri Thurmond Sr is the current senior pastor.

“The celebration of our anniversary is really a recognition of what God has done for us, not only for us but for our ancestors,” Thurmond said. “And then I believe it’s a recognition of what God is doing moving forward, so even the generations that will come after us will be able to recognize this day as a significant and sentimental moment in the history of our church.”

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

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