Historic Church Begins New Era

By Kristi Nelson
|  Monday, Jul 12, 2010  |  Updated 9:39 PM CDT
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Historic Dallas Church Renovated

NBCDFW.com

St. Paul United Methodist Church is ready for another 100 years.

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Historic Dallas Church Renovated

St. Paul United Methodist Church is ready for another 100 years.
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The historic St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Dallas Arts District was founded 137 years ago to minister to freed slaves, and now its 500 members are preparing for another 100 years.

It is a special time in the life of the St. Paul United Methodist Church.

"We are here and have been here in the same spot on Routh Street,” the Rev. Elzie Odom Jr. said. “Of course, Routh Street wasn't named Routh Street in 1863. We've been here for 137 years, so we truly are a historic congregation."

This predominantly black church has survived decades of change. When it was built, it was part of Freedman's Town, a community of freed slaves in Dallas.

Members are now ready for a new era with a renovation to keep the building strong for years to come.

"It is the mother church of African-American Methodism in Dallas," Odom said.

The renovation shored up the building’s foundation, refurbished pews that are nearly 100 years old and included a sprinkler system, new air conditioning and additional restrooms. The building's stained glass has also been restored.

Some families have attended St. Paul for generations.

"My grandaddy's name is on the corner stone,” Reginald Smith said. “And my great grandmama is over there on one of those pews."

The church is right in the middle of the city's sparkling Arts District, and they believe a higher power wants it that way.

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