OF ST. PAUL CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
(The birthplace of the Church of God in Christ)
by Mrs. E.
W Mason and Chartered St. Paul Members During That Time Period
1. On Saturday
September 8, 1866, on the Prior Farm near Memphis Tennessee,
Charles Harrison Mason was born to Jerry and Eliza Mason. The
family was member of a Missionary Baptist Church.
In November 1878, the Mason family moved to Plummervi11e, Arkansas.
In 1893 at the age of 27, Charles Harrison Mason was converted
and was called to preach. He received a local license from Mount
Gale Missionary Baptist Church.
In 1894, Charles Harrison Mason was sanctified through the word
and preached his first sermon on Holiness in a Baptist Church
in Preston, Arkansas using the text of II Timothy 3: 12. He
went away for two weeks, and when he returned he found that
a revival had broken out due to his first Holiness sermon. The
pastor of that church asked Mason to assume duties as the evangelist
for that revival.
In 1894, as Reverend Mason pastored the Tabernacle Baptist Church
in Selma, Alabama, his popularity grew among the "grass
root" people due to his new teaching.
In 1895, Reverend Mason accepted a unanimous call to the Mount
Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He worked in the
Baptist Association of Mississippi in Byram, Big Creek, Mount
Olive and Charleston, where Reverend F.S. Sherrill was pastor.
In 1896, Reverend Mason and Reverend C.P. Jones (Reverend Mason’s
close friend) called a meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. The
meeting was full of power and many were converted, sanctified,
and healed by the power of faith.
In 1896, Miss Margaret A. Lee, a student at Natchez College,
in an effort to raise money for the school's burned dormitory,
asked the pastor of Asia Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington,
Mississippi, Reverend H. L. Young, to invite Reverend C. P.
Jones to come and preach for a week. Reverend Jones came to
Lexington and preached sanctification for one week.
As a result of Reverend Jones's preaching, many were sanctified.
However, because of Reverend Jones' preaching, Reverend Young
lost his pastorate at Asia Missionary Baptist Church.
Toward the end of 1896, Reverend Jones was asked to return to
Asia Missionary Baptist Church and modify or correct what he
had preached. He was not able to return; in his stead Reverend
Charles Harrison Mason was substituted.
Reverend Mason preached sanctification a week at Asia Missionary
Baptist Church and the revival was successful. Sanctification
being new to the people, much disturbance developed around the
sanctified and those who were not. But there were some people
who liked what Reverend Mason preached and invited him back
to conduct a revival.
In 1897, when Reverend Mason returned to Lexington to conduct
the revival, the doors of the churches were closed to him; not
only at Asia Missionary Baptist Church, but all of the church
doors were closed to him. No one allowed him in their church
because of this new doctrine of sanctification. The churches
closed their doors to him and all who believed or supported
the doctrine of sanctification he preached.
Reverend Mason had no church in which to preach, so he preached
from the South entrance of the County Courthouse in Lexington.
After preaching from the courthouse, prayer meetings and preaching
services were held at the home of Brother John Lee.
The home of Brother John Lee was too small. Therefore, Mr. John
Stewart Watson, Sr. gave his consent for the services to be
conducted in an old abandoned ginhouse located on the bank of
Black Creek in Lexington. Outdoor revivals were conducted under
Having been rejected by his own denomination, Elder Mason sought
God carefully for a name for his new Church. While walking down
the street in Little Rock, Arkansas, God gave him the name,
“Church of God in Christ” and confirmed it with
the scripture I Thessalonians 2:14.
In 1897, the Church of God in Christ established its first chartered
Church in the old ginhouse on the bank of the little creek in
On the first Sunday in March 1897, Elder Mason performed his
first baptismal service.
There were 47 original charter members that were baptized.
In 1897, Elder Mason bought the plot of land in Lexington where
St. Paul Church of God in Christ (St. Paul) now sits. The land
was purchased by Bishop Mason for $65. The seller gave him six
months to pay for it. Elder Mason paid $35 down and $30 later.
The first church building was a 40x60 square foot frame structure.
The timber was donated by Dane Walton and Plummer Austin. The
building was destroyed by fire.
On the third Sunday in November 1906, Bishop Charles Harrison
Mason dedicated this brick building, St. Paul Church of God
in Christ, in which we sit today.
Brother Walter Crawford, an excellent contractor of Goodman,
Mississippi, engineered this permanent structure. It took several
years to build this church, because it is a brick church (3-brick
layers thick) and the bricks had to be brought in by wagon from
Louisville, MS, an approximately 75 miles trip.
St. Paul Church was built in the shape of a CROSS symbolizing
that you can come here confessing and forsaking your sins, and
your sins will be forgiven. Over the years much construction
has been done, but the basic original design of a CROSS can
still be seen in the sanctuary.
The original hand-carved pulpit built by Bishop Mason and some
of the original pews remain in the sanctuary of St. Paul Church.
These original pulpit and pews are more than one hundred years
In 1914, Miss Pinkie Duncan was teaching children in a house
across the street from
St. Paul Church. Bishop Mason visited the house and found that
there was no heat. He provided coal for heat.
Bishop Mason later invited Miss Duncan to teach the children
in the basement of St. Paul Church and appointed Professor James
Courts as headmaster/instructor. Professor Courts was an educator
who believed in the doctrine of holiness.
In 1916, Bishop Mason appointed Elder Stephen Rice as Overseer
for the establishment of the Saints School and purchased the
first 40 acres of land for the school south of the church.
In 1918, Saints Industrial and Literary School was established
on its own campus south of St. Paul.
In November 1926, Bishop Mason appointed Dr. Arenia C. Mallory
of Springfield, Illinois as President of Saints Industrial and
Literary School. By 1954, it had grown to become a junior college
(Saints Junior College). Every student attending Saints School
was automatically a member of St. Paul. They attended, participated
and were a part of all services until graduation.
Bishop Mason officially pastored St. Paul Church of God in Christ
in Lexington, Mississippi as he traveled establishing the National
Church in Memphis, Tennessee until 1949. Prior to 1949, St.
Paul was under the auspices of Bishop Mason and the National
Church. At the national convocations in Memphis, Tennessee Bishop
Mason appointed preachers to serve at
St. Paul, just as jurisdictional bishops received their appointments.
The last of the persons that served at St. Paul in an appointment
from Bishop Mason was Bishop W.A. Patterson (the father of the
late Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson).
In 1949, Bishop Mason released St. Paul from under his leadership
to the Northern Mississippi Jurisdiction, which was under the
leadership of Overseer B.S. Lyle.
In 1949, Bishop Lyle appointed Elder O.S. Sheard (the father
of the present Chairman of the Board of Bishops, the Bishop
John Sheard, and the grandfather of General Board Member Bishop
Drew Sheard) as the first Jurisdictional pastor of St. Paul.
In May 1963, Elder O.S. Sheard took another pastorage and Bishop
Elder Percy Dean, Sr. as the second Jurisdictional pastor of
In 1986, after the demise of Elder Percy Dean, Sr., Bishop Scott
appointed Elder William Dean, Jr. as the third Jurisdictional
pastor of St. Paul where he had been a member since 1966. To
help him face this challenge, along beside him came his wife,
Dr. Margie Dean, and four children, William Kenneth, Keith Terrell,
Kimberly Michele and April LaNette.
During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Elder William
Dean, Jr. successfully led the
St. Paul Church into a new facelift and complete renovation
from the basement to the ceiling and from the front to the back.
In 2009, Elder William Dean, Jr. completed a dream he had for
many years, a much needed fellowship hall for St. Paul, which
includes a dining hall and a gymnasium. In January 2010, the
new fellowship hall was dedicated and named William Dean, Jr.
In the fall of 2016, St. Paul established a museum in the basement
of the church to highlight the ministry of Bishop Charles Harrison
Mason in Lexington and to honor the charter members and pioneering
members of St. Paul. The museum contains a pictorial exhibit
that chronicles the history of the church.
In December 2016, a historical marker approved by the Mississippi
Department of Archives and History and sponsored by the members
of St. Paul Church of God in Christ was installed near the front
entrance of the church. The marker recognizes St. Paul as the
“Mother Church” of the Churches of God in Christ
and the church’s basement as the place where Saints Academy,
formerly known as Saints Industrial and Literary School, began.
On January 29, 2017, Elder William Dean, Jr. unveiled the historical
marker and dedicated the historical marker and the museum.
During the 2017 Mississippi Legislative Session, it was resolved
by the Senate of the State of Mississippi and the House of Representatives
concurring therein to recognize the dedication of the St. Paul
Church of God in Christ Historical Marker and Museum in Lexington,
Mississippi, and the spiritual legacy of the physical structure.
The resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 591) was presented
to the St. Paul Church of God in Christ on March 14, 2017.
the past 31 years, Elder Dean's and the St. Paul Saints' number
one priority has been, and continues to be, the salvation of
SOULS. Pastor Dean constantly reminds the Saints to contend
for the faith and spirit that was once delivered unto the saints.
Today, we are enjoying the presence of the Lord here at St.
Paul where the spirit of Bishop Mason and the Saints of old
is still present on these holy grounds. We have come this far
by faith, leaning on and trusting in the Lord. We are moving
God’s agenda forward by faith; for we walk by faith, not
Church of God in Christ Touring Sites
for the Saints to visit in Lexington, Mississippi