(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.

2. In November 1878, the Mason family moved to Plummervi11e, Arkansas.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. Reverend Mason had no church in which to preach, so he preached from the South entrance of the County Courthouse in Lexington.

14. After preaching from the courthouse, prayer meetings and preaching services were held at the home of Brother John Lee.

15. 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 bush-arbors.

16. 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.

17. 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 Lexington, Mississippi.

18. On the first Sunday in March 1897, Elder Mason performed his first baptismal service.
There were 47 original charter members that were baptized.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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 old.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. 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.

28. In 1918, Saints Industrial and Literary School was established on its own campus south of St. Paul.

29. 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.

30. 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).

31. 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.

32. 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.

33. In May 1963, Elder O.S. Sheard took another pastorage and Bishop Lyle appointed
Elder Percy Dean, Sr. as the second Jurisdictional pastor of St. Paul.

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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. Fellowship Hall.

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. On January 29, 2017, Elder William Dean, Jr. unveiled the historical marker and dedicated the historical marker and the museum.

40. 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.

For 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 by sight!"

Historical Church of God in Christ Touring Sites
for the Saints to visit in Lexington, Mississippi

  • St. Paul Church of God in Christ – This is the first and oldest Church of God in Christ in the world - the “Mother Church” of the Churches of God in Christ. The first constructed church building, a 40x60 square foot frame structure, was immediately destroyed by fire. The current sanctuary, built in the shape of a cross, and basement were completed in 1906 by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.
  • St. Paul Church Basement – Saints Academy, formerly known as Saints Industrial and Literary School and later Saints Junior College, started in this basement in 1914.
  • The Bush Arbor Site - This is where the first Saints made their church from bushes. The parking lot of St. Paul is now located on this site.
  • Asia Missionary Baptist Church - This is the church where the doors were closed to Bishop Mason in 1897 because of his preaching.
  • South End of the Courthouse - Bishop Mason preached here in 1897 after he was locked out of Asia Missionary Baptist Church.
  • The Jail Cell - This cell is located in the basement of the courthouse where Bishop Mason was put in jail.
  • The Old Ginhouse Site - This site, located on the bank of Black Creek, is where the old ginhouse was located. The Church of God in Christ established its first chartered church in the old ginhouse in 1897.
  • First Baptismal Site – This is where Bishop Mason performed his first baptismal service. There were 47 original charter members that were baptized.
  • Mason Street - Bishop Mason’s home was located on this street. The Street was named for him.
  • Saints School Campus (over 400 acres) - Saints Industrial and Literary School and Saints Junior College were located here. Many of the buildings yet stand.