The Fiftieth Anniversary
When St. Paul Church celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary on Sunday, October 16, 1921, grass and flowers still grew in front of the building and between the sidewalk and the curb. Shade trees lined Third Street, and the building was only five years old.
Three services were held that Sunday, with guest choirs and organists from Lorain and Amherst, and guest preachers from Cincinnati, Michigan, Oberlin, Amherst, Valley City, Lorain, and Cleveland. On Monday evening , October 17, the Second Congregational Sunday School Orchestra furnished the music and guest speakers were pastors from other Elyria churches. Tuesday evening saw a night of fellowship and entertainment. Instrumental music was furnished by Frank Kolinski, Karl Kolinski, Morris Ferchland, and Rev. Nathaniel Lehmann. The Youth Fellowship put on a Mock Chautauqua, and Professor P. D. Sherman of Oberlin College presented readings.
|Hanging the bell in St. Paul steeple|
In 1923 the congregation bought half of the lot adjoining the church, which added twenty-three feet frontage to the church property. At various occasions considerable sums were spent to repair or improve the church property, such as, the purchase of a large church bell, the remodeling of the church steeple, the replacing of the front steps, and the redecorating of the interior.
Rev. Bourquin served the church until the fall of the year 1929 when Rev. Ernst Irion of Kewaskum, Wisconsin was called to be pastor of St. Paul Church. Rev. Irion served the longest pastorate in the history of our church, spanning 24 years from 1929-1953. During this time the congregation celebrated both their 70th and 75th anniversaries.
|Rev. Ernst Irion|
In 1941, on Sunday, October 19, St. Paul celebrated its Seventieth Anniversary. The Chronicle-Telegram in an editorial on October 17, wrote: "Congratulations and best wishes to the congregation of St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church. During these 70 years many sacrifices have been made and much personal effort has been put forth so the church could grow and prosper and a splendid result has been achieved. We congratulate the pastor, Rev. Ernst Irion, and everyone connected in any way with this fine church. The influence of such a church in a community can never be measured!"
This anniversary was observed during the week of October 13 to 20, 1946. Sunday, October 13, was Homecoming, with the three former living pastors of the congregation as speakers: Revs. N. Lehmann, G. K. Krause, and P. Bourquin. Wednesday, October 16, was Family Night, with Rev. Paul Irion, son of the pastor, as speaker. Sunday, October 20, was the Anniversary Service, with Dr. Emil N. Krafft, President of Northeast Ohio Synod as the speaker.
During the pastorate of Rev. Irion both growth and change occurred.
|Sanctuary at 250 Third Street|
|Classroom in church basement|
The German Evangelical Synod of North America broadened out into the less ethnic Evangelical Synod of North America and then joined with the Reformed Church in 1934 to create the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
New organizations were started within the St. Paul E & R Church. In 1940, the Young Married Group (YMG) was organized to provide an opportunity for young married folks to participate, as a group, in the church program.
In 1944 Mrs. A. C. Vietzen was requested to organize the Girls' Guild, whose program and purpose is very much like that of the Women's Guild. It provides an opportunity for the girls and young women in our church to help promote the work of the church and to cultivate Christian Fellowship.
In the post World War II era, St. Paul's congregation grew to its largest size of 600 members.
In 1953, the Rev. Walter Reif became the minister at St. Paul. During his pastorate the congregation celebrated its 85th anniversary.
Sunday, October 7 - "Anniversary Communion Service"
|Rev. Walter Reif|
Sunday, October 14 - "Church Anniversary Sunday" featured Rev. Elam G. Wiest, President of Northeast Ohio Synod as guest speaker and the dedication of the Junior Choir gowns.
Tuesday, October 16 - "Anniversary Banquet", an evening of friendship, singing, and an entertaining speaker, Mr. Donald M. Hodgkins of the Leadership Training Institute of Cleveland.
At the time of this 85th Anniversary, St. Paul was again to enter a building campaign. The present church site was purchased on July 1, 1956. At the meeting in January, 1957, the congregation authorized the securing of assistance from a professional fund raiser for the purpose of raising funds for a new church. A five week canvas was conducted by Ivan S. Justice Associates of Elyria and concluded at Easter, 1957, with three year pledges amounting to $73,972.00. The church property on Third Street was sold to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church on April 27, 1958. St. Paul's congregation initially rented its former church building from St. Mary's and eventually moved services to the gymnasium of the Franklin School on Eleventh Street.
Back to the Index