The first service was held in the new building on Sunday, December 14, 1958, even though construction was not entirely completed. Church school met at 9:30 a.m. followed by church worship at 10:45. The church school also presented its Christmas program that day at 7 p.m.
An architect, when designing a church building today, is searching for an expression of the religious faith of the people it is to serve. This faith is not only contemporary, but its roots go back far into the past. Those forms and symbols that through tradition have become a part of our mode of worship and the expression of our faith are retained. The Cross is the most familiar emblem of the Christian faith and it has been so placed, both in the sanctuary, and outside the building, as to carry a message to the worshipers and the community.
The spire of the church was designed in delicate framework so as not to overpower the main building, but to be reaching heavenward and to carry aloft the stainless steel cross which reflects the lights from the sky during the day, and is illuminated at night to stand as a beacon to the neighborhood, and to those who pass by. The front of the church is highlighted by a large cross that is backlighted at night, and extends in front of colorful limestone.
Color has been used in many ways, through stone, paint, and wood, to express the joy of religion. The focal point of the worshiping congregation is the cherry altar. The organ grille and its colorful panels were used to form a background for this altar.
The plan of the building provides for a multitude of church programs, social and educational as well as worship. It can also be expanded in the future to take care of a growing congregation.
The dedication service for the new church was held on May 17, 1959, with an additional dedication service held for the organ one week later on May 24, 1959. The sanctuary and classroom area had been built at a cost of $158,000. The use of folding chairs in the sanctuary provided the flexibility to use the sanctuary as a fellowship hall. The present day church office area served as the kitchen.
The Rev. Bruce Kriete served as the pastor for St. Paul from May of 1962 to 1968. During this time the second important phase of the building project was completed. The new educational wing, fellowship hall, and kitchen were constructed at a cost of $139,000. At this time permanent wooden pews were added to the sanctuary. The new facilities were dedicated on Sunday, May 16, 1965 with the Rev. Paul Irion serving as guest speaker. An estimated 450 people attended the afternoon open house which included organ and vocal presentations by Nathan Williams, Jennifer Bauman, Mrs. Howard Washka, Edward Sayles, Mrs. Carl Henes, Maureen Schrader, and the Cherub and Herald Choirs directed by Mrs. William J. Edwards.
One Hundreth Anniversary
Wednesday, October 16, 1996 was the actual anniversary day. We had a special service with Holy Communion for rededicating the church. The following Sunday (Oct. 20) we welcomed Dr. Ralph Quellhorst, Ohio Conference Minister, as guest speaker. The newly landscaped planter was dedicated to the late Rev. Martin Waidmann, former St. Paul minister. After a tureen dinner, the St. Paul Chancel Choir presented "Our Faith in Song," a collection of hymns that match the themes portrayed in our stained-glass windows. Lastly, Kathryn Hodgson buried the Anniversary Time Capsule.
Rev. Franklin's last service was on Sunday, May 30th, 1999. He took a position as full-time minister at First Congregational UCC in Springfield, Illinois.
Several people stepped in to preach while the new Search Committee interviewed candidates for an interim minister. Rev. Ken Hutchinson, Jr. served as interim pastor for almost three years, until May 19, 2002. The Rev. Dr. Allen H. Grothe shared his first worship service with us on May 26, 2002. He came to us from St. Peter UCC in Seven Hills, Ohio, where he had served since 1980.
During the summer of 2011, Pastor Grothe announced he had been called to serve Pilgrim UCC in St. Louis, Missouri. His last worship service with us was November 6, 2011. The Rev. Tom French, a member of St. Paul, served as an interim pastor through the advent season until the arrival of Rev. Kim Bayless, who served as interim for a year. Toward the end of her time with us, the Search Committee called upon the Rev. Bret Myers, of Wisconsin, to be our long-term pastor. On January 6, 2013, the congregation voted unanimously to welcome Rev. Myers as our seated pastor, a calling which he graciously accepted.