On the corner of Douglass Road and Thomas Ave, Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church is a beacon of hope and acceptance for the West Grove community. Founded on April 27, 1896, by Jeremiah H. Butler, Greater St. Paul in Coconut Grove was originally built to serve a community of 300 residents.
“The church is here for a purpose, it is something our community can hold on to when life beats them up and gives them a hard time,” said the Rev. Clayton Hodge, who was installed as pastor in December after serving as pastor at New Bethel AME Church in Hialeah.
Today, the church serves the 3,000 residents in the West Grove and will be celebrating its 115th anniversary on Sunday, April 10.
The day-long anniversary celebration will begin with a special Sunday school service at 8:30 a.m. for children, followed by a worship service at 10 a.m. with a talk from Diane Williams Culmer, director of The Whole World Christian Academy on 11410 Lincoln Blvd. The entire community is invited to join in a savory “dinner” to be served at noon with turkey, gravy dressings and collard greens.
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Greater St. Paul takes the words of Christ to heart, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked in its community. The Missionary Society coordinates an outreach program that provides showers, clothes, food and a worship service every Wednesday. The mission, started in 2001 by the Rev. Benjamin William McKinney, now helps more than 150 homeless.
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