In 2015, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church celebrated 100 years of its founding. With a theme of Celebrating the Past, and Embracing the Future. Today, we also We Serve in the Present. Certainly St. Paul’s has had a rich history. Members have come from every walk of life and they have contributed greatly to the fabric of Manteca and surrounding community. They have been instrumental in farming, agriculture and canning, met medical needs as doctors, nurses and support staff; owned small businesses including jewelry, pharmacy, grocery, hardware and construction enterprises; served as teachers, school administrators, lawyers, city-state and federal workers—worked locally and even commuted to the Bay Area or other communities to support their families or themselves.

Members have served through their church; volunteered through the hospital auxiliary, been members of civic groups like Kiwanis, Rotary, Soroptimist, Manteca Federated Women, the Historical Society; promoted the arts like Kindred Arts, or participated in community music groups; worked with youth in sports, scouts, masonic organizations; run and donated blood to help those in need; worked with other church and community groups to help the homeless, provide students with after-school learning support, a warm jacket or school supplies and assisted senior citizens; provided a supportive hand through a Food Pantry or place to hold organizational meetings; some have served in elective city, county and special district offices.

They have been the unsung heroes helping the community or recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty through recognition by the Manteca Hall of Fame. They have helped groups like Haven of Peace, Give Every Child a Chance, Boys and Girls Club, the Hospital Auxiliary, and much, much more. They have done so because they have the community in mind and as Christians they follow the path of Jesus --to care for others.

 

Many of the seeds planted in the first 50 years of St. Paul’s have borne fruit. Here are some of the hightlights of the challenges, struggles and successes of ministry. As one pastor, Darryl Thomas, put it the 50 Year History from 1915 to 1965 it has “certain recurring themes: growth, spiritual crisis, renewal, financial crisis, surges of spiritual and moral vigor” plus challenges of each new decade.

  • 1910 completion of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, $4 million

  • 1912 Union Chapel built and dedicated on the southeast corner of North Street and Sycamore Avenue. Shared by the Brethren, Methodist, Congregational and Christian congregations each group had the Chapel one weekend a month

  • September, 1915 founding of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Manteca

  • November 5, 1915 Ladies Aid of the local Methodist church was organized at the home of Mrs WC Callander

  • September, 1916 Remodeled paint store served the congregation until April 14, 1918 when a church was dedicated on the southwest corner of Yosemite and Sequoia Avenues. Cost was $6,453.15 for the work. Land, building and furnishings were estimated at $12,000.

  • 1925 Methodists and Baptists joined together to establish a federated church after the Baptist church burned down. Began with the New Year, 1926

  • 1931- Rev. Kennedy requested a $100 cut in his $1,000 salary on grounds a pastor should share the financial depression with his people

  • September of 1937, first woman pastor, J. Marguerite Cole, was appointed

  • November of 1938, first Men’s Group was formed, A Mission Study group also was formed in the church that month as a branch of the Ladies Aid.

  • October of 1940, the Women’s Society of Christian Service was organized. The organization combined the Woman’s Home Missionary Society, Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid.

  • 1941-1953 The Rev. Gerald R. Lowe began the longest pastorate in the church’s history—12 years

  • May of 1943, the church sponsored a Memorial Day service with the American Legion and its Auxiliary.

  • March 8, 1949 An addition to the church at Yosemite and Sequoia was completed and an official dedication of the building was held

  • In 1952, a committee began to look for land for a new church. March, 1953, a 3 acre site on which the church is currently located was donated by a member who wished to remain anonymous

  • October, 1955 a committee was formed to name the new church. The name St. Paul’s Federated Methodist-Union Baptist Church was chosen. On May 27, 1956, the new sanctuary was officially consecrated. The new parsonage was consecrated August 25, 1957 on the same 3-acre plot.

  • April 13, 1958 the church schoolrooms, office, pastor’s study, choir room, and other meeting rooms were built next. They were consecrated on May 11.