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About Us - Our History

St. Paul's UCC after completed in 1958

St. Paul's United Church of Christ a year or two after its dedication in 1958

Around 1840 - Local residents started a movement in the small rural Pennsylvania community of Coxtown and surrounding townships of Richmond, Maiden Creek, and Ruscombmanor to build a conveniently located union church for both Reformed and Lutheran worship.

 

1841 - Two acres of land on a site between Fleetwood and Walnuttown were purchased from Benjamin Hoch for $40. Construction began with the laying of the cornerstone. The cost to build the plain stone church was $3,000. 

1859 - The congregation purchased an organ built by Samuel Boehler in Reading, Pa., at a cost of $800. (Around the late 1900s, the organ was rescued from a barn, restored, and is played frequently at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fleetwood today.)

 

1859 - The East Penn Railroad line was being completed along the rear of the church property around this time, which would fuel Coxtown's industrial and population growth for generations to come.

 

1873 - Railroad authorities had dubbed the new railroad station in town "Fleetwood." Town leaders incorporated this growing community as the Borough of Fleetwood. 

1883 - The cornerstone is laid for a new chapel on North Franklin Street to serve all the Christian denominations in the community. Over time, the St. Paul's Union Church was holding all their services there and maintaining the building. 

1887 - Jacob Rothermel sold land to the church to build sheds for horses and carriages. 

1893 - Joel Wartzenluft sold two acres to the church, which greatly increased the size of the cemetery. (Mr. Wartzenluft's presumed final resting place can be found in the "old section" about halfway up the slope on the far left.) 

 

1896 - Following completion of a remodeling project, the church was rededicated. 
 

1911 - The union congregation adds a two-store annex to the 1883 chapel to support a growing Sunday school program. 

By 1921 - The aging St. Paul's union church needed a major heating system upgrade, so both congregations started worshipping at St. Paul's Chapel. They continued to use the original 1841 church for spring, summer and fall communions, confirmations and special services well into the 1950s. 

 

1934 - The Reformed congregation merged with other churches to become St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church.

 

1936 - The St. Paul's Chapel was renovated to include installation of a Charles F. Durner organ from Allentown, Pa. 


Oct. 24, 1954 - Both growing congregations were pursuing construction of separate churches. The Ladies Aid Society conducted a Dissolution Service on this date. The congregations continued their fundraising efforts.

 

1957 - The Lutheran congregation moved into their newly constructed St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church at Arch and Laurel Streets. Also that year, the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches to form the United Church of Christ. The name of our church changed to reflect that union and became St. Paul's United Church of Christ.

March 9, 1958 - Our congregation held dedication services for our completed beautiful stone church at the corner of Arch and Green Streets.

1959 - The 1883 St. Paul's Chapel and 1841 Union Church were demolished several months apart. The former site of the chapel would become a new post office, which had been operating out of the First National Bank in Fleetwood. Today, the grassy site of the original church features a small monument containing the 1841 and 1883 cornerstones. 

A church wedding ceremony in 1960

A wedding in the St. Paul's U.C.C. sanctuary in 1960, officiated by the Rev. J. Paul Kehm. 

Church-educ-wing2022sm.jpg

The education wing houses Sunday school rooms, St. Paul's Preschool, and office space.

1970 - The growth in church membership and youth ministries resulted in a need for more space. The St. Paul's congregation embarked on a mission to add more Sunday school rooms and office space by constructing a new two-story education wing (pictured). 

 

1987 - Continued growth in congregational numbers resulted in a project to construct a choir room and youth room downstairs and a narthex, lounge, rest rooms and nursery above. A new, small lift connected the sanctuary to the social room and other lower level spaces. 

2010 - Our congregation embraced a new mission with the purchase of a ranch home next door to the church. The New Beginnings House provides temporary housing a family who needs a hand up to get back on their feet financially. 

 

2018 - St. Paul's UCC became an Open and Affirming congregation.

 

2020 - We embraced social media and technology by live streaming worship services and recording other special videos for the first time.

 

2022 and 2023 - A team of 20 church members from both Lutheran and UCC congregations preserved the old section by cleaning 500 gravestones dating from 1834-1920s. They refurbished the 1841 and 1883 cornerstone monument and leveled and repaired more than 100 gravestones to limit future damage. This effort coincided with Fleetwood's 150th anniversary. 

Today - As we look to the future, the members of St. Paul's United Church of Christ remain active in sharing God's word within our community and beyond. Our mission continues!

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