The History of St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church
One summer in 1870, some of the freed black men and women in the city of Lancaster community decided to meet in a small one-room red school house. They needed a church – a meeting place. Some of the black people in attendance were: John Millers, Rob Richardsons, Charlie Creasy’s family, John and Lucy Millermore, Alfred Haley, Waldo Chiles, B.M. Whites, Laura W. Hunters, The Porters, Guston Ferrin, who became the first pastor of the church, and several others. At that meeting, the group organized the St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church.
Something delayed further action on the building project until March 1, 1882, when the first trustees of the church - John Miller, Reason Porter, and Gustus Ferrin - signed the deed to purchase one acre of land, located in the town of Lancaster, Texas for $50.00 from Thomas M. Ellis. The St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church was the first black peoples [sic] organization to own a piece of real estate in the town of Lancaster, Texas.
As the black population peaked in Lancaster to over 1,900, the church meeting house became too small and members and guests had to resort to meeting in the arbor on the church grounds. In 1905, the congregation undertook a renovation and enlargement of the worship facilities was constructed which lasted over 50 years.
Several pastors have led the congregation beginning with Pastor Gustus Ferrin, serving as the church founder to Wayne K, Campbell as the current senior pastor.
Some direct descendants of the founders of the church are current members and still instrumental in the success and growth of the church. While many members have long gone, they will always be remembered. The people of St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church will continue to provide their time, faith and strength and build on the inspirational words, “Let us build a church in which to worship God and in which to rear our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Under the leadership and vision of Pastor Campbell, St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church continues to provide ministry and community services to the Lancaster community. God knows what the future holds and their rich heritage will be forever cherished.