brief history of st. paul's

St. Paul's Lutheran Church is located about 4 ½ miles south of Salisbury on St. Paul's Church Road just off of Old Concord Road.  The present spacious modern building with the Educational Wing was not the first building.  St. Paul's was an outgrowth of the "Holshouser Church" in which several denominations worshipped: Lutherans, Reformed, Presbyterians, regularly; and Methodists and Baptists, occasionally.  The "Holshouser Church" was so named because Mr. Andrew Holshouser gave the five acres where the church was built "near the large white oak tree on the side of the cemetery towards the woods."  Mr. Holshouser's first gift of five acres was near the "Heilig's Mill," but since one group wished to leave and build a church in Faith, the site was moved.  (Heilig's Mill was on Crane Creek off of St. Paul's Church Road near the housing development of Oakridge Estates.)  Rev. John Lentz organized St. Paul's Lutheran Church with 17 members.  By 1866, the church was no longer a "Union" church, but completely Lutheran.


In 1868-72, a new brick building was erected just in front of the present sanctuary.  The bricks were made in Allison Misenheimer's brick yard (formerly belonging to Frank Rimer and Allen Heilig) just off of the Old Concord Road to the left approximately ¾ mile south of St. Paul's Church Road.  In 1893-94, the brick building was enlarged and remodeled with a seating capacity of 450 at a cost of $1,000.  The auditorium was redecorated, ceiling, and lighting changed in 1953 to $4,500.  The Educational Building with a final cost of well over $100,000 was completed in 1955.  Repairs to the main sanctuary in 1960 were made for $3,119.45, and renovations costing $130,000 in 1967.


Spacious, well-landscaped grounds surround the beautiful building.  The church owns approximately 50 acres.  These were acquired by gifts or purchases.


On the grounds are two paved tennis courts, basketball goals, baseball, and volleyball fields.  To add to the enjoyment of the surroundings a picnic shelter including a kitchen was built for fellowship and fun.  A well-kept cemetery with graves dating from early times is on the east side of the church.  The old cemetery had a rock wall built in 1857, but was removed in 1908; and much of it was used in the building of Old Concord Road.


St. Paul's and Lutheran Chapel in China Grove shared a pastor from 1855 to 1882 when St. Paul's and Bethel were put into one charge.  In 1916, St. Paul's asked if they could become self-supporting, but there was no other church nearby to be in the charge with Bethel so this relationship continued until 1939, when St. Paul's became self-supporting.


St. Paul's has had 188 years of life in the community, and has received and given much during this time.  She stands today as one of the outstanding rural churches in the North Carolina Synod with 552 baptized members and a budget over $490,000.  St. Paul's has not been afraid of change it if makes her better able to serve Christ by making Him real to her people.  She has known 37 pastors during her 188 years and has given 21 sons to be pastors.