How Greater St. Paul AME Church Paved the Way for Black Churches in San Angelo, Texas

Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in San Angelo in May of 1883, and was the first church for blacks, serving as the hub for the tightly-knit community which included soldiers from Fort Concho. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

According to the history of Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 217 W. 3rd St, the congregation was founded by the Rev. J.W. Walker in May of 1883, when Fort Concho was still a few year’s away from being abandoned by the Army.

The little town of Santa Angela across the river was just a handful of settlers, many of them families of soldiers attached to the fort, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in Philadelphia in almost 100 years before, was reaching out into Texas.

Walker was a Buffalo Soldier serving at Fort Concho, as well as a preacher, and he was tasked with missionary work in the new territory by AME Bishop Richard H. Cain

Although the congregation of St Paul AME is no longer active, the church’s central role for the African-American community can’t be overstated.

According to church history, their first service was held in unpainted building on East Harris Avenue, near the river at Blanton’s Bluff. A few years later a lot was purchased on the corner of Beauregard Avenue and Magdalen Street.

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Source: Go St. Angelo