The History of St. Paul United Methodist Church
St. Paul was founded in 1869 by a few former salves in the County of Chambers and the Community of Double Bayou. These former slaves had been freed a few years and needed a place to worship. They established a Methodist Church called Methodist Episcopal Church of Double Bayou.
One of our founders, Martha Mayes Godfrey, who was born a slave in Tennessee around 1812; was brought to Texas in 1830 by her slave masters, the Mayes family. They settled in Double Bayou.
According to record after the death of Martha Godfrey’s husband Zechariah Godfrey (August 31, 1877) the land for the church and cemetery were donated to the trustees of St. Paul ( May 25, 1878). The trustees at that time were William Rivers, Soloman Gill, George Rivers and Doph Mayes. The Cemetery is named in Martha Godfrey’s Honor.
The founders of St. Paul accomplished a remarkable feat in that they established a church, (one of the oldest in Chambers County) with blessings from God, inspiration, faith and determination. The term “United” was added to all Methodist Churches in 1968.
Founders William Rivers and Solomon Gill were the first to teach the alphabet and Church Catechism in the Double Bayou School, which was held in St. Paul from 1882 to 1888. St. Paul served as a school to the community until 1920.
There were several traditions of the Old St. Paul worth noting. Like many early churches, St. Paul was the center of the social life. For example box suppers, church meetings, Sunday School and other occasions were all looked forward to at St. Paul. Mothers were assured their children would behave at church. Whatever the mothers missed, the “Church Sexton” who sat at in the back of the church with a long stick, would most likely see. Any child caught “misbehaving” would be popped with a stick. One reports that church dues were 10 cents a month. In 1880 ten cents was not always easy to give.
St. Paul United Methodist Church is white framed with plain white wooden walls. Eight paned windows with green, yellow, dark blue and light blue panes and a simple crafted wooden cross. Our bell tower contains two bells. One is large with loud clear ring. The other, called a toner, is small with a muffled tone. The “Church Sexton” rang the toner bell once for each year of a person’s life to announce their death.
St. Paul was a member of the Gulf Coast Conference until 1970 when it was taken into the Texas Conference. In 2006 the Texas Conference went from twelve districts to nine districts, which redistricted St. Paul and the Anahuac Circuit from the Beaumont District to where we are now, the South East District. In 1955, an addition was added to the church; later the west wing was added. In 1968, St. Paul began having its Annual Homecoming Service under the leadership of Reverend L. T. Davis. In the early 70’s, carpet, a bathroom, air conditioning and pews were added. In December 1982, A Historical Marker was placed at St. Paul. In June 1986, Reverend Shirley Allen Jenkins became our fist female pastor. In 1995, Brother Ocie Jackson donated one acre of land for additional parking. In 2002, the Pastor’s Study, another bathroom, and a computer room were added. In 2008, St. Paul began a monthly newsletter and established a website (www.st.pauldoublebayou.com) St. Paul has been blessed with fifty Pastors, starting with Reverend H. E. Patterson in 1872 to our current Pastor, Mary Shotlow. St. Paul was so well founded that it has continued to serve the community and spread the word for God for 143 years.