History

The year was 1827.  The United States was barely 50 years old.  The Civil War was still more than a generation away.  And in a little town now known as Jefferson in Frederick County, Maryland, a group of Lutherans decided to build a church.  Joining with a Reformed Congregation, they erected a small stone church in the rear of the present building.  St. Paul Lutheran Church was first organized in 1825 and was incorporated in 1841.

St. Paul continued to join with and separate from other Lutheran churches in the area. For about twelve years after its founding, the fledgling congregation was part of the Middletown, Maryland, charge.  In 1838, St. Paul was separated from the Middletown parish and joined with Mt. Zion in Burkittsville and St. Matthew’s on the Manor and was known collectively as the Jefferson charge.  In 1850 the congregation purchased the Dr. Cronise house for $2000 to be used as a parsonage.  The parsonage located beside the church was built in 1847 as a doctors office.  In 1858 Burkittsville left the charge and St. Matthew’s in 1886. The Jefferson parish then consisted of St. Paul in Jefferson and Mt. Zion and St. Luke in Feagaville.  This three church parish continued until 1966, when St. Paul became an independent church.

In 1841, the Lutheran and Reformed congregations decided to build separate buildings.  A lot was purchased and a brick church was constructed. The building was "45’ long, 35’ wide, and 18’ in the clear."  The original construction contract called for "an altar, a pulpit, pews with two aisles, and a ten foot end gallery in the rear."  A basement was furnished with pews and a desk.  The original donors list can be seen at this link.

The present church building was erected on the site of the original building in 1866.  It has been in continuous use since that time, although it has undergone several renovations, some planned and some not.  In 1874 the rear gable was blown in by a violent storm, and when it was repaired tower bells were added.

In 1897 repairs and improvements were made to the interior of the church, including new leaded glass windows, light reflectors, and a pipe organ.  In the 1940’s the interior of the church was again redecorated and organ chimes were installed. In 1952, a two-story educational building was added to the rear of the church.  A complete interior renovation done at that time included the installation of new lights and carpets and moving the organ.  In 1972 the church steeple was lighted, making St. Paul a landmark in the Jefferson skyline.  In 1977 another renovation took place that included new lighting, carpet and gold trim painting.  On May 2 of 1999 the congregation dedicated the former parsonage as the new Bishop Morris Zumbrun Parish House.  The parish house is used for Christian education and the Jefferson Food Bank.  In 2008 another sanctuary renovation was taken on by the St. Paul membership replacing flooring and pews.

St. Paul has always been a place where the Gospel is preached and the Word is studied.  As far as is known, there has always been an active Sunday School program from the first days of the church.  The St. Paul Sunday School has had one of the longest lasting church bands in Frederick County, having been organized in 1927 and active until 1999.

The women of St. Paul have never been ones to sit quietly on the sidelines.  In 1883, ten women organized the Women’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society.  Although this organization has had several name changes, including the Women’s Missionary Society, the United Church Women, and the Lutheran Church Women, it is now known as the Woman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is affiliated with both Synod and Church wide organizations.

The youth of St. Paul have been nearly as active.  The first youth group was organized in 1889 and was known as the Young Peoples Mission Band.  Even though the name has been changed to the Young Peoples Missionary and Aid Society, the Light Brigade, Children of the Church, Young Peoples Missionary Society, the Luther League and to the present St. Paul’s Youth (SPY), the young people have been very active in our church.  This activity has continued with the youth participating in the Camp Hope project yearly since the late 1980s. 

An excerpt from the "Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland 1820-1920" provides an interesting insight to the history of  St. Paul through some of its earliest years up to 1920.

St. Paul Lutheran Church continues to grow and change.

 

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St. Paul Lutheran Church Inclement Weather Policy

Beginning Sunday September 10

Modern Worship at 8:30 AM
Sunday School at 9:45 AM
Traditional Worship at 11:00 AM

 

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