On Sunday, Sept. 25, at the 10:00 a.m. worship service, St. Paul United Methodist Church will celebrate its 60th anniversary in its present location, 220 W. Main St.
A fixture in Christiansburg for 203 years, the church will remember the past, celebrate the present, and prepare for the future.
The current location and sanctuary is the fifth iteration of St. Paul. The church began in 1819 with the Rev. Kennerly in a log structure identified simply as a “meeting house.” The church first moved to what was tagged simply as “a more formal place of worship” before moving again to a second log building. The next move was to a brick building that still exists in Christiansburg on Franklin Street as a realty office. The next move was around 1902 to a larger church building near the old Courthouse. This remained the congregation’s home until 1962 when the building was purchased by Montgomery County.
Then in 1962, the congregation had grown large enough to move into its present location. The Rev. Ira Astin led the church in building the sanctuary and the educational building and preparing the church for its future. Both the church’s congregation and its ministry in the community have continued to grow since what was its final move to date.
At the 60th-anniversary celebration worship service, the congregation will highlight the history of the church by recreating the picture taken the day of the first service in its present sanctuary when 537 folks of all ages were present, which the church still claims as its largest attendance ever. Church photographer Mike Gummer will take a picture of the full congregation in attendance at the Sept. 25 worship service.
Today, the Rev. Michael Derflinger, “ Rev. Mike,” and a team of church leaders provide leadership for the congregation, which has its sights on at least 60 more years of service to Christiansburg and the greater community.
The service on Sept. 25 will include music from the St. Paul handbell choir led by Dale Huff, and performances by both the church’s adult and children’s choirs. A unique feature of the day will be a presentation by bassoonist Valanda Nelson, whose mother, Jean, was for years the church’s handbell director and a key member of the church’s music program.
At the conclusion of the service that day, the congregation will gather in the Fellowship Hall for a celebration luncheon, for which Methodists are famously and justifiably known. The church members extend a sincere and earnest invitation to the Christiansburg community and all their neighbors and friends to join them for this special day, a time of giving thanks to God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon St. Paul during its 60 years in its current home and its 203 years in Christiansburg.