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St. Paul’s church celebrates 200 years in Poseyville

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By Rachel Christian

The congregation at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Poseyville has a lot to be thankful for this season. On Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., the church will celebrate its 200-year anniversary in the community with a large meal and other activities.

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From humble beginnings

For two centuries, the church has grown in size and membership. St. Paul’s became an organized church in 1916, and was originally located in a log home. Two log churches were later built and used from 1818 to 1860 by the Methodist congregation for worship.  

A frame church replaced the two log structures in 1861, and in 1904, a new modern brick church was erected in its present location.


Thriving, not surviving

In an era when many churches are struggling to fill their pews, St. Paul’s has seen an influx of new members. Rev. Paul Huntsman has been the church’s pastor for six years, and estimates that the congregation has grown 15 to 20 percent in that time.

“We are a very young church with new families joining all the time,” Huntsman said. “A lot of churches are struggling and worried about their future, but over here, we’re thriving.”

St. Paul also continues to play a prominent role in the Poseyville community.

The purpose of Community Table is a local mission to feed the hungry and provide fellowship to those in Poseyville and surrounding communities.

Community Table began five years ago, with only 25 people in attendance. Today, the church serves 75 to 120 hungry people every week. Two other area churches and many local groups contribute to the large weekly meal.

The church operates an after school program for North Elementary School students on Tuesdays and Thursdays called M.A.G.I.C., where students receive homework help, have recreation and crafts and learn basic sewing and cooking skills.
“The program reinforces good manners and works on making better decisions,” said Amy Hartig, administrative assistant at St. Paul.

St. Paul also sponsors a Boy Scout troop, Cub Scout Troops and a Daisy Girl Scout troop.

Huntsman said it’s important to him and others at the church to keep the children’s programs strong and active. This is what he credits the church’s large number of young families to.

“We try to create and sustain programs that fill the needs, wants and concerns of people in the community,” he said.
But Huntsman attributes the church’s success to more than just the events and programs they offer.

“People want to go to a church where they feel accepted, and where they can be around people who want to help them grow,” the pastor said. “No one wants to attend a place where everyone is gossiping about each other. They want a good neighbor.”

The size of the church has also expanded in order to keep up with its growing membership. St. Paul’s underwent a $5 million building project a few years ago that expanded the facility while preserving the historical structure.
Looking to the future

The church is preserving its rich history in other ways. A historical committee was formed at St. Paul’s in preparation for their 200-year celebration. The committee used a book published for the church’s 150th anniversary, and expanded it to a larger, more thoroughly researched edition with five different sections. Huntsman said the church hopes to have the books printed and available at the celebration this Saturday.

St. Paul’s Church is located at 46 South Cale Street in Poseyville.