The first Lutheran service, for a group of individuals who were later to
form the nucleus of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, was held on
May 26, 1921. The Rev. W.F. Troeger, Pastor of Pilgrim Evangelical
Lutheran Church of Santa Monica, California, conducted the service.
Later, services were regularly conducted in that city in the home of Mrs. Josephine Walters and continued without interruption for four years. About the same time, the sainted Pastor J.W. Theiss, of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles, was authorized by his congregation to begin mission work among the African Americans of Los Angeles. A mission group met in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Pollard. Pastor Theiss served this mission group for a period of three years.
In the summer of 1925 the sainted Pastor John McDavid, of Charlotte, North Carolina was called as the first resident missionary. Pastor McDavid was installed on September 11, 1925. On September 20th the two small groups were merged and organized as St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles, numbering 36 souls.
A modest church property was purchased in the summer of 1926 at 666 East 37th Street, Los Angeles, California. At the time of Pastor McDavid’s death in October 1937, St. Paul had grown to 172 souls.
The labor at St. Paul was continued by the sainted Pastor Paul D. Lehman in December 1937. By the grace of God, the congregation grew and prospered. On March 6, 1955, dedication services were held for the present edifice. Handicapped by the loss of his voice as a result of throat surgery, Rev. Lehman retired in 1965.
The sainted Rev. Harvey J. Lehman, brother of the late Rev. Paul D. Lehman, was installed on November 7, 1965 to continue God’s work at St. Paul. Under his guidance, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary. Pastor Harvey J. Lehman retired in 1980 after 15 years of leadership at St. Paul.
The Rev. Ronald Rehrer accepted the call to serve St. Paul as its pastor in 1980. Under his leadership the congregation continued its growth and development with the institution of annual leadership retreats and intentional focus on worship. Pastor Rehrer led the congregation in ministry until 1987 when he accepted a call to serve the Pacific Southwest District.
In 1988 the Rev. Carl E. Robinson was installed as pastor of St. Paul. During his tenure the congregation continued to focus its outreach on the community. Pastor Robinson accepted a call to another congregation in 1992.
After an intentional interim period of one year under the leadership of Rev. Robert Faga, the Rev. Glenn A. Lucas was called to serve St. Paul as pastor. He was installed on August 22, 1993. During the tenure of Pastor Lucas the congregation focused its work in three areas. Facility improvements, family ministry, and worship service. In 1998 the congregation purchased the adjacent Mary Clay Preschool property and opened its own childcare ministry under the direction of Mrs. Mary Biggers. The purchase of this property marked a significant commitment to our church’s future.
A strong youth ministry has become an important part of the church’s life. Music is a significant part of the worship life at St. Paul. It centers on an exciting Senior Choir under the direction of Dr. John McDavid Lehman, Jr., the church’s Musical Director and Organist since 1978. Rev. Glenn A. Lucas served at St. Paul until 2001 when he accepted a call to serve the Pacific Southwest District.
From 2001 to 2006 St. Paul continued to share and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the direction of the Deacon Board, Interim Pastor, The Rev. Dr. Richard D. Paul and Vacancy Pastor, Rev. Gregory Seltz.
We sent the Divine Call to Reverend Dr. S T Williams, Jr. in March 2005. Pastor Williams was installed during our 81st Church Anniversary as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul congregation. Under Pastor Williams shepherding we continue to build on our strengths and reach out to our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We continue to offer several forms of user-friendly worship services at 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM, a blend of traditional and cultural specific music and liturgy. Each Sunday we lift high the cross and proclaim the love of Christ. We study the Word together as a family on campus and in our Home Groups. Early communion and youth and adult confirmation classes continue to enrich the lives of our members. We support our senior membership and community with pastoral care and deacon visitation.
Our outreach ministries include: pre-school students and families, homeless referrals, foster care youth programs, food and clothing (during the holidays), crisis management, marriage and family counseling, active duty, reserve and veterans support services.
We are blessed to have partnerships with: World City Center (pre-school and before and after school), Dream Catcher's Foster Care Agency, Greater Los Angeles Veteran Administration, Brentwood, City/County of Los Angeles Voter Polling, Listening, Immersing, Neighboring, Contending of LA (LINC-LA), Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Concordia University, Irvine (CUI), Concordia College, Selma, Alabama.
Our international mission partners are: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) and Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN).
In 2016 we continue our mission of embracing our blessed past, while pressing toward the future as The Lighthouse on West Adams (John 8:12) We remain grounded and faithful to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the CENTER and He directs our mission and ministry efforts.
St. Paul remains thankful to the magnificent grace of God as He faithfully and continuously allows us to do His will.