On January 30, 1887, a small public schoolhouse was used for the purpose of organizing Coronado’s first church, the Coronado Methodist Episcopal Church. Later that afternoon, the first Sunday School was begun. Land was donated for the church by Mr. Babcock and Mr. Story, with the proviso that the church building be enclosed by September 1, 1887. On June 22, 1887, the cornerstone for first church building was laid on the northeast corner of 7th & E, where high school buildings now stand. The church building was completed within 60 days.
In 1917, due to expansion of Coronado, there was a need for more playground space for the public schools. A land exchange was arranged, and the church moved across the street to St. Paul’s present location on the corner of 7th St. and D Ave. A new cornerstone was laid and a beautiful white church was built. The new church was equipped with interior sliding doors that separated the living quarters for the pastor from the sanctuary.
Photo of the Methodist Church at corner of 7th & D built in 1917
In 1920, a parsonage, called Wesley House, was built adjacent to the church which served St. Paul’s pastors and their families for many years. It enabled the pastor to move out of the sanctuary building and into a private residence and was very much appreciated.
The church officially changed its name to ‘St. Paul’s Methodist “Church of the Voyager” in 1947 in recognition of the close ties that many Navy families had developed with the church over the years.
Due to the growing population of Coronado and membership of our church, an Education Building was constructed. Its excellent design has resulted in its continuous use from that time to the present for Sunday School, fellowship, community service and mission outreach.
Photo of the Church Sanctuary Completed in 1963
The “Little White Church” became too small for a growing membership, and in April 1963, on Palm Sunday, the first worship services in a new sanctuary were held. The red stained glass panels used in the sanctuary came from the stained glass of the church building that was torn down. The Coronado Journal reported:
“One of the most impressive buildings in this or any other town regardless of size is the new St. Paul’s Methodist Church. The only thing anyone can say of this House is that the Good Lord smiled on it from the first rock, and as each piece was put in place, it became just plain beautiful and everyone is extremely proud of it.”
In 1968, the Methodist Church and the United Evangelical Brethren Church joined to form the United Methodist Church, thus the named changed to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church of the Voyager and continues to this day.
Wesley House was deemed to be too small and old to adequately support a pastor with family. The membership voted to purchase a new house on Pomona Ave. for use as a parsonage, leaving the Wesley House available for the youth program. In the early 1980s, St. Paul’s had the opportunity to purchase a residential lot adjacent to the Wesley House and did so with the anticipation of future growth.
Construction was completed in 2009 on a major addition to St. Paul’s facilities on the property that had been purchased in previous years plus the land on which stood the Wesley House. This new building provides a nursery, pre-school room, modern restrooms, choir room, youth den, classrooms, library and needed storage. The Wesley House sign placed above stairs that lead down to basement youth den came from the original Wesley House in recognition of what that little white-board house had meant to the youth. In 2011, a coffee cove was added to provide convenient beverage and snack service to both the patio area as well as the Fellowship Hall.
As St. Paul’s continues in its 125th year of service, the staff and congregation are deeply grateful for the facilities provided for by members of St. Paul’s over many years and generations. They are most grateful for the many years of service given by the faithful as Sunday School teachers, choir members, youth leaders, trustees and committee members in a wide variety of mission, service and administrative areas.
Photo of Church Taken in 2010 at Sunset
Submitted Article from Lee Cargill
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