Under the Episcopal Leadership of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Presiding Prelate, Fifth Episcopal District, St. Paul A.M.E. Church enjoys the unique position of being the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California. St. Paul has been a tradition in the community for over 78 years.
AME historians and observers credit the early forward thinking of Rev. E.M. Elliott for developing a strong foundation Through his leadership and pastoral facilitation. Rev. Elliott proudly reported his one conversion and three members to the 69th Annual Session of the California Conference held September 20-25, 1933. Known at that time as the Berkeley Mission, the Conference endorsed this "pebble" of a spiritual movement and encouraged its future growth and development.
At the close of the conference, with official sanction in hand, Rev. Elliott worked diligently to further develop the Berkeley Mission. Early developmental meetings were held in the home of Rev. and Mrs. Speese at 3033 Harper St., in Berkeley. Recorded participants included Rev. & Mrs. Speese, Mr & Mrs Chrisman, Mrs. Nellie Chrisman, Mrs. Ethel Culiver and Mrs. Mahalia Boxhill. As a result of their efforts a temporary church headquarters was established at the corner of Grove and Russell Streets. Mr. & Mrs. Julian were the first converts at the opening of the new church. The Church Sunday School, established during its first week also showed promises of success when three children joined.
Maturity and expansion of this magnificent church steadily progressed by the grace of God and a succession of pastoral appointments. The property at 1630 Fairview Street was purchased under the leadership of Rev. H.C. Claybrook. The name Berkeley Mission was changed to St. Paul AME Church and the seal of incorporation was secured in early 1937. St. Paul moved to its current location at 2024 Ashby Avenue in 1953, under the pastorate of Rev. J. Austell Hall. In 1995, construction was completed on the new 1.5 million sanctuary under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Vernon S. Burroughs.
St. Paul has been served by a distinguished list of ministers including: Rev. AA Moore. Rev. H.C. Claybrook, Rev. C.W. Smith, Rev A. Ward, Rev. S. Rhone, Rev. M. Hawkins, Rev. J. Bell, Rev. J.Morton, Rev. F. Stephens, Rev. A. Shaw, Rev. J. Austell Hall, Rev. Paul Kidd, Rev. E.P. Williams, Rev. Geroge W. Baber, Rev. J. Russell Brown, Rev. A. Lee Henderson, Rev. Daniel Pinkard, Presiding Elder Felix Dancy , Presiding Elder Vernon Burroughs, Rev. Allen L. Williams, Rev. Leslie R. White and our current pastor, Rev. Anthony Hughes.