Dr. James F. Wertz
After a careful search, Saint Paul elected James F. Wertz as minister in 1944. He brought to the church a new vision. A firm believer in Christian Education, Reverend Wertz implemented plans for Bible Studies and workshops to aid the total man. Church members were encouraged to attend more state, local and national conventions in order to help lay a foundation that would benefit the church and community. Because of the continuous growth in membership, the Board of Deacons and Trustees were increased and a part-time secretary was hired. In addition, Senior Choir II, Young Adults, two gospel choirs and a one hundred voice choir were organized.
In 1947, Reverend Wertz’s vision led to the creation of the Homemakers Convention. It was a month-long function (October 31st to December 1st.) that included the participation of other churches and schools in the City. Events such as an Oratorical contest, a Womanless Wedding and Slabtown conventions were special features. During this time, Saint Paul formed a lasting relationship with Saint John’s Baptist Church, becoming sister churches.
Meanwhile, the present structure was no longer equipped to serve the needs of the overflowing congregation, so plans were begun for a larger building. The church purchased property at the corner of East First and South McDowell Streets. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Sunday, August 28, 1949 at 4:30 PM. The construction of the new church began in October 1949, and was completed in June 1950.
On the first Sunday in July 1950, members marched to the new church, located at 515 South McDowell Street. The site chosen for the church was known as “crime corner.” When asked “why put a church here?” Reverend Wertz answered, because this is where a church is needed in the Brooklyn section.” Results were seen immediately. Now with a full-time staff of four, Saint Paul expanded its services to the entire community. The church began a radio ministry each Sunday morning in July 1951, on station WGIV at 11:00 AM. About the same time, the church housed the first day nursery in the area funded by United Community Service. The Scouting continued to grow as the church embraced the boys in the community. Relationships were formed with Myers Park Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and the Little Church on the Lane.
As Saint Paul continued to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the community, Saint Paul was forced out of the Brooklyn section of Charlotte, its home since 1900. To build or to buy an existing church would become one of the most important decisions for the members. After several months of conflict, Saint Paul purchased Allen Street Baptist at 1401 N. Allen Street, its current location and moved on June 8, 1969. Despite the pain and conflict, Saint Paul’s interest was turned to serving the people in North Charlotte.
As the struggles slowly faded, Reverend Wertz announced his retirement. A replacement was found and he retired after twenty-seven years of service on June 28, 1970.