Changing demographics bring revitalization to congregation
June 7, 2016
Saint Paul Presbyterian Church began its ministry in southwest Houston 60 years ago as a suburban congregation. About 25 years later Saint Paul gladly welcomed its first African-immigrant members. As the neighborhood changed and the original congregation began to age, African immigrants began to revitalize the church. When Dr. Kevin R. Boyd was called as pastor in 2003, Saint Paul was facing the challenges of changing demographics. He encouraged Saint Paul’s fledgling African choir, Calabash, to be part of every service. Today the choir, composed of members from numerous African countries, leads God’s people weekly in praise, alongside a traditional choir as well as a praise band.
Calabash, under the direction of Didi Ndando, has recorded two albums of African praise music. Today Saint Paul is a truly multicultural church. It has birthed churches of immigrants from many countries, including China, Burma, and several African countries. It sponsored the Rev. Jacob George to serve as a mission worker in South Sudan and has developed a sister church relationship with a Presbyterian church in Pakistan, whose pastor and Boyd sometimes preach to each other’s congregations via Skype.
Saint Paul recently had its first small group meeting for Urdu-speaking Christians. In the words of a worship song in the Mokpe language from Cameroon, “Na Lingani lemba na te na wu. O lokise Lowa munyengi!” (Translation: “I feel like singing and praising God ’til I am overwhelmed, because God’s son, Jesus, has been given to die for our sake!”)
Rev. Dr. Kevin Boyd, Saint Paul Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Welcoming God, fulfill in us the great petition of Christ, that all who love you would be one, that our
community might be a sign of reconciliation to a hurting and broken world. In the name of Jesus Christ,
our strong savior, we pray. Amen.