Multiracial congregation celebrates merger three years later


by Maggie Ruper

Posted on August 19, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 19 at 7:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Three years after an historically black congregation merged with an historically white congregation, the nearly 200 members of the church say the key to their success is sharing a common belief.

St. Paul Baptist Church at Shively Heights celebrated its three year anniversary on Sunday.

In August of 2009 the historically black congregation from St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church merged with the historically white congregation of Shively Heights Baptist Church.

“It really wasn't that much different between us in the first place,” said Rev. Lincoln Bingham.

The church averages 200 members and they say the secret to success is a common belief.

“We believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God,” said Bingham.

The transition has been nearly seamless.

“Not only has it not been difficult, it has been a joy,” said Pastor Mark Payton.

Bingham said they still hold every service they started with, a sign membership is strong despite initial doubt from critics that the church would not survive.

“I don’t think they should criticize until they come see what’s happening,” said member Bill Lawrence.