Church History


In the spring of 1946, a group of interested citizens in the Jakesville Community outside of Lexington North Carolina were approached by the Rev. Dr. Odell Leonard about establishing a church in West Lexington.

Ira Rae Michael granted permission to the group to hold meetings in a tobacco pack house on his land near the present site of the church.  On the afternoon of April 7th, 1946, 104 persons assembled in a grove of trees near the pack house for their initial meeting.  Cleveland Michael was the superintendent of the Sunday school.  On June 16th, 1946, the assemblage decided to affiliate with the Evangelical and Reformed Church.  The congregation was formally organized Sunday afternoon, July 21st, 1946, with 99 charter members.

During the summer of 1947, services were held in a grove of trees because the old tobacco shed would not accommodate the crowds, and never once was a service interrupted by rain.  For evening services, an electric line was extended and old drop cords were used to provide illumination.

Earnest Michael, Oliver Koontz, Paul Shoaf and W M Pickett were chosen to be elders, and Virgil Leonard, Roy Roberson, Bill Leatherman, and Clarence Copply were chose to be deacons.

Dt. O.B. Michael donated the tract of land on which the church stands.  Curtis Koontz gave an additional piece of land fronting on the hard surface road; later another tract of 16 acres was acquired.

Paul’s Chapel was named in honor of Lindsay Paul Leonard, the son of the Rev. Dr. Odell Leonard who lost his life in World War II.  Lindsay Paul’s death benefit was donated by his parents to start the fund to construct the church building.

Many of the materials and mush of the labor were given by members of the congregation in order to get the construction underway.  The congregation itself contributed $3,842 and raised and received more from other sources to a grand total of $11,000.  Skinny Burke, a friend of Dr. Odell, wrote a check for $3,000 to furnish the interior when the church was completed.  The Women’s Guild of the Evangelical and Reformed Church contributed $1,000.  On Saturday afternoons, the people would dig the basement, using four or five tractors and about twenty men.

Cornerstone ceremonies for the new building took place on Sunday afternoon, October 19th, 1947, presided over by the pastor.  The dedication occurred November 19th, 1949, the ceremony was presided over by the Rev. Lonnie A Carpenter, president of the Southern Synod of the E and R Church.

Rev. Billy Joe Leonard was called to be the first full time pastor of the congregation being installed June 7th, 1953 and moving into the new parsonage.

At a special called meeting of the congregation on February 27th, 1972, we voted 100 for a 0 against to construct the education building for $159,271.  The official groundbreaking ceremonies for the new building took place on Easter Sunday in 1972.  Projects were promoted by many different Sunday school classes in the church along with the Guild and Brotherhood to furnish the various rooms and donations were made in honor of our members to be used for the needs of the new building.  Dedication ceremonies were held on April 1st, 1973.

We at Paul’s Chapel have rich history in outreach to the West Lexington Community.  It was here the fire department was started.  Here the boy and girl scouts first came to this part of Lexington, here the Lion’s Club was introduced.  We played the lion’s share of the role of establishing the community pool, held all of the ball teams that ever played in this part of Lexington and are looking forward to many more years of service to our community but most importantly service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.