In 1957, under the leadership of Reverend James A. Roberts, a kitchen and dining room were added to the church and a parsonage constructed at 1240 West 13th Street. During the 1958-1963 tenure of Reverend Robert J. Blaine, approximately $25,000.00 of the church’s indebtedness was liquidated.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960’s, Saint Paul AME Church was a center for planning and aiding in the struggle to improve race relations in Jacksonville. In 1964, Reverend Abraham C. Chandler, Sr. began his eighteen year pastorate. Under his administration, an air conditioning and heating system were installed, land was acquired near the church and the mortgage on the sanctuary was liquidated.
From January 1, 1982, to November 18, 2000, The Reverend Dr. James M. Proctor served as pastor of Saint Paul. Reverend Proctor believed and taught that all members are gifted and called to be involved in God’s ministry. The church experienced much growth spiritually, numerically, and financially during his tenure. Among the numerous accomplishments were: initiation of the 7:45 a.m. Worship Service, initial steps in organizing a Greeters’ Ministry, installation of a computerized management information system, employment of a full-time church staff, and the placement of volunteers in ministerial and clerical services.
Reverend Dr. James M. Proctor led the congregation in the construction of a $2.5 million dollar worship complex, erected on eight acres of land, at 6910 New Kings Road, a major thoroughfare in the northwest section of Jacksonville. This ultra-modern worship center included: a 1,000 seating capacity sanctuary; a 250 seating capacity chapel, twenty-five classrooms, eight offices, a library, Sacristy, conference room, the James M. Proctor Community Development Center and 222 parking spaces. A dedicatory service for this complex was held on September 15, 1991. Housed in the Community Development Center was the Joseph S. Coppock, Sr. Daycare Center. This modern, well-equipped learning facility, established in 1992, staffed with certified personnel, served pre-school children from the surrounding community. The vision for improving the educational level of adults, with limited formal education, became a reality with the establishment of an adult tutorial program, which provided instruction in “Life Skills.”
The year 1994 marked the establishment of the Daniel Payne Charter School, for middle school students. Inadequate instructional space necessitated relocating the school to a larger facility in north Jacksonville. Continuing its support and advocacy for quality education and meeting the individual needs of students, Saint Paul became a “Partner In Education” with Rufus E. Payne and Samuel A. Hull Elementary Schools. Students from these schools were transported by bus, to Saint Paul, where they received individualized and small group instruction in reading and math. Additionally, Saint Paul partnered with the University of North Florida in establishing Saturday classes, designed to prepare students to take the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and the American College Testing test (ACT). These classes were comprised of students from high schools in Jacksonville and St. Marys, Georgia. Following his tenure at Saint Paul, Reverend Dr. James M. Proctor was appointed Presiding Elder of the Suwannee-North District of the East Conference.
Poised to carry on the legacy of this great church and guide it to greater heights, Reverend Dr. Marvin C. Zanders, II, was appointed to the pastoral leadership of Saint Paul, November 18, 2000. Having a strong anointing for leadership development, evangelism and stewardship development, has enabled Pastor Zanders to take the congregations he has served to new levels in God. Under Reverend Zanders’ spirit-filled, visionary leadership, Saint Paul’s congregation experienced a “Season of Change: Focused on the Future, Guided by the Past.” This ministry was designed to intentionally provide many congregational opportunities for “Sharing Christ and Meeting Needs.”