About Our Pastor

The Reverend Larry McDonald, Sr. is a native of Fayetteville, NC and was assigned to St. Paul AME Church in June 2023. Pastor McDonald is married to his loving wife, Sheila Vanhook McDonald for years and are proud parents of two children: Larry McDonald Jr. (Tasmin & Taylen) and Olivia Simone McDonald.

He is a graduate of Fayetteville State University and Bowling Green State University and a member of the FSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Pastor McDonald is also an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Professionally he is a retired educator and coach where he has held several roles such as Assistant and Head Coach (Track & Field/Football) and Assistant Professor on a collegiate level, as well as Principal and Head Coach (Track & Field/Football) of a few high schools. He retired as Director of Athletics for Durham Public Schools.

Pastor McDonald is a humble servant who loves God, God’s people, and lives by God’s mighty word. He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior as an adolescent and truly desires to do God’s will. He accepted the mandate of God’s calling and has been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ for over years. He is a powerful preacher, teacher, and inspiration to all who encounters him.

He serves on numerous Western North Carolina Conference level committees:

  • Board of Examiners
  • Chair of Abandon Properties Committee (Chief Marshall of Protocol)
  • Cabinet Member of the Western District’s Presiding Elder

Pastor McDonald has preached to many congregations and is delighted to have had the experiences of preaching a revival in Cantina, Italy (February 2005) and being selected to preach the annual sermon at the opening of the 113th session of the Western Carolina Conference (2006).

As the pastor of this church, he is committed to fostering spiritual growth, cultivating a loving and supportive community, promoting social justice, and bringing a message of God’s love and hope to his congregation and the community. He looks to foster an environment that coincides with the teachings of God’s word while uniting church and community in purposeful work towards a brighter future.

His desires of the church is to revitalize and restore St. Paul AME Church ensuring that it becomes a beacon of hope, love, and support for all. If you are a member of the community or someone seeking a place of belonging. St. Paul AME welcomes you. Join us as we strive to ‘recoup the lost and make St. Paul AME Church a place to belong!

St. Paul AME Raleigh

Moving from Church to Ministry “Evangelism Inside & Out – Life-changing Bible -Studies for Watering the 3 Seeds:  Prayer, Faith and Service

We are a church spreading the gospel to Raleigh for over 174 years.
Join us at 10 AM every Sunday.


The congregation which formed St. Paul Church was originally the slave membership of Edenton Street United Methodist Church. The Black members attended services there, but due to rapid growth in their membership, different housing arrangements became necessary. In 1853, White Methodists bought the Old Christ Episcopal Church, where the Blacks had been worshipping since 1846. The congregation worshipped under other names, but it was in 1848 that “St. Paul Church” was formally established. In 1854, the Black membership moved the old church to the corner of Harrington and Edenton Streets, where it remains today. Faced with the harsh realities of slavery and segregation, these former slaves banded together to form their own congregation and build a church that would serve as a symbol of hope and community for generations to come. The church has been a significant presence in the African American community of Raleigh for over 150 years, and its members have been active in promoting social justice and racial equality. In recent years, the church has also become a popular tourist destination, as visitors come to learn about its unique history and see its beautiful architecture.

Worship Services

Worship is at 10 AM

Sunday School

Sundays 8:30 AM

Bible Study

Everyone Tuesday 6:30 PM
Men Saturday 9:30 AM
Women Saturday 10:40 AM