On December 1, 1936, the Reverend Edward A. Voorhees assumed the pastorate. He came to St. Paul’s with his wife, Bernadine, and their three children from Reformation Church of Chicago, after having served there for six years.
They had a real love for the youth of the church, and their home on Waverly Place had an open door policy welcoming them to their home. A review of the accomplishments in St. Paul’s proves to be very encouraging. There was not only the physical improvement that was to be expected, but the spiritual development of the members were also enriched.
Margaret Sneesby said “Pastor Voorhees had a car, but his wife wouldn’t let him drive the car because that was using gas. So he would get out and walked every day and visited every family in the congregation. He would walk, rain or shine. He was just out there plugging for membership.”
As the congregation grew, the entrance of the church was changed from the front to the side of the building, and with the use of folding doors, the sanctuary could be doubled in size. Excavation of the basement began on January 5, 1939. Mr. James “Jens” Otteson headed the project. Men and young men volunteered their services to dig out the basement by hand. This finally enabled the church to get rid of the black Pot-Belly Stove. The girls were glad to see the stove go, because there was always the danger of loosening a shoe to that fiery inferno by the teasing young males!
The congregation was pleased to see the new carpet laid on the chancel, step, and a portion of the floor on Sunday morning, December 10, 1940. Through donations, the carpet and full payment of the Estey organ was made possible for a total cost of $117. An additional gift was noted of a beautiful new organ lamp, donated through the generosity of Mr. Fred Hjelmeland and Mr. Anfin Malheim.
The Ladies Aid society assumed the amortization of a first mortgage obligation on the properties. The Girl’s Adeste Fidelis club did helpful things for the church and also donated special bulletins throughout the year. A Boy’s club was active in developing Christian character among themselves and others, and assumed certain obligations, promoted entertainment, and had a basketball team. The Young People’s Luther league were active, meeting for devotionals each Sunday evening at 7 o’clock and faithfully attended district rallies.
Pastor Voorhees submitted his resignation to St. Paul’s councilmen on March 16, 1942. While a reason wasn’t given for his resignation, it is believed due to his illness. At a Congregational Meeting held on April 12, 1942, the congregation accepted Reverend Voorhees resignation. The vote was 35 accept and 24 reject.
Edward A. Voorhees was born in Xenia, Ohio in 1896. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War I. On February 15, 1989, Reverend Voorhees died at the age of 93 in Las Cruces, New Mexico and buried in Leesburg, Florida.