The Lutheran St. Paul's Church is the only purely German-speaking parish left of formerly over 20 in New York City. Founded in 1841, the foundation stone of the first St. Paul's Church near 15th Street and 6th Avenue was laid in October 1842. A few months later the church was already in use. Because of the continuing flow of immigrants from Germany the parish soon outgrew the church. On the 06th of May, 1860 the last service in the first church was held. Then it was torn down and rebuilt with approximately 1,000 seats. On March 20, 1861 the new church was ceremoniously handed over to the congregation. But soon the newly constructed elevated train on 14th Street introduced considerable noise, which grew so intolerable that the church needed to move again. A new location was found in 22nd Street in 1897. The old church was sold for $ 190,000. On July 4, 1897 cornerstone was laid. After only seven months, on February 13,1898 the church was inaugurated and was paid for to the last cent.
All major world events are reflected in the history of the parish. 1923, the year of hyperinflation in Germany, a wave of 115 500 German immigrants arrived in the United States. 1941, after Germany declared war on the United States, the German language church newsletter was banned and many church members were interned until 1947. This was particularly difficult for many, as their sons, now American citizens, fought in the U.S. Army against the Germans.
Ten months after the surrender of Germany the St. Paul's parish started the initiative "Labor of love - German Emergency Relief" of the Lutheran church. Over 6,000 pounds of clothing and $10,500 were collected and sent to Germany to support of the population. The empathy and willingness to help resulted not only in relief for Germans, but also welded the St. Paul's community together.
A boom time, with increasing numbers of German immigrants (from 1950 to 1960: about 600 000) gave the St. Paul's Church a new lease. However, the binding of the post-war emigrants to their church was not as intense as in the twenties.
The community structure changed over time. Initially characterized by German emigrants, now increasingly the new arrivals were Germans who would work in New York for only a few years. In 1972, the EKD (Lutheran Church Germany) established a German pastor's position for these "expatriates". The St. Paul's church includes parishioners from the greater metropolitan area.
The community of more than 150 years lasted through all difficulties and is now the only German-speaking parish in Manhattan.