When former St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller said his congregation would “pay it forward,” chances are no one saw this sort of donation coming.
The congregation of the church formerly housed at 229 Wayne Ave. will present checks to eight Dayton-area charities during a “pay it forward” campaign at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, 505 S. Ludlow St. Dayton.
The congregation has already awarded checks to five charities.
When all is said and done, St. Paul will have awarded $1.3 million, proceeds from the sale of church assets including the church’s building to Weyland Ventures, the developers of The Wheelhouse project, located 210 Wayne Ave.
St. Paul held its last service at the end of 2017.
“What a great way to leave a legacy from a church that was no longer able to sustain itself,” said Miller, who is known as “Pastor Bob.” “It is just a dream come true.”
Bill Weyland of Weyland Ventures and Pete Haley of Gosiger Inc. are also expected to attend the celebration.
Jeremiah’s Letter, Inc.; Shoes 4 the Shoeless; New Hope Ministries; Victory Project; Chaminade Julienne; St. Paul United Methodist Church - Huffman District; 4 Paws for Ability and Daybreak will be awarded checks Wednesday.
South Community Behavioral Services; the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, Habitat for Humanity; Rebuilding Together and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio have already received checks.
The nonprofits received a varying share of the donated money.
Aside from Westerville-based Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, all of the charities are in Dayton or surrounding communities.
About 60 former St. Paul congregants participated in the selection process, Miller said.
Church members took care to select local charities and sought those with missions aligned with the church’s ministries or those that helped “all of God’s creations.”
He pointed to 4 Paws for Ability as an example of a charity that benefits all of God’s creations.
The charity provides service animals to children with disabilities and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
St Paul’s steeple was built around 1869 and the parish hall in 1954.
The church’s mission included Project Blessings, a nonprofit that had fed needy families and individuals at the church since 1978.
Jeremiah’s Letter, a program formerly at the church, serves 18,000 people annually by providing direct services and educational opportunities. It is now located on Xenia Avenue.
Miller said St. Paul once thrived, but its membership dropped by half every 10 years beginning in 1969.