Church History

St. Paul United Methodist Church

Copperton, Utah

Beginnings

We are very proud of the long, interesting history of St. Paul United Methodist Church, and are proud to have the opportunity of sharing it with you. We began in 1874 as the Bingham Canyon Methodist Church. The church was located in the town of Bingham Canyon, a copper mining community and served the residents there for many years. Another Methodist-sponsored congregation, the Highland Boy Community House served residents of the town of Highland Boy, also in Bingham Canyon.

Historical St. Paul Photograph

Historical St. Paul Photograph

The Bingham Canyon and Highland Boy congregations merged and consolidated at Copperton, Utah, and furnished the building with items, such as the organ, taken from the former church buildings. Those two towns were eventually abandoned, demolished, and covered as the Kennecott Bingham copper mine expanded onto the land that they occupied. Over the years, the name of the church changed to Saint Paul Community Methodist Church and then Saint Paul United Methodist Church.

The black and white historical photos of Bingham Canyon listed below were found in the church records, and will give you a flavor for the community that St. Paul UMC grew up in.

Church Building

At the end of World War Two, the Department of Defense sold the church building to the congregation. The building had originally been built as one of several base chapels for Camp Kearns, an Army Air Corps installation closed at the end of the war. The chapel was used by multiple faith communities at Camp Kearns, including Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. The building was transported and placed at its current location on land donated by the Kennecott Copper Corporation (now Rio Tinto). (A similar chapel is located at Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah near Ogden, and a congregation member found another sister chapel at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.)

Post card view of Army Chapel.

Post card view of Army Chapel.

Historical photo of a Chapel at Camp Kearns

Historical photo of a Chapel at Camp Kearns

Army Chapel number stenciled on wall in back room of building

Army Chapel number stenciled on wall in back room of building

A typical Religious Service card and photo of people worshiping in a chapel at Camp Kearns is reproduced below, courtesy of Pam Todd of the Kearns Historical Society.

A typical Religious Service card and photo of people worshiping in a chapel at Camp Kearns is reproduced below, courtesy of Pam Todd of the Kearns Historical Society.

An interesting trivia tidbit is that the Army assumed that the buildings they built at Camp Kearns would only last about seven years. Our building is over 60 years old and is still much the same in exterior and interior appearance as when it was first built. We continue to maintain and improve upon the building while retaining the original look and feel.

Photo of a church service in Army chapel.

Photo of a church service in Army chapel.

The church houses memorial plaques dedicated to the members of those copper mining communities who served and died in World War Two (see below). The bell from one of the old church buildings is also in the lobby. In February, 2007, our church building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historical Marker Database site has additional information on the Historical Site designation.

Present Day

St. Paul’s is a popular location for the makers of movies and television programs filmed in Utah. We have hosted several shooting sessions of the television program “Touched By An Angel, including the final two episodes of the show, entitled “I Will Walk With You, Part 1 and 2” . If you click on the link for Episode 922 and look at the photos on the page, you can see the second and third pictures down on the right hand side were taken in St. Paul’s sanctuary. Also, the two bottom photos in the left column were taken on the highway that leads up to Copperton from the Salt Lake Valley. In addition, in June, 2006 the movie “Dark Matter” filmed a portion of their story at St. Paul. In November, 2012, part of two episodes of the BYU-TV series “Granite Flats” was filmed at St. Paul.

Honor Roll, Memorial Bricks, and Memorial Plaques

There are two memorial plaques in the narthex (front entrance) of the church. One plaque commemorates Highland Boy residents that served in World War 2, and the second plaque commemorates members of Bingham Canyon that served in World War 2. In addition, a memorial roll commemorates family and former members of St. Paul that were remembered at a May 26, 1996, candle lighting ceremony. A link to the plaques and memorial roll listing all the names is below.


2 Responses to Church History

  1. Ron Mursick says:

    I was a Student Pastor at St. Paul’s while preparing for the ordained ministry at Westminster College, Salt Lake City. My family and I attended Trinity United Methodist Church in Kearns at the time.
    Trinity and St. Paul’s always held and hold a special place in our hearts. My first wife Debbie ,now deceased spoke often of how the folks at St. Paul’s and Trinity, spoiled us.
    May God bless you all and may the steeple of St.Paul’s remain a welcoming beacon to all.
    Ron Mursick

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