MOULTRIE, Ga. – Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrated its 150th anniversary last Sunday.
The church’s story began with the common belief that Bishop Abraham Grant, the 19th bishop of the AME Church, was the source of the name selected for Grant Chapel. Grant served as bishop for 23 years after being elected and consecrated in 1888.
Written in the history of St. Peter AME Church, Camilla, Ga.: “St. Peter was asked to help set up a church in Moultrie, Georgia. The Reverend J.L. Butler, Pastor of St. Peter, along with some of the members would walk to Moultrie one Sunday each month to conduct services. This continued until Grant Chapel AME Church became a circuit in 1890.”
According to records, the church itself began in 1896 under a bush arbor. Some faithful dedicated Afro-Americans emerged from slavery sincerely believing that God was totally responsible for their freedom. They went forth with God as their leader to build a house of worship.
In 1904, the first building — a wood structure — was erected on the site. It stood about 100 yards from the present site, before the present site was purchased on Nov. 7, 1908, and another building was erected. By 1944, the building was renovated and made a brick structure, and in 1958, the present educational building was erected.
On Sunday, during the celebratory service, the church was visited by the Rev. Lewis Logan II of Gaines Chapel and by many members of the community.
The current Episcopal Leadership is Bishop Reginal T. Jackson, the district presiding elder is the Rev. Millie Smith Daniels and the current pastor is Rev. Dr. Anthony G. Flowers. The living history of the church is found in their three oldest members, the mothers of the church, Lillar Shepheard, Catherine Small and Mosell Williams.
“They have been willing workers of their church for 60 plus years. They’re part of the foundation there. They’ve seen all of the transformations of this church except one,” said member Claudette Washington.
“The occasion was truly blessed by their presence along with the anointed word of Rev. Lewis Logan II of Gaines Chapel AMEC of Douglas, Ga.,” said Washington. The church thanked the community for coming out and celebrating with them.