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In 1787, Reverends Richard Allen and Absalom Jones withdrew from the St. George Methodist Church because of "unkind treatment" and restrictions placed upon worshipers of African descent. They founded The Free African Society, which was the beginning of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1816, Richard Allen called together sixteen representatives from Bethel African Church in Philadelphia, and African Churches in Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, Delaware; Attleboro, Pennsylvania, and Salem, New Jersey, to meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A church organization or "connection" was organized as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Richard Allen was the founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Emmanuel AME's History



As we look back into the history of our church, we remember with great pride the contributions and sacrifices of those who have gone on before us.  We honor them and remember them today.


Emmanuel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1917 on the corner of Hackberry and Nebraska Street (now known as Martin Luther King Drive) under the leadership of Rev. Jack Connor.


The first church building was a little shed and remained without a name until 1918.  During that time our church was referred to as Little Bethel.  Bishop Brooks felt it was time for this labor of love to have a name, so he gave the church the name "Emmanuel", which means God with us.


Around 1919, Rev. Adamson was appointed pastor of Emmanuel and under his leadership the first church structure was built with a down payment of $200.00.  The church was located at 805 South Pine Street.  When the note was paid in full under the leadership of Rev. W.E. Thomas, a remodeling program began.  The cornerstone was laid on October 9, 1949.  Several pastors continued to serve Emmanuel.


Under the leadership of Rev. Drinkard Timms, Jr., the membership grew, and the vision of a new church was born.  The pastor was informed by Bro. Howard Sheridan about some land for sale in the Dellcrest neighborhood.  The land was purchased with a generous contribution of $3,000 from former First Lady Regina V. Dixon.


In October 1982, God smiled on Emmanuel and sent Rev. Michael W. Gibson.  Under his leadership the church began a new life.  The church on 805 South Pine Street was sold and construction on the new church began.  During this transition Emmanuel's church services were held at the Alamo Branch YMCA.  The first worship service in the new building took place on December 8, 1985.


In November 1992, Emmanuel received a new shepherd-retired Col. I.V. Tolbert, Chaplain USAF, to serve as pastor of Emmanuel.  Under Rev. Tolbert's leadership, Emmanuel paid off a 30-year mortgage in 12 years; purchased additional acres of land adjacent to the church; and began and completed construction on our current sanctuary.  The first worship service in the new sanctuary was held in June 2005.  After many years of faithful service to the people of God and Emmanuel, Rev. Tolbert retired.


In November 2008, we began anew with Rev. Chuma Okoli. Rev. Okoli's love for God is reflected in his spirit of service.  Under his leadership the people of Emmanuel continued to be REJUVENATED, REGENERATED and EMPOWERED to attain "The Next Level Vision".  Our prayer is that Emmanuel continues to be a beacon of hope in the community for many more years to come as we look forward to higher heights with our Pastor Rev. Carl E.  Garmon Sr.  Pastor Garmon came to Emmanuel to encourage us to take "One step at a time" and ensure that Emmanuel "Makes a Difference Where We Are" To God be the Glory, for the things He has done!!!


"To faithfully proclaim and teach the Word of God; to make disciples; to serve those in need; and by our witness, win others to Christ." 


"To build up a regenerating, rejuvenating kingdom people empowered; physically, socially, economically, and politically."


“God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family.”

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