Local church History


Soldier's Memorial

The Salisbury Station - Soldier's Memorial became a member of the Central North Carolina Conference (1879).  12 years later (1981), Soldiers became a member of the Western North Carolina Conference.  Soldier's Memorial Church, located at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets for 129 years, was formerly located on East Council Street.

The beginning of Soldier's Memorial was similar to that of the founding of The AME Zion Connection.  One year before the Emancipation in 1864, three men, Barry Davis, George Willis, and a Mr. Williams, met in a boot shop in the Henderson Pines section, the property of Henry H. Bingham.  Later three more men joined:  Emanuel Jones, Simon Jefferson, William Boyden and others joined.  They secured help of the Freedman's Bureau and organized a group of worshippers in 1865.  The first service was in the boot shop.  They later moved to the Freedman's Building on East Council Street.

The church, organized in 1864, has been know by several names:  first, the "Zion Society", Zion Chapel, Salisbury Society, and Salisbury Station; then Mt. Zion and finally Soldier's Memorial.  Reverend Henderson was one of the early organizers.  He organized many of the churches in the vicinity of Salisbury.

Improvements include:  1) building the parsonage; 2) Family Enrichment Center; 3) beautification of the sanctuary - 1948; 4) The Education Building - 1949;  5) Building of Zion Hill Apartment Complex (Rev. Herman Anderson, Soldier's and Reverend Vernon Shannon, Moore's); and 6) sanctuary repainted (1973), wall-to-wall carpet, old pews refinished, and installed modern light fixtures.


Rev. William H. Pitts, Rev. A.G. Kesler, Rev. Joseph Greene, Rev. Cicero Harris, Rev. Robert Harrison Simmons, Rev. A.F. Gosten, Rev. J.C. Lodge, Dr. Goler, Rev. P.A. McCorkle, Rev. Harris, Rev. Robert Blair Bruce, Rev. A.L. Hoeuston, Rev. George W. Gaines, Rev. George C. Clement, Rev. Walls, Rev. Henry P. Lankford, Rev. Samuel J. Howie, Rev. Alexander H. Hatwood, Rev. H. T. Henry, Rev. Harold J. Ofeton, Rev. Alfred S. Parker, Rev. Alfred White, Rev. Herman L. Anderson, Rev. W.L. McDaniel, Rev. Joseph Johnson, Rev. James Samuel, Rev. Johnson K. Asibou, Rev. Claude Christopher, Rev. Murray L. Edwards, Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr., Rev. Dr. David McLean, and Rev. Dr. Derrick Anderson. 

Presiding Elders:

Rev. Norment; Rev. N.K. Byers; Rev. Dr. L.C. Siler; Rev. G. Sidney Waddell, Rev. J.T. White, Rev. Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.

Bishops Presiding over Conference of which Soldier's was a member:

Bishop Joseph Jackson, Bishop John Jamison Moore, Bishop Singleton T. Jones, Bishop Thomas H. Lomax, Bishop Isom C. Clinton, Bishop George Wylie Clinton, Bishop Lynwood W. Kyles, Bishop Benjamin Garland Shaw, Bishop William Jacob Walls, Bishop Raymond L. Jones, Bishop William M. Smith, Bishop Ruben L. Speaks, Bishop Cecil Bishop, Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr., and Bisho George Edward Battle, Jr.

Moore's Chapel

From 1890-1892, Church Meetings were held as house-to-house Prayer Meetings in the Western Section of Salisbury know as "Union Hill".  This is the Church Cemetery now.  Moore's Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was organized in 1892, under the leadership of the Rev. Joseph Torrence.  Rev. Torrence named the church Moore's Chapel because of his love for Bishop John Jamison Moore.

The church moved to its present address in 1904.  Rev. J. E. Kennedy paid installments on a lot to build Moore's Chapel and was completed by Rev. T. W. Wallace.  The edifice windows feature the nine AME Zion Bishops and Dr. Joseph Charles Price.

In 1917, the church burned.  In 1919, the congregation rented and later brought Graham Memorial Church (now Gethsemane Baptist Church).  Shortly, the conference gave permission to sell Graham Memorial and proceeded to complete Moore's Chapel.

Five periods of expansion, growth and development include:  1) early years of origin (1892-1913); 2) expansion (1913-1939); 3) development (1939-1957); 4) transition (1957-1981); and 5) growth (1981-2001 and 2001-2005).

Moore's Chapel received a deed in 1901.  Three Bishops are remembered, seven Livingstone College presidents, one Dean of Hood Theological Seminary, four Missionary Supervisors, and six sons in the ministry.

Marable Memorial

Marable Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, formerly named "Little Mission Church", was organized in 1908-1909, under the leadership of Bishop George W. Clinton and assisted by Presiding Elder Martin Van Buren Marable.  The members held their first worship in a building used as a store, located on the present lot located at 400 Huron Street.

In 1912, the name of the church was changed from Little Mission Church to Marable Memorial AME Zion Church in honor of Presiding Elder Martin Van Buren Marable.  On February 16, 1918, fifty dollars was paid by the church trustees, a plot of land was received from Cannon Mills (formerly Cabarrus Cotton Mills) and built a small church to worship.

The church has been renovated several times, brick and etc.


Rev. Hercules Smith, Rev. Raymond L. Jones, Rev. R.V. Flack, Rev. J.D. Jackson, Rev. C.A. Russell, Rev. W.D. Carson, Rev. Fulton, J. Vorice, Rev. Reid R. White (1957), Rev. J. Roy Allen (11-1964 / 06-1967), Rev. Freeman Germany (06-1967 / 11-1967), Rev. Matthew R. Cuthbertson (11-1967 / 08-1968), Rev. Henry Lee Melvin (08-1968 / 1-1969), Rev. James E. Powell (11-1969 / 07-1972), Rev/ Alexander Jones (07-1972 / 05-1976), Rev. Ralph V. Washington (05-1976 / 07-1980), Rev. Audie V. Simon (07-1980 / 07-1982), Rev. James Ray Samuel (07-1982 / 12-1984), Rev. William Robinson (12-1984 / 07-1994), Rev. Grant Harrison, Jr. (07-1994 / 06-2006), Rev. Wayne C. Harris (10-2006 / 07-2009), Rev. Maurice Harden (07-2009 / 10-2012), and Rev. Dr. William McKenith (01-2013 / present).

Presiding Elders:

Rev. Martin V.B. Marable, Rev. P.T. Bennett, Rev. R.L. Moss, Rev. W.J. Hines, Rev. Samuel Hamilton, Rev. W.D. Carson, Rev. G.W. Hunter, Rev. P.T. Bennett, Rev. N.K. Byers, Rev. Dr. Lee Clinton Siler, Rev. Dr. Jerry T. White, Rev. Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr. (current).

Sandy Ridge

Though the exact date is not known, the best available information indicates that Sandy Ridge was founded around 1866 in a little Brush Arbor on the hillside near Sechler's Pond in China Grove Township, Rowan County, North Carolina.  It might be proper to say that a few devout souls, perhaps, Albert Sherrill, George Reid, and other faithful men and women of their time, conceived the idea of this place of worship, following the Civil War in America, and the emancipation of the institution of slavery.

Rev. Bill Pethel is reported to have been the first minister to serve this little band of people, seeking to worship God in freedom and from fear.  The brush arbor was only a temporary place of worship.  The membership grew and the church was soon moved near the place where the present building now stands.   The first real structure was built from hewn logs, with a layer of red clay between each piece of the timbers.  Much sweat, toil and privation must have accompanied this early beginning of Sandy Ridge Church.  But, there was "gain for their losses", there was "balm for their pains".  Here, many souls were converted and the foundation laid for Christian homes and worthy endeavor.

While these early fathers and mothers did not have the advantages of education yet, they inspired county authorities to provide a school for their children.  This same log cabin was used for a place of daily instruction.  About $15 per month was considered a good salary for the best teachers.  Though it moved to another building, Sandy Ridge School became Aggrey Memorial High School.  Aggrey Memorial was renovated and expanded to house the present Landis Elementary School.  With desegregation, the Rowan County School Board has discarded this historical fact, but this congregation is dedicated to keeping alive the true facts and heritage of our founding fathers.  Many artifacts from the former school are housed in the Aggrey Fellowship Hall.

As time rolled onward and the years grew to full maturity, another church building was erected.  This small frame structure that served the needs of the membership for more the 30 years.  Meanwhile, the membership continued to grow, which necessitated the enlargement of this frame building.  During these years, a small organ was purchased for the church choir.  Though the purchase price was meager, the payments were made from extra free will offerings.  When the last payment was made, someone suggested that these free will offerings be continued to form the nucleus of a "building fund".  This was done and, thus, the foundation for the modern brick structure which now serves as the fellowship building was begun.  The former sanctuary of this building was dedicated as the Aggrey Memorial Education Building on May 21, 1995 and the lower level designated the R. W. Sherrill Learning Center.

Much inspiration and encouragement for this new church building came from such former pastors as Reverends J. E. Aggrey, J. C. Nelson, and R. E. Clement.  Even in 1943, the church had a normal following of about 200 members who could be connected to about 12 or 15 families.  Among the membership, during the last century, were two medical doctors - the late Dr. L. A. Gibsosn and Dr. G. W. Sherrill.

In the early 1960s, a beautiful parsonage was obtained enabling the pastors to serve the community more adequately and effectively.  The present church building was completed in September 1984, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Derrick R. Anderson.  More than $180,000 was raised by this loyal congregation wih the help of and for the glory of God.  More than half of these funds were raised under the pastoral leadership of the late Dr. Jerry A. Quick, during his 14-year tenure at Sandy Ridge.  Dr. Quick later served as Presiding Elder of the Wadesboro-Monroe District of the West Central North Carolina Annual Conference.  The total cost of the building program, which included renovation of the previous church building, was $330,000.  The mortgage was burned on May 15, 1994, under the leadership of Rev. Bobby L. Smith who served as the pastor from 1992-2005.

Sandy Ridge is proud of its devoted members and proud of the fact that they are a family church.  The occupations of the membership have always been varied:  doctors, skilled laborers, mechanics, teachers, farmers, ministers, and the trades.  The late Dr. Richard W. Sherrill, one of the Trustees Emeritus, served as a General Officer in The AME Zion Church for 40 years.  He served 20 years as the Manager of the Publishing House and 24 years as the Financial Secretary of The AME Zion Church, being the first layman to be elected by the General Conference to that office.

Sandy Ridge is also proud of its pastors.  The former Salisbury District Presiding Elder, Dr. Lee Clinton Siler, is a former pastor and returned to Sandy Ridge as a member in the 1970s.  His widow, Mrs. Myrtice Siler, remained an active member until she passed in 2007.  Rev. Dr. James E. Kwegir Aggrey was a professor at Livingstone College and the co-founder of Achimota College in Ghana.  No less than four former pastors were elected General Officers and later Bishops in The AME Zion Church:  Reverends Josiah Caldwell (Financial Secretary); William J. Walls (Editor of the Star of Zion) who later was elected Bishop on May 20, 1924; Elizah L. Madison (Financial Secretary); and Hampton T. Medford (Secretary-Treasurer of the Department of Overseas Mission and Editor of the Missionary Seer).  The last Rev. Dr. Percy Smith was the designer of the Official Logo of The AME Zion Church and was a former pastor of Sandy Ridge.

Sandy Ridge is proud to call as their own, two fine ministers of The AME Zion Church:  the late Rev. John H. Partee, who retired as pastor of New Hope (and lifelong member of Sandy Ridge); and the late Rev. Dr. Jackson Browne who joined Sandy Ridge upon relocating to the Landis community in the 1980s and remained an active member prior to pastoring Moore's Chapel AME Zion Church.  Rev. Browne also gave years of loyal service to Hood Theological Seminary and pastored churches throughout Zion.  Two of Sandy Ridge's sons who most recently entered the ministry, under Rev. Bobby Smith, and currently serve as pastors in The AME Zion Church are:  Rev. Dr. George C. Banks, pastor of Goler Memorial in Winston-Salem, NC; and Rev. Harold Jordan, pastor of Third Creek.  

Sandy Ridge also served as the beginning for the ministries of Dr. James MacArthur Sloan, who currently serves as Presiding Elder of the North Charlotte District of the WNCC; and Bishop Louis Hunter, Sr., who was elected the 93rd Bishop in the line of succession at the 47th Session of the General Conference, and served as the Presiding Prelate of the Mid-Atlantic I Episcopal District.  Rev. Louis Hunter, Jr. grew up in Sandy Ridge and pastors Center Grove AME Zion (Winston-Salem District of WNCC).  Rev. David Smalls is the most recent minister to serve as an associate at Sandy Ridge, prior to being appointed pastor of Liberty AME Zion in June 2013.  Others who have matriculated through Sandy Ridge, accepted the call of ministry and served in other denominations, include Rev. Ivan Lowery, Rev. Wayne Murdock, and Dr. Walter Howard.  Currently, Brother Terry L. Jackson, Jr., who grew up in Sandy Ridge, entered the ministry under the former pastor Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Freeman, and is serving as Local Preacher under the current pastor, Rev. Clarence J. Shuford, Jr.  

Sandy Ridge is also very proud of members who have served as public school administrators:  Mr. George C. Knox, Mr. Dan Partee, Mr. Andrew T. Harris, Mr. Milton T. Taylor, and Ms. Catherine Rivens.

Southern City Tabernacle

In 1889, Charles Holmes, a local preacher, bought the first acre of land along old Highway 29.  Members and friends build the first AME Zion Church in Spener with donated lumber.  They they named the church New Hope AME Zion Church.

After being at the site for several years, a majority of the membership decided that it would be better to relocate the church in a more centralized location to accommodate its growing membership.

With prayer in their hearts and faith in God, the members, along with the pastor, Rev. J.E. House, moved to North Shaver Street in East Spencer, North Carolina.  Here in 1897, the Souther City Tabernacle AME Zion Church was born.  Among the Christian pioneers who participated in the movement were families such as the Stokes, Holmes, Clements, Fraziers, and Carters.

During the years at the North Shaver Street site, the membership grew to the extent that the pastor, Rev. A.R. Hawkins and officers of the church, saw the need for a larger buildingn.  In 1915, Rev. H.R. Hawkins and members of the congregation built the church at its present location on North Long Street in East Spencer, North Carolina.  In 1918, under the leadership of Rev. B.B. Moore, the cornerstone was laid.

The men and women of faith and courage struggled on through the years to offset the mortgage of the church.  This was done under the leadership of Rev. U.S. Johnson.

In the spring of 1958, with Rev. Paul E. McGuire as pastor, the sanctuary was graced with the installation of new pews, which were dedicated to the service of God by the Right Reverend William Jacob Walls.

In 1977, under the leadership of the Rev. George C. Tharrington, the congregation saw the need and expressed a desire to build a new sanctuary.  While the new church was under construction, church services were held in the auditorium of North Rowan Middle School.  In January 1978, the new and present edifice was dedicated to the glory of God by the Right Reverend William Milton Smith.

Southern City has been blessed to have had musicians who gave their devoted service to the church:  Mrs. Otis Boger, Mrs. Janet Watts, Mrs. Bessie Churcher, Mrs. H. Henry Wactor, Mrs. Annie Bailey, Mrs. Zelma Drain, Mrs. Ethel Coleman, Mrs. H. Irvis, Mrs. Bessie Craige, Mrs. Rebecca Stinson, Mr. Jonathan French, Mr. Mark Pilson, Mr. Justin Jordan, and the current musician, Mr. Timothy Jones.

Southern City Tabernacle has grown under the leadership of the following bishops:  the late Bishop L. W. Kyles, the late Bishop B. G. Shaw, the late Bishop W. J. Walls, the late Bishop William Milton Smith, the late Bishop Cecil Bishop, Bishop George W. C. Walker, Sr. (retired), and the current Senior Bishop, the Right Reverend George E. Battle, Jr.

The church has had such illustrious Presiding Elders as Reverends L. Moss, Bennett, Hamilton, Carson, Hunter, C.E. Norment, N.K. Byers, Lee C. Siler, Sidney Waddell, Rev. Dr. Jerry T. White, and Rev. Herbert Warren, Jr.  The current Presiding Elder is Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.

Some of the pastors who served successfully at Southern City Tabernacle Church are Reverends J.E. House, Bolger, S.L. Leake, B.B. Moore, H.E. Wilson, J.J. Nicholson, U.S. Johnson, W.M. Jones, George Smith, J.R. Whitmire (local preacher), N.V. Jones, Clarence Carr (later elected Bishop in The AME Zion Church), Marvin Mayfield, Melvin Tate, George Tharrington, James French, S.V. Campbell, Calvin Miller, Rev. Dr. Donald Holness, Rollins S. Graham, and Thomas D. Lee.  Southern City is now under the leadership of Rev. Patrick Tate.

White Rock

During the turn of the century, prayer meetings and all were held in homes.  Mrs. W.J. Campbell served as minister.  Rev. Flowe from Livingstone College came to the church to teach and preach.  In 1906, Rev. Flowe came to Granite Quarry, North Carolina.  The building was paid off with Rev. W.C. McCorkle.  Renovated in 1920, Rev. Carson enlarged the building and pews.

Rev. Flowe helped with Granite Quarry Colored students.  In 1929, Rev. Mrs. Campbell was responsible for installing the first gas lights.  In 1940, Rev. T. H. Harris was responsible for a new structure.

White Rock Focus and Accomplishments:

  • Present buidling by Rev. J.N. Torrence, contractor; and Rev. William M. White paid off the indebtedness.
  • White Rock was a circuit with New Hope AME Zion Church; and Rev. W.M. White was the first full time pastor.
  • Memorial Pew Fund by Rev. M.R. Cuthbertson (1971) - Rev. Reid R. White did the extensive renovations.
  • 1981 air-conditioning and ceiling fans installed.
  • Rev. H. R. Lawson - In January 1985, completion of heating/cooling of parsonage along with fuel oil and copy machine.
  • Rev. Meekins paid off  longstanding mortgage, pulpit area, kitchen, and Fellowship Hall.
  • Seven Phase Church Property Project began in 1991:  Completed 1992 with construction work on the roof, etc.; electric keyboard, organ; and Share Heart Food Ministry.
  • In 1994, Rev. Morgan Tann built up finances, operational procedures developed more pride and respect for the church and its properties.
  • Rev. E. Leroy White, in 1994, made some major accomplishments to include paid off the organ, made/purchased real estate.
  • Rev. Carlton Williams, Bible Study/Prayer Meeting.  Many contributions were made during his tenure.
  • Rev. Gullick, in 1998 choirs/Buds; and focused on paying off loans with the Building Expansion Fund.
  • Rev. Morgan Glenn, in 2009, Bible Study.  Trustees planned and completed remodeling the parsonage / Bessie Shuford Fellowship $10,000
  • Rev. Thomas D. Lee - new chairs, tables, new heating and cooling unit


Reverends C.L. Flowe, J.D. Miller, T.C. Hafler, Rev. Mrs. Campbell, W.C. McCorkle, W.D. Carson, L.A. Barker, W.A. Wheeler, C.C. Campbell, G.W. Griffin, J.W. Wador, J.J. Nicholson, O.L. Glodsy, T.H. Harris, D.A. Gaines, S.L. Bruce, J.A. Browne, C.B. Walker, D.J. Stroud, A.C. Honeycutt, J.N. Torrence, M.L. Melton, Rev. Walser, W.M. White, M.R. Cuthbertson, J.G. Flowers, R.R. White, Jr., H.R. Lawson, V.N. Meekins, M.W. Tann, E. Leroy White, C. Williams, W. Gullick, M. Glenn, and Thomas Lee.


Zion Wesley

Douglas Young and Robert (Bob) White families organized Zion Wesley AME Zion Church in 1878 in the Old Rock Hill section of East Monbo Road.   The first church, at its present location, was built in 1878.  Bishop J.W. Hood was the Presiding Bishop.

Ministers Serving (while it was called the Statesville Circuit):  

Rev. S.D. Watkins (1891), S.M. Pharr (1892), J.A. House (1893), P.A. McCurkle (1894), C.P. Lackey (1895), R.C. Collins (1897), J.S. Smith (1898-1902), W.A. Blackwell (1903-1909), W.O. Carson (1909-1910), and C.W. Simmons (1911).

Ministers Serving this Church (when it joined the Salisbury District):  Reverends E.C. Kennedy, Louis Richardson, R.C. Jones, H.D. Bonner, P.J. Stroud, Vance Monroe, M.L. Walker, L.C. Wilcox, Royce Myers, Maxie Houston, Sr., Leroy White, Glenn Usry (1986-1990), Carlton Williams, Alfred Johnson, Karen Miller (1996-1997), Keith tillett (1997-1999), Kevin Williamson (1999-1001), Dr. Charlotte Brown Williams (2001-2006), and Rudolph Cornelius (2006-present).

After a period of 41 years, the church had to be rebuilt.  The church was built in 1919.  G.G. Hargrove, pastor, L.W. Kyles, Bishop.

Zion Wesley Focus and Accomplishments:

  • 1947:  Under the leadership of Rev. R.M. Mitchell, Jr., the church was reconstructed on the same site. Bishop B.G. Shaw, Presiding Elder.
  • ​1960:  Leadership - Rev. Louis Richardson, parsonage was built.
  • 1969:  Leadership - Rev. Myers, church was bricked and fellowship hall completed.
  • Leadership, Rev. Carlton Williams - new flooring and central air-conditioning.
  • 1999:  Rev. Keith Tillett, the altar/chancel/new carpet in sanctuary.
  • Leadership, Dr. Charlotte Brown Williams, church addition renovations.
  • 2006:  Bishop George W.C. Walker/Rev. Cornelius, repairs, etc.

Ministers (with no history available):  

Rev. Transer, A.J. Arthurs, Rev. Clacke, Rev. McIntrye, I.B. Benson, I.D. Moore, E.H. Harris, Rev. Dunlap, T. F. Rhinehardt, A.B. Massey, Rev. Holmes, Rev. Wilkinson, Rev. Strong, M. Caldwell, Rev. Lilly, E.S. Little, George Griffins, George Smith, Rev. Carvers, Rev. Davis, Mary Johnson, J.D. Hamilton, and George Stinson.

Presiding Elders:  

Reverends Marable (1891-1895), R.H. Simmons (1896-1901), P.A. McCorkle (902-1908), H.L. Simmons (1909-1911), E.C. Norment, N.K. Byers, Lee C. Siler, G. Sydney Waddell, J.T. White (1989), Herbert Warren, Jr. (1998-2014), and Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr. (2015-present).

Bishops (WNCC):  J. W. Hood (1878-1891), J.J. Moore (1891-1894), T.H. Lomax (1894-1899), Isom C. Clinton (1900-1904), George W. Clinton (1904-1912), J.W. Kyles (1912-1920), B.G. Shaw (1920-1947), W.J. Walls (1947-1972), R. Jones (1972-1980), W.M. Smith (1980-1988), Ruben L. Speaks (1988-1996), Cecil Bishop (1996-2004), George Walker (2004-2012), and George E. Battle, Jr. (2012-present).

Sills Creek

Recollections of the early years indicate that worship services were held before the church was officially organized.  Several former slaves, adults, and youth would meet on Sunday under a brush arbor for worship service.  The brush arbor was located on the Hart Plantation.  The Hart Plantation is presently known as Bradshaw Road.

Sills Creek was officially organized for worship in August 1879.  S.B. Hart and J.T. Stewart and their wives donated 3 4 acres of land to the church.  On August 19, 1879, the land was presented to R.W. Davidson and Samuel Jamison, church trustees.

Sills Creek was named after Mr. Sills who operated a mill along Sandy Clay Road and Creek.  He was mostly know for his fishing ability.  He was respected by his neighbors and friends.  Mr. Sills and the community built a small log cabin which served as the first church.  Several years later, they organied their own school for colored people in the surrounding area.  The school operated until 1917. The church trustees gave the Rowan County Board of Education one acre of land to be used for a public school for colored people.  In August 1918, the County opened the public school.  The school operated for 22 years, closing in 1940.  After the closing of the school, the church continued to have worship services.  The church lost several members because of World War II, relocation, better opportunities in town and at the textile mills.

Sills Creek shared their pastor with four AME Zion churches:  New Hope (Spencer), Bethesda (Mooresville), Cedar Grove (Barber), and later Miller's Chapel (Salisbury).  Worship services were conducted twice a month until 1962.  Sills Creek became famous for its July 4th summer picnic and its Camp Meeting which was held the 4th Sunday in August.

During the 1920s, another building was constructed for worship.  This building was used until late 1962.  In August 1935, Mr. & Mrs. R.S. Edminston donated 9/10 acre of land to the church.

During the pastorate of Rev. Seabrook and Rev. Leslie Canty (1954-1955), improvements were made to make the church more comfortable and beautiful.  They included installation of new windows, roofing, flooring, a different heating system, electric lights, adding a brick veneer finish to the outside of the building, digging a new well, and the addition of the pastor's study and steward room.

In 1965, Rev. Royce Myers and membership launched a drive for a new church.  The new church was completed in October 1972.  A separate building was constructed for a kitchen and fellowship hall.  It was used until 1982.

In August 1976, Rev. Sydney Waddell was appointed to Sills Creek.  Under his leadership, the church purchased a U.S. and a Christian flag, new hymnals, file cabinet, installed a new speaker system, installed a telephone, and had the road paved to the church entrance.  The Senior Choir helped to purchase a new piano at a cost of $2,200.

On November 13, 1977 Sills Creek celebrated Family and Friends Day, raising $7,987.70 to pay off the church mortgage.  The Mortgage Burning Ceremony was held on April 9, 1978.  The Rev. William M. Smith, Presiding Bishop of the First Episcopal District of the WNCC delivered the address.  Plans to construct a new Educational and Fellowship Hall were initiated in February 1981.  This new addition to the property was completed in March 1982.

The church purchased additional land for cemetery space in 1979.  Mr. & Mrs. Aaron Neely donated a parcel of land to the church in 1982.  The addition of land now extends the property to Highway 150.  Rev. John H. Partee (1982-1986) began the landscaping and beautification of the church cemetary by adding a chain link fence along the property line.  Two acres of the land were also purchased.

Under the leadership of Rev. Calvin L. Miller (appointed in 1987), Sills Creek erected the picnic shelter.  During his tenure in 1988, Sills Creek purchased a new copier, new speaker system, installed railngs along the steps inside the church, painted and installed a new roof on the utility building, painted outside the church, installed two telephones and paved both parking lots and driveways.  During the 1989 conference year, Sills Creek was also blessed to install a new furnace, two bulletin boards, two doors for the utility building, purchased a Massey Ferguson tractor, bush hog, box scraper and house mower, and two shovels, rake, two gas cans, grease gun, two lawn mower blades, grass seed and fertilizer.  A concrete patio was also built.  Lightst along the walkway were donated and installed by Hubert McCorkle and his son, Harley McCorkle.

The Men's Boosters Club sponsored the projects that purchased a camcorder and VCR for the Tape Ministry.

Under the leadership of Rev. E. Leroy White (appointed in 1992), Sills Creek purchased their first parsonage located on West Monroe Street in Salisbury, North Carolina.  During the pastorate of Rev. Charles F. Tillett (appointed in 1944), Sills Creek renovated the parsonage, purchased their van, and replaced the church steeple.  Under the leadership of Rev. Jordan B. Boyd (appointed in 2002), the church was renovated.  Rev. Dr. William M. Jordan, III served only six months (appointed December 2012) and Camp 365 was birthed into existence.  Under the leadership of Rev. Morgan Glenn (appointed June 2013), a new heating/air unit was installed and a new roof was placed on the cooking shelter.


Reverends Golston, J.A.Pinkston, J.L. Partee, M.J. Reddick, A.B. Torrence, Graham, McNeely, Watkins, McCorkle, Thomas Taylor, Benson, Hamilton, A.L. Barber, G.W. Griffin, G.W. Stinson, Seabrook, Leslie Canty, Stroud, W.J. Walls, S.M. Pharr, H.L. Simon, C.C. Martin, Sanford, Dailey, A.P. Morris, Dodge, Aggery, W. Myers, J.C. Sloan, G. Sidney Waddell, John Partee, Dr. Calvin Miller, E. Leroy White, C. F. Tillett, Michael R. Neal, Dr. A.C. Hunnicutt, Jordan B. Boyd, Dr. William M. Jordan, III, and Morgan Glenn.

New Hope

New Hope (first called Peter Holt Chapel) was organized in 1886 and was built on Highway 29 in Spencer, North Carolina.  The first church was part of the Winston-Salem District, Central North Carolina Conference.  Later, however, after the Western North Carolina Conference was set apart, Peter Holt Chapel became a part of the Salisbury District.

In 1890, Peter Holt Chapel was torn down and rebuilt with the church renamed, New Hope AME Zion Church.  A portion of the New Hope congregation organized a new church in the southern section (the Southern City Tabernacle AME Zion Church), pastored by Rev. W.H. Haleman.

New Hope burned to the ground in 1925 and the congregation worshipped at North Spencer Grammar School.  A new church was built in 1927 on the east side of the railroad track (separated - Spencer for East Spencer).  The builder of the present church was Rev. W.D. Carson (65 years ministry). 

New Hope Accomplishments:

  • 1956:  new cemetery space
  • 1968:  Educational Building
  • 1968-1980:  Various improvements
  • S&H Green Stamps collected (purchased organ, new pews, pultpi, etc.)
  • October 24, 1982:  Women raised $7,310.70

As of 1986, there have been 33 pastors who served the church (22 are asleep); and 10 presiding elders who served the Salisbury District (9 asleep).  Throughout its history until 1965, New Hope was a Circuit Church with White Rock AME Zion Church in Granite Quarry.

New Hope AME Zion Church is situated in the Western North Carolina Conference and was set apart from the Central North Carolina Conference on November 25, 1891.


Reverends C.T. Helfer, W.Q. Miller, Rev. Mrs. H.C. Campbell, H.L. Holeman, W.D. McCarkle, W.D. Carson, L.A. Barber, F.L. Standerford, W.H. Wheeler, D.N. Lilly, S.L. Dodd, A.P. Morris, C.W. Griffin, J.W. Wactor, J.J. Nicholson, O.L. Glover, T.H. Harris, J. Smith, G.A. Gainer, S.L. Bruce, J.A. Browne, P.J. Stroud, C.B. Walker, A.C. Honnicutt, J.N. Torrence, W.C. Walton, M. Carter, G.B. Thomas, R.L. Clayton, Silas Redd, E.E. Little, Paul Brown, and W. E. Blacklock.

Presiding Elders:

Reverends (deceased) S.H. Marable, P.T. Bennett, R.L. Moore, W.J. Hines, S.W. Hamilton, W.D. Carson, C.W. Hunter, C.E. Norment, N.K. Byers, Dr. L.C. Siler, G. Sidney Waddell, J.T. White, and Herbert R. Warren, Jr.  The current Presiding Elder is Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.

St. John

On April 3, 1897, one-fourth acre of land was deeded from Charlie Martin and his wife to the trustees of The AME Zion Church for the sum of $24,000. The site of this land was located on what now serves as the church cemetary off Milling Road, approximately one-half mile from the current church location in Mocksville, North Carolina.

Those trustees receiving the land were Elijah Gaither, Green Malone, Seal J. Neely, Edward Pettigrew, James Foster, and Addison Clement.  Amont the first ministers were Reverends John, Rowns, Naylor, Carter, and Clement.

As a footnote, Reverend George C. Clement would later, in 1904, become editor of the church publication, "The Star of Zion".  Ten years later, he became the managing editor of the publication and, in 1916, would be elected Bishop to the Third Episcopal District and becoming the first Bishop reigning from St. John AME Zion Church.

Several years later, the church at the original location was torn down and the second St. John was built on the grounds where it currently resides.  The trustees, during this period, were:  H.A. Gaither, Chester Carter, J.L. Gaither, and Henry Woodruff.  Some of the ministers during this period were: Reverends D.C. Lynch, A.P. Morris, Collins Lee, and J. Mitchell.

In 1927, the church was remodeled under the leadership of Rev. A.A. Adjohoe.  Ministers who followed Rev. Adjohoe were Reverends Lomax, Carruthers, Steward, Burk, McCullough, Spurgeon, Gray Jones, Byers, Steward, Tillman, N.V. Jones, F.M. Allen, Bruce, Bonner, Cook Pak, McMillan, and Watkins.  Some of the trustees who served during this period were:  J.A. Foster, I.L. Gaither, and Charlie Dulin.

In 1970, the present edifice was constructed under the leadership of Rev. Freeman Germany who had pastored for only three years.  The Trustee Board, at that time, included J.A. Foster, chairman; Lilian Williams, secretary; T.S. Holman, treasurer; and Louise Gaither.  Also serving on the board was Rosie Carter, W.M. Carter, Calvin Jones, Alice Barker, Thomas Gaither, and William E. Gaither.

On Sunday, April 25, 1971, the dedication of the current building was rendered.  The message was brought by then the Rev. Milton A. Williams, Sr., Presiding Elder in the Western New York Conference, who would later become Bishop Williams.  He was the great-grandson of Naomi Ephraim Clement who were the grandparents to Bishop George C. Clement, therefore becoming the second Bishop to be produced from St. John AME Zion Church.

In 1972, Rev. Raymond Helms was assigned to St. John where he pastored for two years.  Then there was Rev. W. B. F. Blackmon who, unfortunately, passed away while serving St. John.  He was followed by Reverends Michael Ellis, L.B. Speas, R.W. Myers, Michael McCray, Anthony Freeman, George Banks, Dr. F. Percy Smith, Karen Miller, Gwendolyn Hampton and, currently, Rev. Tamica L. Robinson.

Another footnote t the many wonderful ministers that pastored at St. John, Rev. Dr. F. Percy Smith, retired from St. John.  He is credited for creating the Official Logo for The AME Zion Church which is used on all church documents and publications throughout Zion.

From humble beginnings of 1897 to the present day, St. John has spanned two centuries and now embarks with enthusiasm into its third with faith, hope, and love - "but the greatest of these three is love" - for if it had not been for the love of those who came before us, those who are here today would not be able to enjoy the rich, beautiful history that they affectionately call "St. John".

Cedar Grove

The beginning of Cedar Grove AME Zion Church is similar to that of the founding of The AME Zion Connection.

Cedar Grove AME Zion Church, located at 2430 Hilderbrand Road in Barber, North Carolina, came into existence prior to 1879 at the 16th Session of the North Carolina Conference, under the leadership of Rev. C.M. Glasher.  Prior to that African Americans attended Cleveland and Barber at Ebenezer.  They attended meetings in Brush Arbors, also known as Hush Arbor, for service and prayer meeting.   Soldiers for Good understood the need for a proper place of worship and on June 3, 1908, a group (trustees) purchased one-half acre of land.  The deed was titled to Cedar Grove Church.  The name came about because the area was covered with cedar trees.  Three years later, the church was renamed Cedar Grove Methodist Church in 1911.  On September 1, 1919, another acre was bought.

The church was renamed again to Cedar Grove AME Zion, part of the Cleveland Circuit, which meant Cedar Grove and Third Creek were a circuit and shared the same pastor (First and Third Creek / Second and Fourth Cedar Grove).  Transportation to church was by horse/buggy or walking - stopping by a branch and washing your feet before getting to the church that did not have light, water/pot belly stove.

Cedar Grove Highlights:

  • Traveling Gospel Music:  In 1959, Sister Luckey organized the first choir that traveled in a truck.  In 2002, the first male choir and 2004, the first women's choir and anthem choir formed at Cedar Grove.
  • 1950:  Trustees built a Fellowship Hall (Hut); annual picnic was held on the fourth Saturday in August; and the Hut was removed in 1996 to pave the parking lot.
  • Church Renovation was done during 1962-1968 under Rev. J.C. Jones.  The Cleveland Circuit was discontinued in 1968-1969 when Rev. John Bennett was appointed.
  • 1987:  The communtion table and paraments were dedicated in memory of Rosetta Cuthbertson; flags were dedicated in memory of Hettie Cuthbertson.
  • 1992-1993:  Altar furniture, pews, new bibles, carpet, candle lighters (candlestick/air-condition) were installed.
  • 1999:  24.5 acres were purchased and remodeling of the church was done under the leadership of Rev. Kevin Williamson (windows stained).
  • 2003:  Rev. Dr. Patricia Tyson was pastor and the first church 15-passenger van was purchased in 2003; along with a new piano and microphones.  Of particular note were the following:  A.C. Winfield (18 years), John Ellis (103), Viola Fisher (109), Wilma Luckey (92), and Shirley Cuthbertson (35 years as Preacher Steward).

Wilma Luckey is still living and every now and then she shares some fond memories of the church.  Every now and then she comes to church, although her health doesn't permit her to come often.  Also, Cedar Grove is blessed by the life of Mr. J.T. Steele.  In 1995, under the leadership of Rev. Karen Miller, Mr. Steele was nominated Cedar Grove's Lay Council Person of the Year (on the Salisbury District) for the first church to have 100% particpation in paying lay dues.  After his death in 2000, his family made a generous donation in his honor.  In that respect, the church started the Cedar Grove Wall of Fame.  This wall is displayd downstairs and was designed to memoralize their members whose families also made contributions.  Other members memoralized include Mr. William Cuthbertson and Sister Doris Ann Connor.  Also in 2002, Brother Shirley Cuthbertson, under the leadership of Rev. LaDorsa Mays was recognized as the first Preacher Steward Banquet for serving his church in this capacity for over 35 years.

It is the wisdom and shoulders of the faithful laborers that Cedar Grove stands on, even today, as they continue the upward journey to Zion.  Although many members, who offered their souls as living sacrifices for God, have gone on to glory and Cedar Grove must never forget that it was also the strong leadership of pastors, assistant pastors, local preachers, presiding elders, and bishops who have been a part of the Cedar Grove African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Family.

The following pastors, assistant pastors, local preachers, presiding elders have presided over the conference of which Cedar Grove was a part.


Reverends C.M. Glashber (served before the church was built), Lewis Barber (served as pastor when the church was built), B.W. Ramseur, A.B. Mosley, B.W. Monocure, F.L. Standifer, T. Harrison, G. Brooks, T.H. Harris, George Griffin, A.C. Hunnicut, Reid R. White, C.C. Revels, J. Wesley, R.C. Jones, John Bennett, A.C. Windfield, Clyde Dungee, Karen R. Miller, Kevin Williamson, LaDorsa Mays, Dr. Patricia A. Tyson (deceased), and Dr. Bertha E. Pittman.

Assistant Pastors:

Sisters Annie Leazer, Rosetta Cuthbertson, Beatrice Vaughters, and Reverends, Matthew Vaughters, Samuel Shore, and Gwendolyn Hampton.  Local Preachers:  Brothers Eddie Fortson, Vaughn Williams, Jeff Williamson, Steve Williamson, Rev. Timothy Bridges, and Sisters Donna Cuthbertson, Dianne E. Williams, Emerald Hall, and Tajuan Kyles.

Presiding Elders:

Reverends S.H. Marable, P.T. Bennett, R.L. Moore, W.J. Hines, S.W. Hamilton, W.D. Carson, G.W. Hunter, C.E. Mormet, N.K. Byers, L.E. Silers, J.T. White, Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.

Third Creek

On June 26, 1884, a group of men purchased, from R.N. Roseboro and wife, Mollie J. Roseboro, a parcel of land - 50 ft. by 100 ft., 1/8th acre more or less, on which a small frame structure was erected.  It was named Third Creek AME Zion Church.  This structure was in use until 1897.

On March 19, 1897,  the same group purchased from Mr. & Mrs. R.N. Roseboro another half acre, more or less, at a cost of $20.  An additional 1/4 acre was acquired on April 9, 1901.  This quarter-acre was added to acreage for Third Creek and their successors.  The trustees who made these land purchases possible were: John Knox, Mack Moser, David Tomlin, Jesse Knox, Mrs. Scott Hill, Henry McConneaughey, and Overdye Bridges.  This concluded the buying of land for 49 years.

On November 24, 1950, the trustees purchased a quarter acre from Mr. & Mrs. George L. Lyerly.  The Trustee Board, at that time, included Eugene Houston, Odell Houston, George Hyde, Anderson Wood, John W. Wood, J.S. Shaver, and H.W. Knox.

Remodeling and landscaping in the 1940s were the first works completed.  Other improvements followed namely, an education annex, classrooms, kitchens, two restrooms, and a fellowship hall.  Rev. J. Rolland Wesley was the pastor.

On August 7, 1962, at a cost of $16,000, these improvements were completed.  Members of the Trustee Board were Robert Chambers, Eugene Houston, Fred Connor, Ralph Hall, Jr., and James Houston.  Rev. R.C. Jones was the pastor.  Mrs. Laura Barbara Jones-Taylor, one of Third Creek's most distinguished members who was loyal and faithful, serving on many boards on different levels in the church (especially as president of the Salisbury District Missionary Society), donated the baptismal and many other items to the church.

The church continued to prosper and improve.  The most expensive improvement was made in 1975 when the structure was remodeled on October 6th at a cost of $42,000 of which the church borrowed $23,500.  The edifice was bricked, new pews, carpet, piano, and pulpit furniture, furnace and air-conditioning were added in the sanctuary.  During this time, members of the Trustee Board included Robert Chambers, John G. Rankin, Beatrice Powe, Oneita Knox, H.E. Houston, Mrs. Frances Johnson, and Theodore Rankin.  Mr. Hinton Houston served faithfully for many years as a trustee, steward, and church treasurer.  Rev. M.R. Wilson was the pastor.  Mr. Arthur & Mrs. Sandra Hunt donated the wrought iron rod for the altar railing; and Mrs. Hunt made/donated the altar cloth for holy communion as well as cross-stitched the welcome sign.

Under the leadership of Rev. James R. Samuel, a tithing program was implemented and additional land was purchased to enlarge the cemetery.

Some Former Pastors and Presiding Elders:

Reverends James Jones, John S. Mills, Paul Brown, A.B. Mosely, The Right Rev. W.J. Walls, T.H. Harris, The Right Rev. G.W. Clements, The Right Rev. J.W. Kiles, Elder C.E. Norment, C.V. Ramseur, S.W. Hampton, W.J. Campbell, G.A. Brooks, Elder I.L. Houston, Jesse L. Smith, J.T. Jones, George W. Griffin, D.D. Moser, Richard Moss, Elder N.K. Byers, S.S. Spudgon, Robert Simmons, F.J. Williams, G.H. Hairston, C.F. Standerford, R.C. Jones, W.C. Bankhead, R.R. White, Sr., C.C. Rebels, John R. Wesley, M. Metcalf, E.E. Little, C.K. Kendall, The Right Rev. Raymond Jones, Audie Simon, Mrs. James Samuel, Hezekiah Lawson II, Glenn Grayson, Rwc. Dr. Marion B. Jones, J.D. Gladden, Dr. Robert Lawton, Elder Lee Clinton Siler, Dr. Jerry T. White, Wayne Griffin, Donnie C. Kent and, presently, Harold L. Jordan.

Local Preachers:

Reverends Tommy Knox, Dollie Griffin, David Rankin and, presently, Andrea Polk and Brother James Rankin.

Third Creek Progress:

  • On January 26, 1989, two parcels of land was purchased from Earl C. Wanzer on behalf of the Kilpatrick heirs.  One parcel was purchased at a cost of $2,300 and the second parcel, $1,200.
  • The new addition to the fellowship hall was completed in January 1993.  The pastor was Rev. Marion Jones.  The improvements included enlarging the dining area, addition of a storage room, two restrooms, a finance room, and air-conditioning for the rear rooms of the church.  Rev. Jones served as pastor from July 1991 until Easter Sunday, 1993.  He received his Doctorate degree in Music, while at Third Creek.
  • In the 2002-2003 conference year, the Rankin, Niblock, and Pharr families donated padded pews to the church.  Mr. Gregory Houston of Atlanta, Georgia donated carpet for the sanctuary in honor of his father, John Houston of Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • In 2003-2004, Mrs. Myrl Thomas donated ceiling fans for the sanctuary.
  • ​Under Rev. Kent's leadership, the Community Outreach Board was organized on February 9, 2005.  The Board applied for and received the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the church.

Third Creek AME Zion Church is happy, thankful and grateful for 131 years of service to the Cleveland community.


Miller's Chapel

Miller's Chapel AME Zion Church began as a log cabin in 1874, under the leadership of Mr. Paign.  A frame structure erected under the leadership of Rev. McCoy replaced the log cabin.  The church had no electricity, running water or other indoor conveniences.  The roads were rocky and unpaved, which made traveling uncomfortable.  This, however, did not deter the faithful members from braving mud, rain and darkness to worship.

The Dedication Exercises were held in 1902, during the administration of Rev. A.T. Graham.  There were 14 teachers, three secretaries, three beauticians, and two home and farm demonstrators in membership at this time.

Some of the first trustees and builders of Miller's Chapel included Mack Todd, John and Henry Thompson, Richard and Hamp Gibson, J.R. Neely, Joseph Litaker, Moses and John Locke, John Perkins, Henry Young, Henry Higgins, Roland and Thomas Miller, and Roland Harris.

As the years passed, Miller's Chapel prospered.  New members were added under the leadership of many dynamic pastors.  The church made needed improvements such as a furnace, lights, basement, pulpit set, water, pews, choir chairs, and a brick-veneered structure.

Under the leadership of Rev. J.D. Gladden, Miller's Chapel's members found it necessary to make further improvements.  The church was bricked and a new sanctuary completely remodeled.  Improvements were made to the basement, educational rooms, ushers and choir rooms were added to the present structure.  Rev. J.D. Gladden, a spiritual man of determination and energetic leadership, led the completion of the new Miller's Chapel AME Zion Church.  His motto was "Right Giving is Right Living."

Rev. J.C. Sloan, a spiritual and dedicated leader, came to Miller's Chapel with new ideas.  The church continued to grow under his leadership.  Miller's Chapel purchased a new piano and an organ was donated.  Rev. Sloan's motto was "Follow the Leader".

Dr. Robert B. Lawton stressed spiritual and financial moral of the church.  As a result, there was an increase in tithes.  The Wednesday Night Prayer Service renewed.  The church also organized several new choirs and organizations.  Dr. Robert B. Lawton believed in standing firm and waiting on the Lord, because "Prayer will change things".

The late, Mrs. European Glover, sister of Dr. Robert B. Lawton, was a Christian lady.  She worked in most of the organizations in the church.  Mrs. Glover believed that God had been good to her so she should give something back to Miller's Chapel.  As a result of her generosity, Miller's Chapel received a van, a paved parking area, and money for improvements to the Fellowship Hall.  The Trustees receiving the money were Roy Litaker, chairman, Timothy Neely, Mildred Neely, Raymond Johnson, Jr., and Dr. Robert B. Lawton.

The late, Rev. Matthew Williamson, Sr., was a great tither.  He made further improvements to Miller's Chapel.  The sanctuary was carpeted during his years as pastor.  He was a great singer and made sure that Miller's Chapel was a great church spiritually and financially.

Rev. Hezekiah Lawson was associate pastor under Rev. Matthew Williamson.  Upon the retirement of Rev. Williamson, Rev. Lawson becam the new pastor of Miller's Chapel AME Zion Church.  The number of members has increased under the leadership of Rev. Lawson, including the addition of retired pastor and Presiding Elder, Rev. Dr. Andrew Whitted and his wife, Mrs. Annette Whitted.

Rev. Lawson emphasizes the importance of tithing, the observance of all annual days and organized Bible Study Class.  Rev. Lawson preaches the importance of health in his sermons.  The second Sunday in each month is Youth Day with children involved in morning worship.  Miller's Chapel is a member of Christian Fellowship with three other churches in the community that provides food for those in need by supporting helping ministries with donations.

During much of Rev. Lawson's time at Miller's Chapel, the main project has been building a much needed new fellowship hall.  Due to the diligence of the congregation, and the tireless support of Rev. Lawson, the new fellowship hall was built.  The Dedication Service was held on Sunday, November 8, 2009.  The theme was "Solid Faith in Uncertain Times".  Rev. Lawson's emphasis has been on the church as community based on love, cooperation and support.  This has increased greater awareness of their responsibility to all of God's Children.

Former Pastors (Deceased):
Reverends T.P. Turner, R.J. Jones, W.J. Walls, W.T. Medford, Carl Paign, McCoy, A.T. Gorham, P.A. McCorkle, Murray, D.A. Kelly, R.J. Stroud, Matthew Williamson, Selem Kelly, T.L. Flowe, J.S.N. Trace, T.O. Diggs, J.C. Nelson, V.L. Carson, Frank Gibson, J.E. Jackson, S.E. Meeks, Janie Crawford, J.C. Sloan, J.E.K. Aggrey, J.P. McCurdy, S.W. Peacock, George Griffin, B.B. Moore, C.C. Martin, D.L. Seabrook, R.W. Myers, O.C. Dumas, and Robert Lawton.

Former Pastors (from 1949):

Reverends Curlies Curry, Bobby Smith, and Hezekiah Lawson.

Former Presiding Elders (Deceased):

Reverends B.E. Norment, N.K. Byers, G. Sidney Waddell, L.C. Siler, J.T. White, and Herbert Warren, Jr. 

Presiding Elder (Current):

Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr. (2014-present)


Liberty AME Zion Church steeped in the rich heritage and tradition of the Zion Connection.  Dating back to the 1800s, members here have always been a beacon of light in the community in which she stands.  However, the actual historical records of this small, but great church were destroyed in a fire some years ago.  Liberty regrets deeply to acknowledge that they cannot write a full and complete history of Liberty AME Zion Church.

After long hours of searching, the members of the Fact Finding Committee are now able to establish an approximate date of when their founding fathers got together and formed what is now aptly called, Liberty African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

On January 25, 1878, two agents, Ned Brown and Peter Parker of The AME Zion Publishing House, aided in the purchase of a small parcel of land nestled in the community of Cooleemee, North Carolina.  This land was purchased from Martha Maroney for $5.00, to be used as a cemetery.  Near this piece of land was an old school that was used as Liberty Church.

After many interviews with old established members of this community, Liberty is confident to know that their fore parents were dedicated men and women who had a deep regard for God's work and the perpetuation of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection.

Dedicated persons whose names will never be mentioned in the great archives of history:  Will Clement, Lomax Oakley, Thomas Neely, and Mary Hunter are remembered as those original members who sought to maintain the integrity of their church as a viable force in the midst of grave turmoil to insure their support to the Zion Connection.

In 1925, the present structure was rebuilt with grateful appreciation given to John Hopson, Sally Neely, Lula Clement, Blanche Oakley, Maggie Hooper, James Ijames, Bessie Ijames, Ida Ijames, Robert Neely, Amanda Neely, Author Miller, Essie Miller, Andrew Patterson, Sr., Estella Patterson, and Zelma Flint.

Progress at Liberty:

  • Under the leadership of Rev. Janie Crawford, the church was bricked at a cost of $1,500 with the help from other pillow stone members:  Lorenzo Maxwell, Miller Clement, Paul Fowler, Vernell Maxwell, Johnson Ijames, Freddie Ijames, Marth Ijames, Eliza Fowler, Louise Carter, Robert Pulliam, Dollie Pulliam Pruitt, Annie M. Shanks, Estella Patterson, Eller W. Hargrove, and many others.
  • Under the leadership of Rev. Louis Hunter, the floor was restored and carpet added.
  • Under the leadership of Rev. James Milton, the roof was replaced and the steeple added thanks to Martha Ijames who raised the monies; and the church also installed central air and heat.
  • Under the leadership of  Rev. Mildred Lawson, Libery enlarged their fellowship hall, thanks to one of their members, Richard S. Cuthbertson, Sr., who is was the caretaker at Camp Dorothy Walls and his cousin, John F. Cuthbertson.  Pads were added to the pews thanks to Eller W. Hargrove; and the piano was replaced ... "to God be the Glory!"
  • Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Bertha Pittman, the church established a Scholarship Fund and Capital Fund.  Also, repairs were done to the bathroom floors and some other minor items.
  • Rev. Tamica Robinson donated the air-conditioner for the fellowship hall.
  • Under the leadership of Rev. David Smalls, Liberty has replaced the heating and air system and installed a new roof, thanks to the Conference Home Missions Department.

Since the time of this conception, the members of Liberty AME Zion Church have carried on the legacy and the rich heritage for which it was founded, the oldest member being Andrew Patterson, Jr.  This church like so many of our churches in Zion have never sought any special recognition for its work, nor ever faltered or threatened to run away when times were so cruel that we could not afford the simple pleasures of lift, for "We are 'Building God's Kingdom One Soul at a Time'."

Pastors and Servants of God (many who have gone to become outstanding leaders in communities, cities and states other than Cooleemee, North Carolina):

Reverends Don Copeland, Dr. Michael Ellis, Honeycutt, Alfred Leake, Kendell, Kevin McGill, Metcalf, Matthew Vaughters, Mildred Lawson, Tamica Robinson, S.J. Clement, Fair, Rev. Louis Hunter, Sr. (now, retired Bishop of the Southwestern Delta Episcopal District), James Milton, Hezekiah Lawson, McGriff, Robert Mackey, Dr. Bertha Pittman, Janie Crawford, Freeman Germany, Houston, Michael McCray, Wayne Griffin, Moore, Torrence, Robert Lawton, Finkley.

Current and Dedicated Pastor:

ev. David T. Smalls

South Iredell

From the original minutes of the historical transcript (1891-1911) of the Western North Carolina Conference, prepared by Rev. Dr. James D. Armstrong and the Historical Society staff, some history of South Iredell AME Zion church follows.

  • The Statesville District, under Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. M. V. Marable, Zion Wesley Circuit included South Iredell, Rev. S.D. Watkins, pastor.
  • Appointments given to the Second District (Statesville) at the 1st Session of the WNCC, convened at Moore's Chapel AME Zion Church in Lincolnton, NC (November 25-30, 1891); the 2nd Session convened in Hickory, NC (December 7-14, 1892) included Presiding Elder Marable and Rev. S.M. Pharr, pastor of South Iredell; the 3rd Session convened in Charlotte, NC (December 6-11, 1893 / Bishop Moore died December 9, 1893) included The Right Rev. Thomas Lomax, Presiding Elder Marable and the Statesville Circuit (Shiloh, Zion Wesley, and South Iredell) were under the pastorship of Rev. J.A. House; 4th Session convened at Winston Tabernacle, Winston-Salem, NC (December 5-10, 1894) included Elder Marable and the Statesville District (South Iredell) under Rev. R.H. Moss; 6th Session convened in Rutherfordton, NC (December 2, 1896) included Presiding Elder R.H. Simmons and Rev. C.P. Lackey, pastor; 7th Session convened at Soldiers Memorial, Salisbury, NC (November 3-9, 1897) including Elder Simmons and Rev. R.C. Collins, pastor of the Statesville Station; 8th Session convened at Moore's Chapel in Lincolnton, NC (December 14, 1898) including Elder Simmons and Rev. A.L. Newby, pastor of South Iredell on the Statesville District;  9th Session convened at Clinton Chapel in Charlotte, NC (November 29, 1899) under Bishop Lomax (no appointments); 10th Session convened at Winston Tabernacle in Winston-Salem, NC (December 5, 1900) included The Right Rev. I.C. Clinton (no appointments); 11th Session convened at Mayo's Sanctuary in Hickory, NC under Bishop Clinton; 12th Session convened at Martin's Chapel in Gastonia, NC (November 26-December 1, 1902) included Presiding Elder P.A. McCorkle and Rev. W.A. Blackwell, pastor; 13th Session convened at Mount Pleasant Church in Statesville, NC (November 25, 1903) included Elder McCorkle and Statesville Station pastor, Rev. W.A. Blackwell; 14th Session convened at Little Roack Church in Charlotte, NC (November 23-28, 1904) included Presiding Elder H.L. Simmons and Rev. W.A. Blackwell, Statesville Pastor; 18th Session convened at Mayo's Temple in Hickory, NC (November 18, 1908 - no appointments); 19th Session convened at Center Street AME Zion Church in Statesville, NC (November 16, 1910) included Elder H.L. Simmons and Statesville pastor, Rev. C.W. Simmons; and the 21st Session convened at Soldiers Memorial Church in Salisbury, NC (November 8, 1911) included Elder H.L. Simmons and Rev. C.W. Simmons, pastor of the Statesville Station.  
  • A new edifice was completed in 1997 under the leadership of Rev. James Peace, Presiding Elder J.T. White and Bishop Cecil Bishop; and various members donated windows.
  • In April 2000, Rev. David Rankin served as Supply Pastor and was appointed to South Iredell during the 2001-2002 WNC Annual Conference.  Rev. Herbert R. Warren, Jr. became Presiding Elder of the Salisbury District.  Various members donated chandeliers (Mrs. Catherine Myers, Mrs. Rochelle Nicholas, Mrs. Annie Wilson, Mrs. Mary Jones, Rev. and Mrs. David Rankin) and Dr. and Mrs. Paul Walker donated a collection table.  Other donations included:   prayer and tithe box, sound system and lectern (Rev. and Mrs. Rankin); a set of drums (Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Everhart), a keyboard (Mrs. Catherine Myers), large print Bibles (Mrs. and Mrs. John Marshall Heaggins), painting over the baptismal pool (Mrs. Margaret Hurlocker), and wooden cross (Ricardo Heaggins).
  • In 2005-2006, a set of water fountains were donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Heaggins.
  • During the 2006-2007 conference year, renovations began in the fellowship hall.  Trustees Mrs. Mary Jones, Mrs. Annie Wilson, Jeanette Rankin (donated pictures for fellowship hall and vestibule and cabinets for the kitchen), and Stewards, William Miller, Jr. and Mrs. Catherine Myers purchased a heater.  The Pastor's Study was renovated in memory of husband, Rev. Royce Myers, and granddaughter, Mrs. Rochelle Nicholas, by Mrs. Catherine Myers.  Mrs. Myers also renovated the kitchen in the fellowship hall and donated a van.  Mrs. Mary Rankin donated a stove for the kitchen.
  • During the 2007-2008 conference year, Ricardo Heagins donated encyclopedias and books and Suzanne Davis donated books; Jeanette Rankin donated bookcases, file cabinets, and a copying machine; Mrs. Alice McCoy donated a refrigerator; and Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Drummet donated a new riding lawn mower.
  • Mrs. Barbara Sadler furnished the communion altar in 2009-2010 and Mrs. Mary Rankin donated the altar dressings for communion.
  • During 2010-2011, the altar kneeling bench was extended and elevated.  Various members along with James and Cheryl Douglas donated The AME Zion Bicentennial Hymnals.
  • Rev. Bobbi R. Samuels was appointed pastor at the 121st Session of the WNC Annual Conference (June 22-26, 2011) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Asheville, NC by Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr.
  • During 2011-2012, Robert McCoy donated a riding lawn mower to the church.
  • 2013-2014 Conference Year:  Church mortgage paid off.
  • 2014-2015 Conference Year:  New hearing/air-condition unit installed.

Presiding Elders:  

Reverends E.C. Norment, N.K. Byers, Lee C. Siler, E.E. Waddell, J.T. White, Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and presently, Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.


Reverends Isaac Houston, O.C. Dumas, Wells, Maxie Houston, Sr., G.P. Gilmore, Qutrell, Walter Burton, Sadler, Sloan, Janie Crawford, Tay, Wayne Griffin, B.S. Lane, Calvin Miller, John Cowan, Jr., J.D. Gladden, James Peace, Karen Miller, Terry Boyd, LaDorsa Mays, Benjamin Mays, David Rankin, and presently, Rev. Bobbie R. Samuels.


Some 141 years ago, Providence Colored Church came into existence by having prayer meetings, song services, and bible study in different homes and brush arbors located in the community known as the Hatters Shop area of Rowan County.  These services were conducted through the will of God.

In the year 1891, Thomas T. Earnhardt and his wife, Anna, had a vision that a church was needed in order for the colored community to have worship service to glorify God and improve relationships in the community.  On December 17, 1891, Thomas and Anna Earnhardt deeded land to the following trustees:  John P. Holmes, Stephen Austin, Roland Harky, and their successors in the office forever.  As a result, came Providence Colored Church.  It is unknown when Providence joined The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Conference.

There was no electricity or indoor facilities until the second church was built.

Providenced AME Zion Church was a circuit church along with Second Creek AME Zion Church on Gheen Road in Rowan County.  Services were held at Providence on the second and fourth Sundays and at Second Creek on the first and third Sundays.

Under the administration of Presiding Elder, Rev. N.K. Byers, Providence and Ardis Chapel AME Zion Churches were taken out of the intensive care and each church became a station church.

The present structure is the third sanctuary built on the property.  The trustees, at that time, were Quentin Holmes, Nebraska Lowery, Milton Anglo Barger, and John Franklin Moss.

During the years that followed, the membership began to dwindle due to members seeking better employment opportunities, marriage, college bound students, and death.  By the grace of God, the membership has now increased.

A new fellowship hall had been added and a complete renovation of the sanctuary has transpired under the leadership of a formal pastor, the Rev. Harold L. Jordan.  A dedication service of the new and renovated facilities was held in May 2008.


Reverends C.V. Flack, Griffin, Nebraska Jones, C.R. Wells, T.M. Poe, Durr, Willie Barber, George Gilmore, Dr. Andrew Whitted (*), James Abernathy, Ola Cassell, Ruth Kirk, Gary Simmons, Reid R. White, Sr., James Milton (*), Joseph McMillian, John L. Miller, Sr., Harold L. Jordan (*), Tamica L. Robinson (*), and Zacharias E. Allen, Sr. (July 3, 2011-present).  

Presiding Elders:  

Reverends George Hunter, C.L. Norment, N.K. Byers, Sidney G. Waddell, Lee C. Siler, Jerry T. White, Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr. (*)

Note:  (*) Living Pastor/Presiding Elder

Ardis Chapel

Ardis Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was established in 1869 in the home of Brown Walker by Rev. Charles Ardis.  The house in which the organization took place stood directly across teh Old Mocksville Road to the west of the present structure. The original structure was erected in 1888, by a young Black congregation under the supervision of James Hawkins.  Some of the builders were James Hawkins, Ned Hannah, Brown Walker, James Chunn,and Rev. Charles Ardis.

On August 6, 1890, the trustees purchased the present site consisting of one acre, more or less, from Bishop C.R. Harris for the sum of $30.  Among its charter members and original trustees were Allen Correll, Brown Walker, James Chunn, and John Maghee.  Some of the members of this church, today, are descendants of these persons.

Dr. Joseph Charles Price, founder and first president of Livingstone College, dedicated the building in the spring of 1891.  Dr. Price performed the Act of Dedication and preached the Dedication Sermon.  The church was named for its founder, Rev. Charles Ardis.

On September 14, 1894 at 9:00 a.m., the deed was filed for registration and registered in the office of the Registrar of Deeds for Rowan County, North Carolina in Book 76, page 486 and signed by H.N. Woodson.

Ardis Chapel has produced a long line of distinguished ministers; some of whom have gone to higher positions of service and leadership in our country.  Among those persons were the late Bishop Raymond Luther Jones and the late Bishop Milton A. Williams.

The present structure was built by the contractor, the late Conrad Bost, in 1982 and completed in 1983.  The plans were designed and drawn up by Rev. Dr. Calvin L. Miller, a member and now Presiding Elder of the Winston-Salem District of the Western North Carolina Conference.  Arthur and Jean Miller were the liaisons with Mr. Bost.  The trustees, at that time, were Carl Marlin, Jr., chairman, Eugene Cladwell, Arthur Miller, Thomas Tabor, Sr., and the late Rev. James L. Hauser, Sr.

The trustees, under the leadership of Thomas Miller, added a new gas heating and air-conditioning system in March 1990.  In the spring and summre of 1990, an outdoor bulletin board containing the bell that was in the original church, was erected in the front of the churcho by the trustees under the direction of John Sifford, Sr.  The bell was donated to the church by Livingstone College.

The Mortgage Burning Celebration Service was held on Sunday, March 21, 1993, under the leadership of Rev. Charles Tillett, Jr.  The sermon and mortgage buring was conducted by the late Bishop Ruben L. Speaks, Senior Bishop and Presiding Prelate of the WNCC/Piedmont Episcopal District.  Dr. Jerry T. White, who also participated in the service, was the Presiding Elder.  Trustees at that time were Thomas Miller, chairman, Carl Marlin, Jr., Eugene Caldwell, Arthur Miller, and John Sifford, Sr.

Ardis Chapel added a new fellowship hall and renovated the present structure by Summit Development beginning in 2003 and completed in 2004.  The campaign fund for this project began under the leadership of Rev. Robert Mackey.  Under the auspice of Rev. Anthony J. Freeman  and Rev. George C. Banks (now Rev. Drs.) - under whose leadership the plans were drawn up, the campaign fund continued.  Beginning the 2003-2004 conference year, Presiding Elder Herbert Warren, Jr. guided Ardis Chapel through the beginning of the construction project.  Rev. Rudolph Cornelius, who was appointed in October 2003, guided Ardis Chapel through the completion of the project.  Round tables were purchased under Rev. Cornelius to enhance the beauty of the fellowship hall.  The trustees, at that time, and still present included Thomas Miller, chairman, Jeff Roberts, Dirwin Propst, Arthur Miller, Robert Correll, Thomas Tabor, Kevin McCullough, Sr., Carl Marlin, Jr., Mrs. Jean Miller and Mrs. Mary M. Marlin.  Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Marlin are the first females to be appointed to the Ardis Chapel Trustee Board.

The Service of Dedication for the present structure and fellowship hall was held on Sunday, April 3, 2005.  The Right Rev. George W.C. Walker, Sr., Senior Bishop and Presiding Prelate of WNCC/Piedmont Episcopal District, at that time, preached the Dedication Sermon and performed the Act of Dedication.

Under the leadership of Rev. David T. Miller, Ardis Chapel liquidated the debt of the pews.  The church also enhanced their grouds with remodeled sidewalks and other ground work.  At the 139th Church Anniversary, held on April 20, 2008, new stain glass windows were dedicated by the Presiding Elder, Rev. Herbert R. Warren, Jr.  The windows were donated by Rev. Miller and members in memory and honor of their loved ones.

Under the leadership of Rev. Trishaun Kendall, additional outdoor lighting was added.  The members also established an Ardis Chapel website with live streaming for all of their services.  A Facebook page was created to share their minstries with others.

Ardis Chapel is blessed to have the visionary, Rev. R. Nathan Bratton, serving as their pastor.  In March 2013, Ardis Chapel installed a cross in front of the church.  The church is blessed to have added a paved parking lot during Conference Year 2014.  Ardis Chapel is growing spiritually and looking forward to going to higher heights in God under his leadership.


Reverends Charles Ardis (first pastor), Raymond Jones (Bishop, deceased), Milton Williams (Bishop, deceased), James Abernathy, John Frank Massey, William Milton White, Bobby Smith, Michael Puryear, Tate, Samuel Hopkins, James Sadler, W.E. Blacklock, Matthew Vaughters, James Hauser (served at two different times), James Conrad, Benjamin Byers, Ivan Morton, Robert Mackey, Charles F. Tillett, Anthony Freeman, George Banks, Rudolph Cornelius, David Miller, Trishaun M. Kendall, and currently, Rev. R. Nathan Bratton.

Presiding Elders:

Reverends C.E. Norment, N.K. Byers, Lee C. Siler, G. Sidnay Waddell, Jerry T. White, Herbert R. Warren, Jr., and currently, Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, Jr.