St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church Church Celebrates it's Centennial

by Bree Glenn
St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church (Detroit, MI), under the leadership of the Rev.Dr. Eleazar Merriweather, will celebrate its 100th anniversary, in October 2011. The theme for the centennial is “Use what you have; Do what you can; It’s enough!”(Bishop Nathaniel Jarrett, Jr.). The Theme Scriptures are Exodus 14:15-16 and John 6:5-13

St. Paul is in the Detroit District of the Michigan Annual Conference in the Mid-west Episcopal District of the
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. St. Paul celebrated this monumental occasion all year with many special Church services and events. The year-long celebration will culminated with a centennial banquet on October 1, 2011 and a centennial celebration on Sunday, October 2, 2011 where Bishop Roy Holmes, Mid-West Episcopal District, delivered the sermon.

The History of St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church
The history of the Church began in the Catherine Street home of Mr. C. D. Cox in 1911, under the leadership of Rev. James Terry. In 1918, Rev. L. Q. Conquest became the pastor. Worship services were held temporarily in the old Vaudette Theatre on Gratiot Street when the Catherine street structure was destroyed by fire.

In 1920, Rev. P.R. Flack became the pastor, and led the congregation in the purchase of a church on Palmer and Beaubien.

In 1941, Rev. Lott P. Powell assumed the pastoral leadership. During his pastorate, scholarships to Livingstone College (N.C.) were established. Rev. Powell was a faithful pastor until his untimely death following his Sunday morning sermon in 1947.

Rev. William Alexander Hilliard pastored St. Paul from 1947-1960. Rev. Hilliard established a Sunday nursery for the children. Rev. Hilliard oversaw the move to the present location, which the congregation purchased from Congregation B'Nai Moshe (Jewish Synagogue) in September, 1959. Rev. Hilliard was elected to the Episcopacy in 1960.

Rev. Dr. William Carleton Ardrey pastored St. Paul from 1960 - 1989. Dr. Ardrey provided exemplary leadership both as the pastor of St. Paul and as a community leader for the City of Detroit. Dr. Ardrey led the congregation in continued growth and the retirement of the church mortgage.

In 1989, Rev. Dr. William Milton White, Sr. was appointed Pastor. Dr. White served until his death in March 1996. Dr. White brought renewed growth and led the congregation in a $500,000 restoration and beautification project. Included in this ministry was the implementation of a soup kitchen, the purchase of a new parsonage, a parking lot, and an Outreach Ministry.

In July, 1996, Rev. Dr. Derrick R. Anderson was appointed Pastor. Dr. Anderson worked to build upon the great tradition and heritage of St. Paul to ensure the growth and vitality of the congregation and ministry. To this end, Rev. Anderson instituted annual tent revival services and opened the doors of St. Paul to house a head start program. Dr. Anderson continued leading the congregation in the restoration and beautification project initiated by Dr. White.

Every round goes higher and higher. In July 2009, we were blessed with our current Pastor, Rev. Dr. Eleazar Merriweather and his loving wife, Rev. Wanda Merriweather. He brings with him a commitment to and enthusiasm for the word of God; as well as devotion and emphasis on the Book of Discipline for the history, doctrine and polity of the AME Zion Church. As a result, the Church is experiencing new birth, and spiritual and numerical growth. We look forward to embarking on a new journey which is centered on the word of God and driven by the love for God.

For more information about St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church Centennial, click the links on the right.