African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church grew out of the Free African Society which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. In 1816 as a Deacon in the Methodist Church, Richard Allen led several black Methodist congregants, that had been feeling unwelcomed by white Methodists, to seek their independence and was consecrated its first bishop by a conference of five churches from Philadelphia to Baltimore. The church sought to help enslaved members to purchase their freedom and has persistently advocated for the civil and human rights of all humankind through social improvement, religious autonomy, and political engagement. The denomination expanded west and south, particularly after the Civil War and by 1906, the AME Church had a membership close to 500,000, making it the largest Methodist denomination of African-Americans. The A.M.E. Church currently has membership in twenty Episcopal Districts, in thirty-nine countries on five continents.
Saint John African Methodist Episcopal Church
It is the established consensus of earlier members that Saint John Church was organized between 1840 and 1860. Saint John was an independent Methodist Church with philanthropic support. A local white citizen visited the North and learned of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and upon his return he encouraged Saint John Church to affiliate with the A.M.E. denomination. Saint John made its connection with the A.M.E. denomination in 1880, under the pastoral leadership of the Reverend Jordan Jay. The Reverend Richard Graham was the Presiding Elder and the Right Reverend J.P. Campbell was the Presiding Bishop. Saint John made its first report to an A.M.E. Annual Conference as a member of the Griffin District in 1889.
The first property of the church was donated by Jimmie Stubbs and was located behind the cemetery in Fayette County, which later became Campbell County and subsequently part of Fulton County. In 1907, a site was purchased for the sum of $110.35 where members were able to meet. A storm, however, destroyed the church in 1918 and the members were left without a place to worship. Money was raised to build another sanctuary but for several years the met wherever they could until the building committee could erect a new place of worship. Another misfortune struck the church in 1937. Due to poor construction, a strong wind caused the building to lean so badly that it was dangerous for worship.
They were once again left without a place to assemble to worship God together. In 1938, under the pastorate of the Reverend C.C. Blake, the church was rebuilt, and Saint John A.M.E. Church’s congregation worshipped in that structure until 1991.
In 1991, under the determined leadership of Reverend Isaiah Juran Waddy (1986-1993) Saint John purchased 7.8 acres and began construction at 305 West Campbellton Street, Fairburn, Ga., our present site. To aid in the new construction, the old church at 161 Senoia Road in Fairburn was sold to Temple of Prayer Deliverance Center. This sale left the church temporarily without a place of worship. Faith led Mr. Murray of Murray Brothers Funeral Homes to volunteer the use of his chapel at no cost to the church for the entire 11 months they were there. On February 16, 1991, Saint John held a groundbreaking ceremony at Landmark School with Bishop John Hurst Adams and Presiding Elder Lee Jerome Jones in attendance. Through the leadership of the Reverend Waddy and the hard work of the members, the new church was dedicated on January 17, 1992 by Bishop Donald George Kenneth Ming, Presiding Elder Lee Jerome Jones, and Pastor Waddy.
In 1993 the Reverend Dr. Keith Lawrence was appointed Senior Pastor of Saint John. Under his leadership Saint John grew spiritually and numerically and began holding two worship services while also acquiring four additional properties.
In 2004, The Reverend B.A Hart was appointed to shepherd the flock at Saint John. Pastor Hart’s leadership brought Saint John to became financially stable, embarked upon financial planning, and continued its expansion of the Means of Grace. With the support of congregants, Pastor Hart led the church through making several physical improvements including those made to the sanctuary, building and landscaping of the grounds. During Rev. Hart’s leadership numerous ministries and community outreach programs were established and flourished.
In 2017, under the guidance of the Presiding Prelate, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, the Reverend Charles R. Ramsey, Jr. was assigned to pastor St. John AME Church. Under the theme; A Place of Divine Possibilities, and his charismatic leadership the church has grown spiritually and numerically. The church has also advanced in financial, physical, and technological improvements with a greater emphasis on accountability and transparency to the mission and vision of the church. Revitalizing the social mission as a church connected to the community St. John has welcomed many new neighbors to Family and Friends and Ugly Christmas Sweater Days, while also answering the call to service by organizing, food giveaways, Covid-19 Testing, a Blood Drive, a Flu Vaccine Center, along with Social Justice Programs to educate and emphasize the importance of Voting Rights, participation in the 2020 U.S. Census through social media forums and participation in health, and social injustice – Black Lives Matter causes. Through Facebook and YouTube and other platforms, St. John has created a social media presence that exceeds five hundred viewers per week and has served not only those quarantined due to the corona virus, but has also expanded the message of Christ resulting in increasing church membership, giving and participation in worship, Bible study and other church services. This has caused the church to invest in additional cameras, computers, software, and service through our community partnerships with Fairburn’s Bear Creek Middle School and other local outlets.
What We Believe
The Motto of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is: God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead’ he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen
What We Believe As AME’s
- We believe that all people are sinners.
- We believe that The Lord loves all people and hates sin.
- We believe that Jesus Christ died to save all people.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to all people to guide them in the will and way of the Lord.
- We believe that all that repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will receive forgiveness of their sins.
- We believe that all who receive forgiveness of sin are at the same time made new creatures in Christ Jesus.
- We believe that all that are made new creatures in Christ are accepted as children of God.
- We believe that a person that is born of God is consecrated and set apart for divine service.
- We believe that all who are accepted as children of God may receive inward assurance that they are saved and are part of the family of God.
- We believe that all that seek to do so may love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and their neighbor as themselves.