A Brief History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and
Weston Chapel A.M.E.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as the AME Church, was founded by Richard Allen and others in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1787 as an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The doctrine of the African Methodist Episcopal Church includes the doctrines of Methodism, which sprang from the Church of England in the 18th century through its founder John Wesley; the 25 Articles of Religion; and the belief that all men and women who have accepted Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives are sisters and brothers and joint heirs to God’s Kingdom regardless of their race, color, educational background, culture or their socio-economic status.
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH – OUR NAME
The word African means that the church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. It does not mean that the church was founded in Africa, or that it was for persons of African descent only.
The church’s roots are of the family of Methodist churches. Methodism provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel.
Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates. It means that the church is governed by bishops. The chief executive and administrative officers of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination are the Bishops of the church.
As the AME Church grew throughout the shores of South Carolina in the late 1800’s, the Weston Chapel AME Church congregation in the Piedmont began on its journey of religious service in the Greenwood community. In 1863, six years after the city of Greenwood was chartered, the church group began meeting under a brush arbor on land it presently owns on East Cambridge Avenue. The church was formally organized in 1865 as the Greenwood congregation of the African Methodist Church. The first dollar donated to build a sanctuary was given by Mr. A. J. Poole, who was a child at the time.
The first pastor of the congregation was Reverend Paul Weston. The church was named in his honor and sometime thereafter, the first sanctuary was constructed. The congregation grew and in 1895, a second church was erected, replacing the first building. After the organization of the Piedmont Conference in 1909, Weston Chapel hosted the first session of the Conference in December 1910. Many of its pastors and members down through the years have made significant impacts in local, state, and national religious endeavors, as well as, education, politics, and business.
Throughout its history, the church has been a beacon of light in its denomination and this community. Several years ago, the church set out on a mission to build a new sanctuary that would meet the needs of worshippers well into the 21st century. In pursuit of this goal, the sanctuary was torn down in 2006 and the membership began worshipping with Mt. Pisgah AME Church while planning and working to build a new structure. In October of 2006, at the Piedmont Annual Conference, the histories and legacies of Weston Chapel and Mt. Pisgah AME Churches were brought together and the Conference approved the merger of the two churches. The new church on that day began its current journey as Weston Chapel AME Church under the leadership of Rev. Willie Neal Norman who had served at Weston Chapel for approximately 16 years.
In October of 2009, at the Piedmont Annual Conference, Rev. Furman M. Miller, Jr. was assigned to Weston Chapel and given the specific assignment to build a new church suitable to house current and future worshippers and to meet the ministerial needs of the communities served by Weston Chapel and Mt. Pisgah AME churches.
On Sunday, October 30, 2011, “Praise Be To God,” the new Weston Chapel opened its doors for the dedication of its new building.
Our goal is to continue building our outreach ministries to the lost and needy, to continue partnering with other churches and organizations who share the love and message of Jesus Christ in Greenwood and throughout the world. Our mission is Kingdom building and working to be the best disciples of Jesus Christ that we can be.
“To God Be The Glory For The Great Things He Has Done!!”