Saint Philip AME Church History
The history of Saint Philip AME Church is an eloquent testimony to the faith of the human spirit. Saint Philip Church began in Reynoldstown (Atlanta, GA) on Renfro Street, under the leadership of Reverend Browning. Later, under the leadership of Rev. C.A. Windfield, the second church was erected on Oliver Street, now known as Kenyon Street. Rev. J.R. Gardner began the structure at the corner of Wylie and Selman Streets in 1921 and completed the building in the spring of 1922. The strong determination of our first Board of Trustees led to the completion of the building that still stands. It has been said, that the stones for the church were brought from Stone Mountain by horse and buggy. The structure still stands and is being used by another AME congregation H.I. Bearden Temple AME Church.
The church was totally destroyed by fire on the 4th Sunday in December, 1950. With the help of God and the outstanding leadership of Rev. O.F. Maddox, it was rebuilt by volunteers and donations. The membership marched back into the church in May, 1951. Rev. O.F. Maddox was Pastor of Saint Philip for 15 years. In1970, Rev. George Moore, Sr. was assigned to Saint Philip by Bishop Hickman.
In 1977, a group of farsighted, faithful trustees under the dynamic leadership of Pastor George Moore purchased the edifice, now known as the Chapel, for $468,000.00.
Through subsequent years, the chapel was redecorated and furnished and upgraded as the congregation continued to grow.
The Child Development Center opened in 1980 and shortly thereafter, the 1000th member, Ms. Doris Tate, joined Saint Philip. Just five years later, the 2000th member, Mr. William Shackelford, joined Saint Philip as the number of members continued to grow.
In 1989, the pastor and stewards of Saint Philip convened a strategic planning session. As a result, the direction of the church was charted. The Space Utilization Committee looked at the existing space and after much planning, under the leadership of committee chair, Mr. William Shackelford, the J.R. Gardner Center was completed.
Saint Philip continued to grow and our church saw the 3000th member (Marjorie Alexander) join in 1988 with the 4000th member, Ms. Helen Y. Lewis joining thereafter. With the continued growth of the church, the first assistant pastor, Rev. Augusta Hall, Jr. was appointed in 1990. By 2006, our membership has since grown from 200 to the present membership of over 9000.
In 1995 the late Ms. Marcia Moss was appointed the second chairperson of the Space Utilization Committee Under the leadership of Ms. Moss, the Committee continued to implement the objectives of the Strategic Planning session. Groundbreaking for a new sanctuary was held in 1996 to accommodate the congregation that had grown to necessitate three services. By 1998, the Sanctuary was completed and the Service of Dedication was held on February 28, 1999.
In September 2000, another Officers Planning Retreat was held (OPR 2000.) The retreat was attended by over 200 officers, staff and leaders. The mission of the retreat was to develop a 10 year plan for the spiritual, stewardship and physical growth of Saint Philip A.M.E. Church in service to the Lord
In 2004, the plans to build the Family Life and Administration Center (FLAC) were completed. During that same year, Saint Philip Church introduced the congregation to the Vision to Victory – Making It Happen One Step at a Time – Lifestyle Capital Campaign. This three year campaign was designed to assist with financing the FLAC. The campaign allowed the congregation to prayerfully examine their financial commitments to the church. It was a Lifestyle Capital Campaign grounded in sacrificial giving for our church.
With resources from congregation as well as the campaign, ground was broken for the Family Life Center. In October 2006, Saint Philip A.M.E. Church dedicated the Family Life Center.
Saint Philip AME Church continued to grow and enhance their work in the community. Saint Philip has programs focused on feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless and visiting the sick, shut-in and incarcerated.
On May 20, 2011, Pastor George Moore retired after 40 years of dedicated and exemplary service and leadership. After which on May 20, 2011, Bishop William P. DeVeaux appointed Rev. William D. Watley, Ph. D. as the senior pastor of Saint Philip AME Church.