The History of Anderson Chapel
Anderson Chapel A.M.E. Church | 1307 Harlem Street Tallahassee FL 32304 US | (850)224-2003.
It was in April 1932 that Anderson Chapel A.M.E. Church, the little Church on the hill, came into existence. Two men moved to the Griffin Heights Community and saw the need for an A.M.E. Church in the area. The founders, Rev. Harold L. Anderson and Rev. S.C. Caldwell, organized the historic Anderson Chapel Church with less than 20 members. The church is considered historic because for more than a half century it remained the youngest church in the district.
The founders, who also served as pastors, and their congregation worshipped in a small wooden framed church that was built on property that had been previously used as a corn field. Officers who served at the time were: Bro. Tilman Hendley, Superintendent of the Sunday Church School and Sister Rosa L. Smith, Secretary. The late Rev. A.I.G. Richardson served as Presiding Elder.
After two years of worshipping, in 1934 the late Rev. Thomas B. Carr accepted the appointment to pastor at Anderson Chapel. It was he who enlarged the original wooden frame structure, where the members worshipped until 1952. At that time, Rev. John Henry Elmore, who was a carpenter, was appointed pastor and he began construction of an adjacent building, which is currently on the corner of the present plot. Some of the construction work was done by him personally, but it was not completed before the Rev. H. Jones was sent to us by the Annual Conference. It was during his tenure that the framework and top were completed on the new block church and the old wooden frame church was demolished.
During the leadership of Rev. E.L. O’Neal, who traveled to this appointment on Sundays from Jacksonville, Florida, the ceiling and interior painting were done.
In 1959, Rev. James L. Nealy accepted the pastoral appointment and completed the plastering work, windows were also purchased. It was not until 1961, under the leadership of Rev. Andrew H. Sanders, that the windows were installed. The church was also furnished with runners, pews, and pulpit furniture. Having no cooling system, Brother Joseph Franklin saw our need and donated one air conditioning unit, which was later replaced with units donated by Sister Minnie Carter Vann and her son, Brother Gerome Brown. Brother Joseph Franklin saw further needs and donated his piano to the Church.
Rev. Morris F. Young accepted his appointment to Aderson Chapel in 1966. We were blessed to pay off all indebtedness under his leadership, for which we were grateful. Since that time we have continued to grow. In 1972, The Fellowship Hall, which is adjoining the Tallahassee Allen Outreach Center, was built under the leadership of Rev. R. C. Snellings.
Other ministers who have pastored and made contributions to this historic church, since it’s inception are: Rev. King Solomon Dupont, Rev. W.H. Forston, Rev. W. Hamilton Braxton, Rev. G.B.R. Grant, Rev. George B. Chambers, Rev. Henry Digg, Rev. Alfred Golden, Rev. C. Hawkins, Rev. E.L. Richardson, Rev. Isaiah Hackley, Rev. E. Hill, Rev. J. Austin, Rev. B.F. Hooks, Rev. O.C. Williams, Rev. Johnny S. Bruce, Rev. Elijah J. Evans, and Rev. George W. Farmer. Although no specific contribution is mentioned, each one has contributed something in his own special way to the growth of Anderson Chapel.
Presiding Elders who have served the fellowship are: Rev. A.I.G. Richardson, Rev. R.B. Sutton, Rev. Day, Rev. W.S. White, Rev. A.L. Bennett, Rev. H.E. Daniels, Rev. A.W. Thompson, R.C. Snellings, Rev. King Solomon Dupont, Rev. Daniel H. Jamison and Rev. Ralph L. Wilson, who served in this capacity until November of the conference year 2010- 2011. After which time, the Rev. Dr. Carlton L. Taylor from the Pensacola District became our Presiding Elder.
As time passed, the congregation saw the need to expand the sanctuary. On February 19, 1983, under the leadership of Rev. Willie James Thomas, a Ground Breaking Ceremony was held for a new sanctuary. The construction of the new church began in 1984, during Rev. Willie James Thomas’ appointment; but the new brick building was not completed until December 1988, under the leadership of Rev. Isaiah Cole. On February 12, 1989, there was standing room only at the church dedication performed by Bishop Philip Cousin.
In November of 1994, after several years of devoted service, Rev. Isaiah Cole was given an appointment at another district and Rev. Melvin Bell became our pastor. Under his leadership, an anonymous donor paid off the mortgage and a considerable amount was donated to renovate the Fellowship Hall. The renovation began in January of 1998, but because of re-assignment by the bishop, Rev. Bell was not with us to see the completion of the Fellowship Hall. April 27, 1998 ended his tenure with Anderson Chapel.
On April 28, 1998 Bishop Frank C. Cummings appointed Rev. Charles A. Morris as our pastor. The Fellowship Hall was completed under his administration. One of the first things he did was to donate a much needed sign to identify who we are. On December 13, 1998 Bishop Frank C. Cummings traveled from Jacksonville, Florida to deliver an inspiring sermon and presided over the Mortgage Burning and Dedication service. As always with humble praise to God we burned the mortgage; dedicated our newly purchased piano; consecrated the Communion Ware, which was graciously donated by a friend and dedicated the Snelling-Golden Building which was named after a former pastor and the dedicated Golden family. The building is currently the home of the Tallahassee Allen Outreach Center; and the Education Building was named, The Berrian-Thompson Fellowship Hall after the Berrian and Thompson families.
The Tallahassee Allen Outreach Center provides food and clothing for the needy in the church and the community at large. The Berrian-Thompson Fellowship Hall serves the needs of the community and the church members for get-togethers, such as recreational activities, dining, programs and rehearsals.
Under the caring leadership of Pastor Morris we experienced considerable growth in stewardship and spiritual awareness. Pursuing Re. Morris’ dream, on March 1, 2000, the congregation purchased additional property to the west of us at 1312 Harlem Street. This facility served as home base for our Community Development Center. The Allen Institute for Development and Empowerment, Inc. (A.I.D.E.), a not for profit Florida Corporation, has a mission and ministry designed to provide self-help and self-determination for the Griffin Heights and Frenchtown Communities. This is just a testimony to the faith of this church, especially our senior members in expanding for the future needs of the congregation as well as the community.
Rev. Charles A. Morris was instrumental in organizing Evangelism Explosion in November 1998, restructuring the Sunday Church School classes in 1999, and implementing a new Class Leader System in February 2000. The Anderson Achievers ministry was also started under his administration. This organization provided tutoring and after school for children in the community.
In November 2008, Rev. Morris was appointed to serve in the Pensacola District and Rev. Kyle C. Gibson was assigned the charge at Anderson Chapel. Rev. Gibson was our pastor from November 2008 to August 28, 2010. On August 29, 2010, Presiding Elder Ralph L. Wilson served as our interim pastor until November 21, 2010. During this short period of time, he did a tremendous job of nursing the congregation back to good health.
On November 22, 2010, we were blessed by Bishop McKinley Young to have Rev. Freddie E. Glenn assign to charge, who is presently serving as our pastor.
We are grateful to God for wonderfully blessing us through our hardships and enabling us to continue our service to the community, thus far. We are still trusting that our place of worship will continue to mold our young people as they go through life. Our Church had grown from the “Little Church on the Hill”, into “The Big Hearted Church on the Hill”. It is our prayer that this spot will forever serve as a “Lighthouse” to direct men, women, boys and girls to Christ.