Skip to main content

Church celebrates its 165th anniversary

Feb 16, 2015 11:27AM, Published by Kerigan Butt, Categories: Local History, News




By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

The St. John African Methodist Church is celebrating its 165th anniversary in 2013.

“We’ve been doing things to mark the anniversary all year,” said Robert Anderson, the president of the board of trustees for the church, which is located at 77 New London Road. Anderson is one of the longtime members of the church.

“I’ve been going to St. John since I was 25 and now I’m 66,” he said. “I’m extremely excited about the anniversary. I’m a history buff anyway, and this is a story that needs to be told.”

The church has a distinguished history in Newark.

“We are the oldest black institution in the city of Newark,” Anderson explained.

The congregation was first organized in 1848. Early meetings were held in a log cabin at the intersection of what is now Cleveland Avenue and Hillside Road. In 1866, the members of the First Colored Methodist Protestant denomination merged with the African Union Church to form the African Union Methodist Protestant Church. In 1890, the church was formally incorporated as St. John’s A.U.M.P. Church.

The first house of worship—the log cabin—was replaced by the present structure in 1867. At one time, the structure had to be moved to make room for the road. It was extensively remodeled in 1960. It was renamed the St. John African Methodist Church in 1996.

Anderson said that it’s important to celebrate the history of the church and to preserve it as a part of Newark’s history, particularly since the black community in Newark has dwindled in the last 20 to 25 years.

Anderson researched some of the church’s history. He said that it’s great to have people like Marva Smith around.

“I know the church’s history because I researched it,” he said. “She knows it because she lived it.”

Smith said that it’s exciting to celebrate the anniversary of a church that she’s belonged to for about 65 years.

“I’ve been there since I was 11 or 12 years old. It’s exciting,” she said.

Smith said that she keeps in mind “the ones who paved the way for us. They did the good work so that the church has been here in one spot for all these years. It’s really like a family church. We’re that close.”

Over the years, the church has changed. “We’ve seen many changes—many families have come and gone,” Smith said.

Anderson said that the church undertook a survey to see how it could better serve the community and some changes are being implemented to strengthen its place in the community.

“The community has changed and we have to adapt to what is going on. We’ve come up with ways to maintain the church,” he said. “We’re definitely not going to change the name of the church because that it what it is.”

The church does want to emphasize the fact that it is a community fellowship ministry and anyone and everyone is welcome. Several dozen people typically attend a church service, but former members frequently visit when they are in town. Anderson said that they would like more people to experience a church service in one of Newark’s most historic places.

“We want the entire community to be involved,” he said.

To that end, church members are very active in the community in a variety of ways, including a food ministry that serves a lunch to those who need it on the fourth Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Even though the 165th anniversary year is coming to a close, there are still many anniversary-related activities to come.

Smith said that on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Thursday, Nov. 14, the church is hosting a two-night revival. Rev. Dr. Ralph Lampkins will be the guest minister on Wednesday night. On Thursday night, Bishop Joe Nathan Hunter will be handling those duties.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 16, the 165th anniversary banquet will be held at the Executive Center on Route 896. The guest speaker is Rev. Dr. Marci Bryant of BVT Ministries.

“She is quite well-known,” Smith said.

St. John African Methodist Church pastor Blaine Hackett will be delivering the sermon at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. At 2 p.m., the church will host a fellowship dinner. Then, at 3:30 p.m., the guest minister will be Bishop Albert Jarman, Jr.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor@chestercounty.com.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Newark Life's free newsletter to catch every headline



  • Dinosaur Revolution

    04/30/2017
    12:00PM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/01/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/01/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/02/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/03/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/03/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/04/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/05/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/05/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/05/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Habitat Restoration Workshop

    05/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Non-native invasive plants are taking over our natural habitats and competing with native species...


  • Habitat Restoration Workshop

    05/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Non-native invasive plants are taking over our natural habitats and competing with native species...


  • Bye Bye Birdie

    05/05/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Friday, May 5th at 7:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 1:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 7:00pm KENNETT MIDD...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/06/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/06/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Bye Bye Birdie

    05/06/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Friday, May 5th at 7:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 1:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 7:00pm KENNETT MIDD...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    04/30/2017
    12:00PM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/01/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/01/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/02/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/03/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/03/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/04/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Painting Dogwood Flowers

    05/04/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    The beautiful white bracts of the flowering dogwood tree light up the spring woods and add sparkl...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/05/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/05/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/05/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Habitat Restoration Workshop

    05/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Non-native invasive plants are taking over our natural habitats and competing with native species...


  • Habitat Restoration Workshop

    05/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Non-native invasive plants are taking over our natural habitats and competing with native species...


  • Bye Bye Birdie

    05/05/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Friday, May 5th at 7:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 1:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 7:00pm KENNETT MIDD...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/06/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/06/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Petscaping: Creating Pet-Friendly Gardens

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Balancing the needs of our beloved family pets with the desire to have a healthy and beautiful la...


  • Bye Bye Birdie

    05/06/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Friday, May 5th at 7:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 1:00pm Saturday, May 6th at 7:00pm KENNETT MIDD...


  • Open House Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

    05/07/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    What happens inside a wildlife rehabilitation center? Find out at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Resear...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/07/2017
    12:00PM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/08/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/08/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/08/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/09/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/09/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/10/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/10/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/10/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Top Ten Trees and Shrubs

    05/10/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Do you like feeding birds in winter, watching fledglings in summer, or observing butterflies and ...


  • Top Ten Trees and Shrubs for Wildlife

    05/10/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Do you like feeding birds in winter, watching fledglings in summer, or observing butterflies and ...


  • Yoga

    05/10/2017
    05:15PM — 06:15PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Yoga

    05/10/2017
    05:15PM — 06:15PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • A Healing Journey Support Group

    05/10/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    A Healing Journey is a support group facilitated by peers and tailored for those bereaved by a su...


  • Nature at Night

    05/10/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Experience the magic of our Natural Lands beneath the evening sky and learn to appreciate nature'...


  • Nature at Night

    05/10/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    Experience the magic of our Natural Lands beneath the evening sky and learn to appreciate nature'...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/11/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/11/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Planting Trees Correctly

    05/11/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Most newly planted trees die within the first growing season! Preventing this is easy if you plan...


  • Planting Trees Correctly Workshop

    05/11/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Most newly planted trees die within the first growing season! Preventing this is easy if you plan...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/12/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/12/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/12/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • National Public Gardens Day at Mt. Cuba Center

    05/12/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    On Friday, May 13, commemorate America’s public garden heritage with a complimentary visit to Mt....


  • Quarter Auction - Friday May 12

    05/12/2017
    06:00PM — 10:00PM

    Quarter Auction - Friday May 12 Aetna Fire Hall, 400 Ogletown Rd, Newark DE Doors open at 6pm, ...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/13/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/13/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Sustainable Landscape Techniques

    05/13/2017
    10:00AM — 02:30PM

    Make your landscape more ecologically sound by implementing a variety of sustainable gardening an...


  • Sustainable Landscape Techniques

    05/13/2017
    10:00AM — 02:30PM

    Make your landscape more ecologically sound by implementing a variety of sustainable gardening an...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/14/2017
    12:00PM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/15/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/15/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/15/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/16/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/16/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/17/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/17/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/17/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Native Plants for Nesting Birds

    05/17/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    There are many wonderful native trees and shrubs for your landscape that provide necessary cover ...


  • Native Plants for Nesting Birds

    05/17/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    There are many wonderful native trees and shrubs for your landscape that provide necessary cover ...


  • T'ai Chi Chih

    05/18/2017
    07:30AM — 08:30AM

    Interested in exploring a gentle moving meditation that helps dissolve tension, reduce chronic pa...


  • T'ai Chi Chih

    05/18/2017
    07:30AM — 08:30AM

    Interested in exploring a gentle moving meditation that helps dissolve tension, reduce chronic pa...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/18/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/18/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Wildflowers in Color

    05/18/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Bring yourself to the next level with drawing wildflowers. Using plants from our exceptional gard...


  • Wildflowers in Color

    05/18/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Bring yourself to the next level with drawing wildflowers. Using plants from our exceptional gard...


  • Native Orchids of Delaware

    05/18/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Learn about native orchids growing in your own back yard! Delaware is home to 38 species of orchi...


  • Native Orchids of Delaware

    05/18/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Learn about native orchids growing in your own back yard! Delaware is home to 38 species of orchi...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/19/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Kimberton Car show

    05/19/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Chester County Antique Car Club will hold their 38th annual car show on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at ...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/19/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Wildflower Identification: Field Guide Basics

    05/19/2017
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Field guides are a valuable resource for identifying wildflowers, and they come in a wide variety...


  • Wildflower Identification: Field Guide Basics

    05/19/2017
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Field guides are a valuable resource for identifying wildflowers, and they come in a wide variety...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/19/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. Cuba Center's natural, beautif...


  • Spring Art-In

    05/19/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Let your creativity bloom while you draw, paint, or photograph Mt. Cuba Center's natural, beautif...


  • The Euphonic Syndicate, a contemporary viola/woodwind duo, presents a concert featuring new arran...


  • The Euphonic Syndicate, a contemporary viola/woodwind duo, presents a concert featuring new arran...


  • Laura Hickman ~ New Pastels

    05/20/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Laura Hickman was born in Milford, Delaware and grew up in various houses in Bethany Beach, Delaw...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/20/2017
    09:30AM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...


  • Play K

    05/20/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Learn the skills needed for success in Kindergarten! Children 3 to 5, with their caregivers, are ...


  • Build a Bog Container Workshop

    05/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Bogs are one of the most fascinating, beautiful, and fragile habitats in our coastal plains. Star...


  • Build a Bog Container Workshop

    05/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Bogs are one of the most fascinating, beautiful, and fragile habitats in our coastal plains. Star...


  • Dinosaur Revolution

    05/21/2017
    12:00PM — 04:30PM

    Uncover facts and fossils about dinosaurs in Dinosaur Revolution, an interactive learning experie...