Cherokee’s first black church celebrates pastor’s 20 years and 150th anniversary
by Rebecca Johnston
June 15, 2013 12:00 AM | 2453 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pastor Carl Moore and wife Gloria Moore will celebrate his 20 years of service to Allen Temple AME Church as well as the church’s 150th anniversary on June 30. <br>Special to the Cherokee Tribune
Pastor Carl Moore and wife Gloria Moore will celebrate his 20 years of service to Allen Temple AME Church as well as the church’s 150th anniversary on June 30.
Special to the Cherokee Tribune
The Allen Temple AME Church in Woodstock is celebrating two milestones June 30 when the church marks its 150th anniversary and the church’s pastor celebrates 20 years of service.

Pastor Carl Moore and his wife, Gloria Moore, came to the church in 1993 when it sat at its original location and had only about 100 members.

In 2004, the church moved to a 32-acre site on Arnold Mill Road near Woodstock.

Today, the church has 1,400 members.

“This was my second charge, and I have been able to spend 20 years here,” Moore said. “We were just coming at a time when the community had begun to grow and we were only about 100 members then, but the Lord was growing the community and he began to grow us and has sent a lot of special people. He stabilized us, and we have done ministry, had fun and seen a lot of people give their lives to the Lord.”

When asked where he will be in 20 more years, Moore chuckles.

“I hope to be fishing,” he said. “For now, we are having a ball, still energetic, I love doing ministry and seeing people grow in the Lord, and to move our mandate forward, to make disciples.”

The church opened a Christian Academy four years ago, and it too has grown to about 40 children from ages 17 months to 5 years.

Allen Temple Church was established in 1863, the first church to serve the black population in Cherokee County, according to local history accounts.

“A faithful group in the community met for the first time under a brush arboreal they constructed,” according to the book “Cherokee County, Georgia, A History.”

The group included Baptists and African Methodist Episcopalians, and the school for the black community was on the same property where the church first met.

The church was located near the center of today’s downtown Woodstock, according to the book.

In 1909, the original church was replaced with a white frame building, and then in 1977 a newer facility was constructed.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church grew out of the Free African Society which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones and others established in Philadelphia in 1787.

When officials at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church pulled blacks off their knees while praying, the Free African Society members discovered just how far American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination.

The members of St. George’s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group that resolved to remain Methodist.

In 1794, Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor. To establish Bethel’s independence from interfering white Methodists, Allen — a former Delaware slave — successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an independent institution.

Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.

The most significant era of denominational development occurred during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Often times, with the permission of Union army officials, AME clergy moved into the states of the collapsing Confederacy to pull newly freed slaves into their denomination, according to a history provided by the church.

“I Seek My Brethren,” the title of an often repeated sermon that Theophilus G. Steward preached in South Carolina, became a clarion call to evangelize fellow blacks in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas and many other parts of the South.

While the AME church is doctrinally Methodist, clergy, scholars and lay persons have written important works which demonstrate the distinctive theology and praxis which have defined the Wesleyan body, the church history said.

The church will celebrate June 30 during the 10 a.m. service at the church at 232 Arnold Mill Road in Woodstock, and that evening from 5 to 9 p.m. at an Anniversary Dinner and Recognition Banquet at Embassy Suites Town Park in Kennesaw.

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