|Church History |
Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by a group of faithful Christians in the home of Richard Berry at 4100 Ludlow Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1833. Later, they joined with Richard Allen and the Bethel Corporation. A lot was purchased and a frame structure was erected on Locust Street near 40th Street. In those days, the members, both men and women, did the actual work, working at their regular jobs during the day and the building of the church in the evenings. Thus, these hardy pioneers persevered to enjoy worshipping God "under their own vine and fig tree."
The Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated in April 1847. The first stewards were Cyrus Burton, William Harris, and Charles Lendum. The first trustees were John Henry, Curtis Kane, and Michael Johnson. Roberta Washington, the first woman trustee, will always be revered in the annals of Mt. Pisgah.
During the administration of the Reverend E. K. Nichols, Sr., the church sought new quarters and, in the early summer of 1942, marched to the present location. In January of 1943, a disaster struck in the form of a fire. The church foundation and outer walls were left intact, but the upper sanctuary was completely destroyed and the lower level was too water soaked and damaged to be salvaged. This new building was almost totally destroyed by the fire and the members were out of doors in the middle of a severe winter. They did not lose hope or sight of God and worshipped the Lord in tents. Encouraged by friends and sympathizers, a foundation was laid for a bigger and better Mt. Pisgah. When Reverend Emmer H. Booker was assigned to the church in 1943, his dynamic faith, strength in God, and vision stirred the membership to believe that "Nothing Is Impossible with God." By August of 1944, the church with "stars in its ceiling" was completely furnished and ready for worship, serving God and the community.
Over the years, many were licensed to preach at Mount Pisgah and have rendered outstanding service to the Philadelphia community and the wider society. Furthermore, Mount Pisgah has been blessed with visionary pastors such as the Reverend George T. Sims who was appointed May 1962 and served for ten years. Under his competent leadership, the Class Leaders System was revitalized, the church entertained the 149th Session of the Philadelphia Conference, a lighted marble altar was installed, and a new parsonage was purchased.
Under the wise counsel and direction of Reverend James L. Dandridge and the inspiration of Rev. Cleo Gaston, the Greater Works Ministry began. The Greater Works started as a street ministry, distributing blankets and sandwiches to the less fortunate. For several summers, members of this group took food, clothing, medical, and educational supplies to Jamaica, spending several weeks there teaching and administering to the people. The Lay Organization began the GED Program and a summer reading program. A parking lot was added, the parsonage renovated, and the mortgage retired.
During the 1980's, Mount Pisgah's beautiful stone Gothic walls appeared on prime time television as the fictional "First Community Church" in "AMEN," the NBC syndicated situation comedy starring Sherman Hemsley as Deacon Frye and Clifton Davis as the pastor. Consequently, the Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church became known to the nation as the "AMEN" Church.
Mount Pisgah continued its dynamic ministry and outreach under the leadership and guidance of the Reverend Dr. Mickarl D. Thomas, Sr. A number of improvements and renovations were made during his administration such as the installation of a new organ, a sound system, a tape ministry, a handicap-accessible ramp and the padding of the pews. The Mass Choir spearheaded the purchase of a White Schaffer Piano by producing an album.
In March of 2000, Reverend Harvey H. B. Sparkman, III, a son of Mount Pisgah, returned as the pastor. Under Reverend Sparkman, a mission statement was developed along with a church logo. The Class Leaders were revamped to form Cell Groups, we began to function using the "Commissions," the Central Treasury was established, the chair lift was refurbished, and we began to celebrate Kwanzaa. Under his administration, the restoration of the stained glass windows began, changing the faces to reflect our ethnicity. It was during this time that the Angels of Praise and Prayer in Motion Mime Ministry were formed.
In June of 2005, the Reverend Jay B. Broadnax was assigned as our pastor. Several new ministries now exist such as the Men's Fellowship, Men's Chorus, Fit for the Kingdom Aerobics Program, Couples Fellowship, Young Adult Ministry, Youth and Adult Drama Guilds, Youth Planning Committee, and Children's Church. Hallelujah Night replaced the usual Halloween festivities for our youth. The Mt. Pisgah Pin was born. On December 31, 2005, Divine Movement, a Liturgical Ministry, debuted under the direction of First Lady, Sister Ingrid Broadnax. The ages of this ministry range from four to eighty, both male and female.
There are currently more than thirty active ministries in the church. This includes The Gaskins-Hopkins-Pride Scholarship Committee that has provided scholarships twice a year for over three decades to our young people in undergraduate school in college and universities throughout the Unites States. In addition, The Laymen of Mt. Pisgah (LMP) Federal Credit Union is still alive and well, established in August 1957.
The doors of Mount Pisgah have been and continue to be open for Conference, District, and community activities. In the recent past, Mount Pisgah has entertained the 166th, 169th, 177th, 182nd and 190th Sessions of the Philadelphia Annual Conference.
Thus, Mount Pisgah continues its ministry of service to Almighty God and mankind.