A Look at Where the Lord Has Brought Us From
Waverly Mission was the name of the first church which is now Chappelle Memorial A.M.E. Church. Waverly Mission was organized by Reverend J.W. Witherspoon in 1903. It was located in the 1100 block of House Street.
In 1918, Waverly Mission was sold for $50.00 and the members moved to the corner of Pine and Senate Streets in a three-room house donated by Mrs. Pickney. The following ministers served as Pastors: Rev. J.W. Witherspoon, Rev. Fordham, Rev. W.D. Bolder, Rev. Lykes and Rev. William Thompson. During Rev. Lykes’ tenure, the name of the Church was changed to Lykes Mission.
In 1919, under the leadership of Rev. W.D. Plair, Lykes Mission was torn down and a new church was built. The corner stone was laid in 1921 and the church was named Chappelle Station. When the corner stone was installed the following officers were active: J.F. Bowman, Secretary; J.W. Robinson, Treasurer; S.M. Spencer, R.J. Johnson, Fen Martin, and E.T. Thomas were Trustees. R. G. Hagood was the Architect and Builder.
The following ministers served Chappelle Station: Rev. W.D. Plair, Rev. H.J. Bryant, Rev. W.M. Brown, Rev. Grant, Rev. F.D. Dreher, Rev. Cook, Rev. Miller, Rev. Jones, Rev. Robinson, and Rev. S. Spivy.
In 1933 some members left Chappelle Station. However, several faithful families would not be moved. The families that persevered were: Blakelys, Bowmans, Bouliers, Gravsons, Smiths, Gists, Williams, Nowlins, Bouies, Swygerts, Kaisers, Holmans, Scotts, Plairs, Wrights, Murrays, Kennedys, Martins, Friersons, and the Eichelbergers.
In 1950, the present church was completed and the name of the church was changed to Chappelle Memorial A.M.E. in honor of Bishop W.D. Chappelle, a native South Carolinian. The sanctuary portion of the building was completed under the leadership of Rev. B.J. Glover, and the religious Education Department was completed under the leadership of Rev. F.C. James. During the construction of this building, worship services and business meetings were held in the library on Allen University’s campus. Members of the building committee were: Heyward Bowman, Louis Holman, Claude Eichelberger, J.D. Snoden, H.W. Nowlin, Lomas Gist, and Marcel Blakely.
After 1938, fourteen ministers served as pastors of Chappelle Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church. They were Rev. B.J. Glover (1939-1950): Rev. F.C. James (1950-1953, Elected Bishop in 1972); Rev. J.J. Jenkins, Rev. J.A. Holmes, Rev. Julius Holman, Rev. Clarke R. Hawthorne (1957-1961); Rev. L.E. Crumlin (1961-1964); Rev. J.H. Gillison (1964-1971); Rev. W.J. Nelson (1971-1995); Rev. Leroy Cannon (1995-2000), Rev. Julius Steed (2000-2004); Rev. James E. Thompson (2004-2009); Rev. Clinton J. Hall II (2009-2012); and Rev. Timothy Cokley (2012-2017).
Reverend Lester J. Drayton, Jr. is the current pastor of Chappelle Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church. Four Associate Ministers are aiding Rev. Drayton in the ministry of the church. They are: The Rev. Timothy Cokley (retired), The Rev. Lottie G. Evans (Retired), Evangelist Sonia Drayton and Licentiate James Vant.
Presently, Reverend Lester Drayton Jr. and members of Chappelle Memorial are in the process of having a Fellowship Hall constructed next to the church. An elevator will be installed between the church and Fellowship Hall. These endeavors will enhance the ministries of the church and provide needed accessibility to the sanctuary.
And when they could not come near Jesus because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through. they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
Chappelle Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church is growing and spreading the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ under the leadership of Pastor Lester J. Drayton Jr. The work and dedication of Rev. and Mrs. Drayton give evidence of their commitment to the church family and its growth.
To God Be the Glory!