A Historical Perspective of the Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Time has obscured our knowledge of the complete history of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church. The earliest beginnings are known only by the word of the cornerstone, which, reads: Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Erected Oct. 30, 1921- Trustees: H. W. King C. Mackey, Jas. Welch B. Handy, E. Butler, W. A. Fountain, Bp , J. W. Washington, P.E., R. W. Humble, P.C., H. W. King, Sec.
We stand on the shoulders of these, other Christian soldiers whose names, and deeds, unknown to our memory, were written into the Book of Life by the hand of the Almighty God we serve. The thriving, vibrant Allen Chapel that we know today is a living testament of their faith.
We trace a portion of our history back to a few dedicated persons who kept alive the dream an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Scotlandville, Louisiana, a black community in the northern portion of East Baton Rouge Parish. Committed Christian servants: Joe Lewis, Jack Labore, Howard Adams, Ms. A. R. Williams, Ms. Emma Lewis, Ms. Tessie Young, and Ms. Miama Butler met in homes and the congregation survived. They sought the advice of Reverend L. C. Thomas, who directed the reorganization of the church about 1927.
A real estate agent, Lewis Babin, donated a parcel of land on Sora Street where the struggling African Methodist Episcopal congregation erected a small frame building. Poor drainage and frequent flooding, however, forced the church to seek a site on higher ground. Also included among the early members were Mrs. L. A. Washington and family, Mrs. A R. Cage and the mother, and Mrs. Marish J. Revish.
Prior to 1940, several pastors served Allen Chapel: Reverends L. C. Thomas, W. C. Armstead, L. Hall, Sam Washington, George Washington and I. S. Wilson. In 1940, a storm destroyed the Church building. The new Pastor Reverends S. A. Lofton and J. K. Washington, Sr., led the congregation to 1292 Cardinal Street where they erected another frame building and changed the name to “Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.” The church continued to flourish after 1940 led by Reverends S. A. Lofton, E. W. Edwards, W. W. Hunt, J. K. Washington, Sr., H. Perkins, H. A. Belin, S. Smith, Henry Bolen, V. W. Williams, A.C. Evans, Samuel Pitts, V.W. Williams, Samuel M. Johnson, Larry Banks and Nelson D. Taylor, Sr., Ray Anthony Jackson, A.J. Parnell and Bland Washington, Sr.
Under the leadership of Reverend V. W. Williams, Allen Chapel was torn down because of the dilapidated conditions the church was in and at this time the construction of a new building was agreed upon by the congregation in 1957. Shortly after, Reverend V. W. Williams was reassigned to another congregation and Reverend A. C. Evans was assigned and led the congregation in obtaining a temporary place to worship at a Masonic Hall on Mills Avenue until a construction of a new building. Later, Reverend Samuel Pitts was assigned as Pastor the next conference year and under his leadership, he led the congregation in the construction of building our new place of worship. The church was partially completed, and the congregation moved back to Cardinal Street for worship service.
Reverend V. W. Williams returned as pastor in 1964, under his leadership the church building was completed, the congregation paid off the mortgage and this was the beginning of our “building fund”. In 1977, Allen Chapel moved into its present facilities at 6175 Scenic Highway. Following Reverend Williams was Reverend Samuel M. Johnson, Reverend Larry M. Banks under whom the vision and establishment of a Bus Ministry was accomplished. Reverend Nelson D. Taylor, Sr. led the congregation in praise worship and liquidating a One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollar ($150,000) mortgage. Reverend Ray Anthony Jackson and Reverend A. J. Parnell served for two years, and for the fourteen years we were blessed with our own son Reverend Bland Washington, Sr., who has led the congregation in remodeling the church sanctuary, purchased a 15 passenger van, property and initiated the lease of property from Copolymer Rubber Plant.
Sons and Daughters of the ministry of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church that came under the leadership of the Reverend V. W. Williams are Reverend Willie Montgomery, Reverend Constant Coleman, Reverend Miriam Mitchell, Reverend Bland Washington and Reverend Nelson D. Taylor. Reverend Mattie Taylor came in to the ministry under the leadership of Reverend Samuel M. Johnson. Two Sons came under the leadership of Reverend Larry M. Banks and they were Reverend Larry Whitley, and Reverend Leslie Lee. Reverend Nelson D. Taylor a Son of Allen Chapel was assigned as Pastor to Allen Chapel Church. Under his leadership were a son and daughter, Reverend Russell Erich Caulfield and Reverend Sonya Stubbs.
Reverend Bland Washington also designated Allen Chapel as a shelter during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and purchased an air conditioning and heating system. Under Reverend Bland Washington Sr., leadership; a son Reverend Clifford Minor came into the ministry also, an affiliated member Reverend Elijah Mealancon from hurricanes Katrina/Rita. Allen Chapel operates a food pantry to help the needy citizens of the community, the gospel is preached and God’s people are served.
Greater Allen Chapel is committed to continuing the legacy of the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for who our local church is named. The gospel is preached and God’s people are served. Greater Allen Chapel operates several programs, including a food pantry to help the needy citizens and the Missionary Outreach Program, that comforts the sick and shut-ins of the community.
Reverend Demetrese Phillips was assigned to the Greater Allen Chapel, March 2018. Reverend Phillips is from the central north Louisiana District. The Greater Allen Chapel family welcomes Rev. Demetrese and Sis. Chandra Phillips and son.
Through many dangers toils and snares we have already come. Allen Chapel continues to prosper and serve. “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” To God is the glory!