1898 Ė 2007
History of Southern City Tabernacle AME Zion Church
East Spencer, North Carolina
In actuality, Southern City Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church is a derivative of the first church started in Spencer, North Carolina. In 1889, Charles Holmes, then local preacher brought the first acre of ground along old Highway 29, Here, from trees of donated and sawed into lumber by members and friends, grew the first A.M.E. Zion Church of Spencer, then named New Hope.
††††††††††† After being at this site for several years, a majority of the membership decided that it would be better to relocate the church in a more centralized point in order to more adequately accommodate its growing membership.
††††††††††† With prayer in their hearts and faith in God, and with a faith in the future which transcended that which they had while in their humble bush arbor sanctuary, the members, along with the pastor Rev. J.E. House, moved the North Shaver Street in East Spencer, North Carolina. Here in 1889, the Southern City Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church was born, Among the Christian pioneers who participated in the movement were families such as Stokes, Homans, Clements, Fraziers, Carters and others. These members have done their church work and now passed on to glory to receive their reward, but their names still ring out in Southern City Tabernacle, through the voices of the younger generations.
††††††††††† During the years at the North Shaver Street site, the membership grew to the extent that the pastor Rev. A.R. Hawkins, and officers of the saw the need for a larger building. In 1915, Rev H.R. Hawkins and members of the congregation built the church at its present location on North Long Street in East Spencer, North Carolina. In 1918, under the leadership of Rev. B.B. Moore, the cornerstone was laid.
††††††††††† The men and women of faith and courage, though the battle was not easy, struggled on through the years to off the indebtedness of the church. This was done under the leadership of Rev. U.S. Johnson.
††††††††††† In the spring of 1958, with Rev. Paul E. McGuire as the pastor, the sanctuary of God was beautified by the installation of new pews, which were dedicated to the service of God by Rt. Rev. W.J. Walls.
††††††††††† In 1977, under the leadership of Rev. George Tharrington, the congregation saw the need and expressed the desire to build a new sanctuary. While the sanctuary was under construction, services and the uplifting of Godís name were continued in the auditorium of North Rowan Middle School. In January 1978, the new and present edifice was dedicated by the senior Bishop William Milton Smith.
††††††††††† We have had the pleasure to hear some of the organist here that gave their devoted sacrificial services on organ and piano. Mrs. Otis Boger, Mrs. Janet Watts, Mrs. Bessie Churcher, Mrs. H. Henry Wactor, Mrs. Annie Bailey, Mrs. Zelma Drain, Mrs. Ethel Coleman, Mrs. H. Irvis, Mrs. Bessie Craige and Mrs. Rebecca Stinson, Mr. Jonathon French who still serves in the capacity.
††††††††††† Southern City Tabernacle has survived and grown under the leadership of such bishops as the late Bishop L.W. Kyles, the late Bishop B.G. Shaw, the late Bishop W.J. Walls and Bishop William Milton Smith, Bishop Cecil Bishop, Senior Bishop the Rt. Rev. George W. C. Walker.
††††††††††† The church has had such illustrious residing elders as Reverends L. Moss, Bennett, Hamilton, Carson, Hunter, C.E. Norment, N.K. Byers, and Lee C. Siler, Sidney Waddell, and Currently Rev. Herbert Warren, Jr.
††††††††††† Some of the pastors who served successfully at Southern City Tabernacle Church are men like Reverends J.E. House, Bolger, S.L. Leake, B.B. Moore, H.E. Wilson, J.J. Nicholson, U.S. Johnson, W.M. Jones, George Smith, J.R. Whitmire, (local Preacher), N.V. Jones, Clarence Carr, Marvin Mayfield, Melvin Tate, George Tharrington, James French, and S.V. Campbell, Calvin Miller, Rev. Dr. Donald Holness, And the present Rev. Rollins S. Graham. We thank our spiritual leaders for their inspiration and their untiring efforts in serving God and Southern City Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion church for these years.†††††