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St. Mary A.M.E. Church History

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St Mary A.M.E. Church is located on the corner of South Salem at Lynch St in Apex, North Carolina. The church was started September 27, 1919 in the Tent Sister’s Hall on West St. in Apex, North Carolina. A builder, along with the members decided the time had come to build a church. As the membership was small, the Baldwin family, Allen family, Mr. John Ramsey, Mr. Ernest Morine, and many other interested and faithful friends helped in the building of the Church. St. Mary A.M.E. Church is named for the late Mrs. Mary C. Baldwin, the mother of the late Mrs. Arnetta B. Jones.

During the formation of the Church there were several other denominations in the area; Baptist, C.M.E. and the United Church of Christ. This limited the scheduled services to only the fourth Sunday in each month.  The membership grew very slowly. Then Mr. P.A. Williams of Durham, North Carolina, the Principal of Apex Consolidated High School, joined our community and became an affiliated member and an important role model in the building of our Sunday school and Church membership.

Families who played and continue to play an active role in our Church legacy include: The McDow, Gilbert, Byrd, Thorpe, Mims, Cross family and many many others. As the Church continued to grow, we combined with the Lincolnville A.M.E. Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and became part of the Lincolnville circuit. At that time we increased our services to two Sunday’s a month.

As the Pastor and members grew tired of the wooden structure of our Church, they decided to improve the appearance of our Church by brick veneering it and adding an annex. Many changes were brought about under the leadership of our former pastor, Rev. I.J. Irving. He used his “Revelational Knowledge and Divine Inspiration” to improve the Church in many spiritual and structural ways. Eventually the Church evolved into a stationed Church with services being held every Sunday.

The annex has been remolded to include a Pastor’s Study, two restrooms and a kitchen that was refurnished by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Thorpe and Mrs. Clarice Atwater. The Church is thankful that God lead Rev. William Y. Davis to use his time and carpentry skills to fulfill Rev. Irving’s and the member’s dreams of  remodeling the  sanctuary in gold and white. Under Rev. J.L. Womack’s leadership,  the late  Mrs. Hattie Mims and the late Mrs. Arnetta Jones were inspired to join together and contribute the construction cost for the building of the handicap accessible ramp, front porch and the guard rails that provide security around the porch and ramp. In addition, we added the outside lighted bulletin board during this period.

Other ministers that served St Mary A.M.E. Church were:

  • The late Rev. Legion
  • Rev. Davis, Dev. Deloath
  • Rev. Worthy
  • Rev. Johnson
  • Rev. Dilworth
  • Rev. Dalton
  • Rev Jeter
  • Rev. Frank McIver
  • Rev. Jenerette

In November 1984, Rev. Weaver accepted the challenge of being the first leader to be assigned to St. Mary after becoming a stationed Church. Following him were, Rev. Womack, Rev. Angelo Carvana and Rev. Jas Hemby. The Lord called Rev. Lonnie Allen, Jr. and Rev. James T. Taylor into active ministry under the pastorate of Rev. Jas Hemby.

In May of 1994, we were blessed to have Rev. J.H. Torain sent to be our pastor and leader. Under Rev. Torain’s leadership the “Spiritual Edifice” began to be “remodeled”. During this time Rev. James Cross received his call to active ministry. Rev. Torain’s unselfish, nurturing style of leadership has allowed theses young ministers to gain confidence and experience in administering the gospel to our congregation and the community. It has been a blessing to see these three young ministers grow into the Grace of God. It is our belief that they will continue to walk  in the  calling in which Christ have called them.

Rev. Esther Johnson made history in June 1997 as the first female minister assigned to this charge.

Rev. K.P. Riggsbee  was assigned to us in June 2000.

Rev. Shirley Decoster came to us from June 2006 to June 2009.

Our current Pastor, Rev. James T. Taylor was assigned to us July 2009. The Church has moved into a new era of growth, spiritually, financially and numerically. Under his anointed preaching and guidance the mission of the church has been embraced. The congregation is moving forward in the work of the ministry of Jesus Christ.