A History of Faith - Ward Chapel A.M.E.
Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church History
By Dorothy Brown & Paula Jackson
Every A.M.E. thinks with great pride of our first Bishop and founder of our great Church, the Right Rev. Richard Allen. He felt that every man should be free to worship God according to the desires of his heart without interruptions, so he and his followers walked out of St. George Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to make such a place.
After serving for a number of years in the Community Church, where Methodist, Baptist, and other denominational fathers held services on the Old Canal Shoot Road in a slaughter Pen Building. In 1872, at the home of Sister Julia Bufford, through the efforts of Brother Nip James, Sister Katie Johnson, Brother Alex Roddy, Brother Dink Roddy, Elder White, Reverend J.C. Jones, Brother R.N. Patton, and Reverend Reese our church became a reality. At one time our church was located on the corner of Broadway between 3rd and 4th Streets here in Augusta.
A deep sadness fell over the congregation, for our lovely churchburned. We were once again without a Church home. We then returned to the Masonic Hall, praying, working, and hoping. The old members began cleaning bricks and anything else that was salvageable. Members had wagons and wheelbarrows to move materials to our new site. The day of rejoicing came after all the hard work when in 1913 the membership moved into this lovely, sacred, brick structure that we now worship in today. The officers were Brother K.J. Franklin, Brother Henry Green, Brother A. Cariker, Brother James Abraham, Brother A.M. Anthony, Brother J.C. Gladney, Brother F.L. Allen, and Brother Nip James. Brother Charlie Foley, served as Chairman of the Trustee Board for many years. He would carry kindling wood and blocks to build fires for church service every Sunday morning. At one time Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church had 108 members. During the late 1960’s Antioch of Fitzhugh, and St. Paul of Gregory Arkansas united with Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Some of the following clergymen that served as pastors at Ward Chapel were: Rev. J.B. Shumpret, Rev. J.J. Brown, Rev. J.C. Crier, Rev. Annie B. Goodlow and Rev. Gary Browning. Also, the Rev. C.C Akins and Rev. Jeff Foley Carr grew up in Ward Chapel Church.
The officers and members of the Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church family through much prayer and believing to the led by the Holy Spirit made a decision to go independently from the A.M.E. denomination and become The Ward Chapel Church non-denominational Christian Congregation in 1999. That same year continuing in Prayer they call Pastor Gary Browning to be their pastor.
Pastor Browning and wife Sis. Virginia Browning grew up in Ward Chapel. It has truly been a mutual Blessing for them and Ward Chapel to be brought together by the Lord.