Mount Olive AME Church
The History of Mount Olive
Prepared by Lu Simpkins 1988
Mt. Olive had its beginnings in 1897 and 1898 when a group of concerned Christians who had worshiped at the Old Free Church (corner of Harbor Road and Pleasant Street), decided to have a church of their own. The late Mr. Henry Sims, the late Mr. Emmet Griffin and his Ella, labored for four (4) years to build our present church. The cornerstone was laid in 1903, the church was called Bethel. Since many churches in the conference were named Bethel, the congregation voted that it shall be called Mt. Olive.
The pastorate of Mt. Olive has been the start of many prominent ministers. Pastor Eato was the first to receive an appointment to Mt. Olive. This was the beginning of generational membership; there are still his descendants who are members of Mt. Olive, his successors are: Rev. Sterling, Rev. Coffee, Rev. C.U. Thomas, Rev. T.C. West, Rev. Henry Irons, Rev. A.A. Amos, Rev. Manning, Rev. Kelly Collins, and Rev. Robert E. Jones.
During my lifetime my memories are: Rev. Harold F. Berry preaching his sermon, playing the organ and teaching Sunday School...How Rev. H.F. Mcmillian had me enthralled with stories of the South...Rev. A.K. David and Rev. L.S. McNeil wearing handsome pulpit robes...Rev. Burrell Jones with his interest in Mt. Olives history...Rev. Joseph McKenzie having long talks with Minnie Biddle...Rev. U.S. Brown who brought twenty-seven (27) members, gave us our first souvenir journal and helped us to become administratively sound...Rev. Marcus Robinson who labored with us for thirteen (13) years and renovated the present building and incorporated the church...Rev. Rudolph Douglas who introduced stewardship and paid off the 2nd mortgage...Rev, Jeffrey Leath who stayed with us just six (6) months but left a powerful impact on the community...Rev. Alyson Johnson our first woman pastor who beautified the sanctuary...Rev. Cosmos Bonaparte had the foresight to begin architectural plans for the functional reconstruction of the sanctuary and the addition of much needed office space...Rev. Joseph Ward, a 2nd generation preacher.
Our present pastor, Rev. Lillian Frier Webb, came to us on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 1985. She calls it a love affair, fraught with all the emotional adjustment and changes of people moving toward commitment. Since pastor Webb has been with us, the church has changed its mission status by increasing our membership by 40%, tripling Sunday morning attendance and proportionate giving by 42% of the membership. This year at Annual Conference, Mt. Olive reported $40,000 raised for all purposes compared to $17,000 three (3) years ago. "Pastor Webb’s popularity in the local community is evidence of her outreach. Wherever she goes, people know her, and they know about Mt. Olive; the Church with the open door, open heart and open mind.
We at Mt. Olive are embarking on culminating the architectural plans to be the home of an expanded citadel on Mackey Avenue. Still working for the Lord are the Biddles, the Eato's, the Griffins, the Russells, the Matthews, the Millers, the Viets and the Dumpsons.
Wherever we are today, we celebrate the lives and work oi those who came before us. Wherever we are tomorrow, we bequeath our commitment this Bicentennial year, that the next one hundred (IOO) years will be years of Liberating, Reconciling and Retooling for the Third Century.
Prepared by Lu Simptkins 1988