Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bickham African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church History of Amite, Louisiana

My colleague, friend and Radio Talk Show Bernice Alexander Bennett sent me several obituary and other information that is vital to the history of African American people of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. She sent me this Cornerstone Service Program for Bickham African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

For anyone who are researching their family history these types of service programs and obituary can be very helpful and useful to you.

The Church History

In October 1796, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded in New York City. The organization grew out of the well-known dissatisfaction among the people of color over the kind of treatment received in services of the church. From the beginning, this independent movement of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was largely influenced and structured by James Varick. He was the consistent leader and was later the virtual pastor of the is first church called Zion.

Zion Church was incorporated in 1801 by the name, "The African Methodist Episcopal Church in New York " Methodist was always in the title to exhibit the retention of the doctrine and form of church government under which the denomination originated. "African" was prefixed to the rest of the title of the church because it was to be controlled by descendants of Africans in the interest of humanity, regardless of race, color, sex or condition. Another organization came into existence around the same time, with the same title, causing much confusion. Because of this, the General Conference of 1848 voted to make Zion a part of the denominational name.

As the growth of the Zion churches spread from city to city, village to village, it was affixed on the hearts of Mr. Leander Butler and Mr. Jordon Bickham to donate and acre of land in the Velma community, referred to at times as Bickham Town, for the purpose of constructing a Zion Church in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1878 Bickham Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was erected the acres of land and was named in honor of Mr. Jordon Bickham. Since that time preacher have preached, should have been saved, members have gone to the great beyond., but we here at Bickham Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church still cherish the memories of those who have contributed immensely to the upbuilding of God's kingdom.

Bickham Chapel A.M.E. Church, of the New Orleans District, is one of 14 churches in the Louisiana Conference. The leaders of this great organization are: Bishop Arthur Marshall Jr., Presiding Bishop; Reverend Hollis Callahan, Presiding Elder; Reverend Wille Gene Johnson, Pastor.

Our church is part of the A. M.E. Zion Church which believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, the Lord's Supper, forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.

The members are proud of their heritage and pledge to forever uphold and be governed by the laws of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. We further pledge to continue to life the name of Jesus who is our strength and our savior.

This church has has as pastors, God-like, devout Christian preachers: Rev. Nazereth, Rev. Joe Graves, Rev. Dillion, Rev J.S. McCall, Rev. P. A. Silas, Rev. S.C. Byrd Sr., Rev Charles Atherly, Rev. Hollis Callahan, Rev. Lemar Perry, Rev. Francis Williams, Rev. Charles Robinson and presently Rev. Willie Gene Johnson. These ministers have preached the gospel so that everyone could hear of Jesus, know of his goodness and see his works in the lives of men.

As we dedicate this church today, may it stand as a living monument that all the sons and daughters of Bickham A.M.E. Zion Church can rejoice and say we have come this far by faith.