Marable History

100_0550Marable Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, formerly named “Little Mission Church” was organized in 1908 – 1909; under the leadership of Bishop George W. Clinton and assisted by Presiding Elder Martin Van Buren Marable. The members held their first worship service in a building originally used as a store – located on the present plot of land at 400 Huron Street in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

On February 16, 1918, in consideration of fifty dollars paid by trustees Samuel Edwards, Frank McKenzie and J. B. Rose to Mrs. Mariah Rose and her husband, William Rose and on April 7, 1919 in consideration of ten dollars paid by church trustees Samuel Edwards, Frank McKenzie, J. B. Rose, Benjamin Hammonds and Elias Collins to Cabarrus Cotton Mills (formerly Cannon Mills), plots of land were purchased “to be kept, maintained and disposed of as a place of Divine Worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America”. On this land, the membership built a small church and worshipped there for a number of years.

The late James Bingham Rose, Sr. and his wife, Mrs. Fannie L. Rose, were among the charter (original/founding) members of the church.  Mr. Rose served as Superintendent of the Sunday School and as a member of the Trustee Board; along with Samuel Edwards, Frank McKenzie, Sr., George Rose, S. H. Hudson, Elias Collins and John Grier.

Rev. Hercules Smith of Salisbury, North Carolina was sent to pastorate the congregation. During his appointment, the membership remained steadfast and worked diligently; sharing the good news and gospel of Jesus Christ and building the ministry for even greater works.

As the years passed, so did the appointment of service for many anointed ministers who were chosen to serve as pastors to the dedicated congregation. They were as follows:

  • Rev. R. V. Flack
  • Rev. J. D. Jackson
  • Rev. Campbell
  • Rev. C. A. Russell

 

Rev. Raymond Luther Jones of Gastonia, North Carolina was appointed to pastor Marable Memorial by Bishop George W. Clinton in November 1921. After the death of Bishop Clinton, Rev. Jones continued his appointment under the leadership of Bishop Lynwood K. Kyles. Rev. Jones labored at the church until 1924; when he was succeeded by Rev. J. F. Smith. Rev. Jones later served as Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Presiding Prelate over the First Episcopal Area of which our church (Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion church) is a part.

The members worshiped in the first church during the lean years until it became so dilapidated (rundown) that it was considered unsafe. In 1925, the church was torn down and rebuilt. While the church was under construction, Rev. Jones continued worship service with the membership at the Colored Centerview School’s auditorium. The members worked hard and displayed a great commitment towards the completion of the church. The following year, the Rev. Thomas Diggs was sent to serve as pastor.

The name of the church was changed from Little Mission Church to Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in honor of Presiding Elder Martin Van Buren Marable. Rev. Marable was directly or indirectly concerned with the building of forty-five churches and remodeling and purchasing twenty-four other.

        Bishop Jones stated:
“Rev. Marable, who had served as treasurer of our district for a number of years, was highly respected by both blacks and whites in Statesville, North Carolina.”

        Reverend Walter Lovell, former editor of the Star of Zion, said:
“Rev. Marable was one of Zion’s most outstanding and honorable religious leaders.” 

At the close of the conference year in 1928, Rev. W.D. Carson was appointed pastor. He labored hard and served well for the next fifteen years, when he was appointed as Presiding Elder. During Rev. Carson’s appointment, the church was remodeled and brick veneer was added to the existing structure.

Members of the Building Committee responsible for overseeing this project were:

  • Isaac Alexander
  • Reuben Allen
  • Raymond Anthony
  • Willie Brown
  • Lee Cunningham
  • Anthony Curry, Sr.
  • Hezekiah Lawson
  • Nathaniel Lockard
  • John McConnaughey
  • John Pressley
  • Arthur Wilson

In November 1943, Rev. Fulton J. Vorice was appointed to serve the membership. He instituted the Consecrated March of Dimes which was to be used as a building fund to erect the church parsonage. Rev. G.W. Hunter and Rev. Claude Everett Norment also served as Presiding Elders during these years.

In November 1947, Rev. Reeves was sent to serve as pastor. He remained for one year and was succeeded by Rev. Timothy I. Johnson, Sr.  Rev. Johnson was an expert builder as well as an able minister. He constructed our church parsonage and served the congregation well until 1953. Rev. A.C. Duffy was appointed in November 1953.

Rev. Reid R. White became the Pastor of Marable Memorial in 1957. Membership continued to work for God and Zion – to grow the congregation. On February 11, 1962, following Sunday morning worship service, members stood by tearfully and helplessly as they watched the church as it was engulfed by fire and burned to the ground. Trusting in God and never entertaining the thought of giving up, weekly worship services were temporarily held at the Palace Theatre while inspired members raised the $10,000.00 needed to begin construction of a new edifice.

The church was completely rebuilt, and with appropriate services, the congregation proudly entered the newly built sanctuary on Sunday, January 27, 1963 at 2:30 pm. Rev. Reid R. White, Sr., presided over the services; which was a memorable occasion – celebrated by more than 300 members and friends. Other program participants included:

  • Rev. Edgar N. French
  • Rev. Samuel L. Hopkins
  • Presiding Elder Claude E. Norment
  • Presiding Bishop William Jacob Walls

The membership is forever grateful to God for the leadership and service so freely given by Pastor, Rev. Reid R. White, Sr., and the following Trustees and Building Committee members:

  • Raymond Anthony (Chairman)
  • John Black, Jr.,
  • Herbert O. Campbell
  • Robert Lee Curry
  • Anthony Curry, Sr.
  • Nathaniel Lockard
  • James Massey
  • Earl J. Willie

 

The Building Committee consisted of the following:

  • Earl J. Willie (Chairman),
  • Robert Collins
  • Alberta Lockard
  • Nathaniel Lockard
  • Cynthia White
  • Reverend Reid R. White

 

During the years since 1963, the membership pledged their support to the church and also to the Finance Committee and paid $42,500.00 mortgage in full – every payment was made on time (never missed or late). All thanks to God for the dedicated servants he’s sent to Marable Memorial throughout the years:

 

Rev. J. Roy Allen………………………………………………………. November 1964 – June 1967

Rev. Freeman Germany……………………………………………. June 1967 – November 1967

Rev. Mathew R. Cuthbertson………………………………….. November 1967 – August 1968

Rev. Henry Lee Melvin…………………………………………… August 1968 – November 1969

Rev. James E. Powell………………………………………………….. November 1969 – July 1972

Rev. Alexander Jones…………………………………………………………. July 1972 – May 1976

Rev. Ralph V. Washington……………………………………………………. May 1976 – July 1980

Rev. Audie V. Simmons………………………………………………………… July 1980 – July 1982

Rev. James Ray Samuel………………………………………………. July 1982 – December 1984

Rev. William R. Robinson…………………………………………….. December 1984 – July 1994

Rev. Grant Harrison, Jr……………………………………………………….. July 1994 – June 2006

Rev. Wayne C. Harris……………………………………………………… October 2006 – July 2009

Rev. Maurice Harden…………………………………………………….. July 2009 – October 2012

Rev. Dr. William McKenith………………………………………………… January 2013 – Present

The Rt. Rev. William Milton Smith, following in the footsteps of the many anointed servants of God, Bishops Lynwood W. Kyles, B. G. Shaw, W. J. Walls and Raymond L. Jones, were assigned to serve the Western North Carolina Conference at the 1972 General Conference held in Mobile, Alabama. It was at this meeting that the Western North Carolina Conference became a part of the 2nd Episcopal District.

In August 1976, tragedy struck Marable Memorial once again when the parsonage was destroyed by fire. The parsonage was rebuilt in February 1977 at a cost of $41,000.00 with an additional cost of $6,000.00 to furnish the edifice; making it ready for immediate occupancy. With the monies received from the fire insurance policy and funds which had accumulated in the Improvement Fund, the cost of the repairs were almost paid in full. The church only needed to borrow $10,000.00; which was repaid in full on October 18, 1978.

During the dedication service of the new parsonage, members of Marable Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church declared:

“We have a past for which we are proud, and this past will serve as in incentive in the future years and the future generations. Marable Memorial cannot and shall not be destroyed by the ravages of fire, physical elements, or time; her heritage is too great.”

On September 30, 1979, the Pastor, Rev. Washington and members of Marable Memorial held its “First Annual Homecoming and Fifty States Rally Day.” The finances raised from this event were plentiful enough to fully pay for air-conditioning units for the church’s sanctuary and the Education Building – total cost of $19,500.00.

Rev. Audie V. Simmons, from Lexington, North Carolina, was appointed Pastor on July 20, 1980 and served well until July 18, 1982; when Rev. James Ray Samuel was appointed. During Rev. Samuel’s appointment, the membership purchased a parcel of land from Fieldcrest-Cannon that adjoined the church property. The members of Marable Memorial are forever grateful to Rev. Samuel for his dedication and leadership in the initial plans for the addition of the Memorial Fellowship Hall.

On Sunday, December 19, 1984, Rev. William R. Robinson became pastor of the church. At this time, Marable Memorial was just a few days into the construction of the second phase of the church building – the enlargement of the fellowship hall. One hundred and five days later, ironically this number also represents the church’s years of existence today, the church members assembled in a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving to God for his blessings. The building was completely furnished: each piece of furniture and/or equipment in this building is a memorial to loved ones dedicated by members and friends. A list of donors and those memorialized will forever adorn the sacred walls of this – our Memorial Fellowship Hall.

The membership retired the entire church indebtedness in December 1989 at a cost of $125,000.00. Services for the Mortgage Burning and the Laying of Cornerstone were held on Sunday, February 11, 1990. Dr. Jerry T. White, Presiding Elder of Salisbury District delivered the message and associated the Pastor, Rev. Robinson in these services.

The congregation is grateful to Rev. Robinson and the Building Committee for their unselfish labors in the fulfillment of the plans and dreams for Marable Memorial and Zion. The members of the Building Committee, in addition to Rev. William R. Robinson, were as follows:

  • Earl J. Willie (Chairman)
  • Robert Collins (Vice Chair)
  • Ruth Curry (Secretary)
  • Jacqueline Anthony
  • John Black, Jr.
  • Marion Campbell
  • Cora Cunningham
  • William Gaither
  • Herbert Kirk
  • Alberta Lockard

 

On Sunday, December 19, 1984, Rev. William R. Robinson became pastor of the church. At this time, Marable Memorial was just a few days into the construction of the second phase of the church building – the enlargement of the fellowship hall. One hundred and five days later, ironically this number also represents the church’s years of existence today, the church members assembled in a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving to God for his blessings. The building was completely furnished: each piece of furniture and/or equipment in this building is a memorial to loved ones dedicated by members and friends. A list of donors and those memorialized will forever adorn the sacred walls of this – our Memorial Fellowship Hall.

The membership retired the entire church indebtedness in December 1989 at a cost of $125,000.00. Services for the Mortgage Burning and the Laying of Cornerstone were held on Sunday, February 11, 1990. Dr. Jerry T. White, Presiding Elder of Salisbury District delivered the message and associated the Pastor, Rev. Robinson in these services.

The congregation is grateful to Rev. Robinson and the Building Committee for their unselfish labors in the fulfillment of the plans and dreams for Marable Memorial and Zion. The members of the Building Committee, in addition to Rev. William R. Robinson, were as follows:

  • Earl J. Willie (Chairman)
  • Robert Collins (Vice Chair)
  • Ruth Curry (Secretary)
  • Jacqueline Anthony
  • John Black, Jr.
  • Marion Campbell
  • Cora Cunningham
  • William Gaither
  • Herbert Kirk
  • Alberta Lockard

Marable Memorial’s Succession of Pastors

MMAMEZ_Church_Photo2During Rev. Robinson’s appointment, Marable Memorial continued to expand its portfolio and membership roster – additional investments in real estate and more than 280 active members. By now, the church was a thriving and had a strong presence in the community and surrounding areas.

Rev. Grant Harrison, Jr. became pastor in July 1994. We were still a blessed church and a number of improvements were made under his administration, including the purchase and installation of a cathedral pipe organ and the acquisition of additional real estate. On January 15, 2005, Rev. Harrison made history in becoming the first and only person to earn a doctorate from Hood Theological Seminary.

Rev. Wayne C. Harris was appointed to Marable in 2006. Under his pastorage, Marable completed the purchase and renovation of the old Centerview Hardware Store. The edifice was dedicated with a wonderful worship experience and celebration. During Rev. Harris’ service, we celebrate our Centennial Celebration (100th Church Anniversary) in a grand manner.

In June 2009, Rev. M. Alexander Harden was appointed by the Rt. Rev. George W. C. Walker, Sr.; Senior Bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church. Under his leadership, we explored and experienced some innovative worship ideas – including incorporating an early morning worship service. Rev. Harden continued to work to grow the church membership until 2012.

Our most recent pastoral appointment is Rev. Dr. William McKenith (2013). His motivating and cheerful spirit has brought new energy to Marable and he has led the way by providing superior leadership to achieve our goals. Dr. McKenith has shared his vision of Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church being strengthened spiritually, numerically, and financially through Passionate Worship, Radical Hospitality and Extravagant Generosity. With this vision, we’re proud to strive to acclaim the mission of “Being an incredible Church where the Word of God abounds through Discipleship, Christian Education and Service to the church and Community in God’s way.”

Rev. Hercules Smith (circa 1918)………………………………………………………………………..

Rev. R. V. Flack……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Rev. J. D. Jackson……………………………………………………………………………………………

Rev. Campbell………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Rev. C. A. Russell…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Rev. Raymond Luther Jones……………………………………………………………… 1921 – 1924

Rev. J. F. Smith………………………………………………………………………………………… 1924

Rev. Jones (church rebuilt in 1928)……………………………………………………………………..

Rev. Thomas Diggs…………………………………………………………………………………… 1928

Rev. W. D. Carson…………………………………………………………………………… 1928 – 1943

Rev. Felton J. Vorice……………………………………………………………………….. 1943 – 1947

Rev. Reeves………………………………………………………………………………….. 1947 – 1948

Rev. J. I. Johnson……………………………………………………………………………. 1948 – 1953

Rev. A. C. Duffy……………………………………………………………………………… 1953 – 1957

Rev. Reid Ross White………………………………………………………………………. 1957 – 1964

Rev. J. Roy Allen…………………………………………………………………………….. 1964 – 1967

Rev. Freeman Germany…………………………………………………………………… 1967 – 1967

Rev. M. R. Cuthbertson…………………………………………………………………… 1967 – 1968

Rev. Henry Lee Melvin…………………………………………………………………….. 1968 – 1969

Rev. J. E. Powell……………………………………………………………………………… 1969 – 1972

Rev. Alexander Jones……………………………………………………………………… 1972 – 1976

Rev. Ralph V. Washington………………………………………………………………… 1976 – 1980

Rev. Audie V. Simon……………………………………………………………………….. 1980 – 1982

Rev. James R. Samuel……………………………………………………………………… 1982 – 1984

Rev. William R. Robinson………………………………………………………………….. 1984 – 1994

Rev. Grant Harrison………………………………………………………………………… 1994 – 2006

Rev. Wayne Harris………………………………………………………………………….. 2006 – 2008

Rev. Alexander Harden……………………………………………………………………. 2008 – 2012

Rev. William McKenith………………………………………………………………… 2013 – Present

 

 

Addendum to the History

 

Members of Marable Memorial who were appointed as Pastors in the A.M.E. Zion Church:

  •   Willie C. Bankhead
  •   John Lee Bennett
  •   Carla Carson
  •   Raymond Luther Jones
  •   Hezekiah Lawson
  •   Mildred Lawson
  •   Myron Lawson
  •   Richard Keith Thompson
  •   Leroy White
  •   Reid R. White, Jr.
  •   William Milton White, Jr.
  •   Kevin Williamson
  •   Matthew Williamson, Jr.
  •   Matthew Williamson, Sr.

 

Raymond Luther Jones, Pastor of Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Kannapolis, North Carolina from 1921 – 1924 was elevated to the bishopric at the 1948 General Conference Meeting in Louisville, KY. This beloved servant of God died at his post on the final day of the 1972 General Conference meeting in Mobile, Alabama.

Margaret S. Willie, member of Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Kannapolis, NC was elected General Chairman of Life Members Council, Woman’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society at the Quadrennial Meeting in 1983, in New Orleans, Louisiana; where she served eight years in this position. Mrs. Willie was appointed Coordinator of the Junior College Library Fund, a project of the Connectional Lay Council. She also served the Salisbury District in several capacities in the Missionary Department as Secretary of Young Women and Chairman of Life Members Council. Mrs. Willie established the General Life Members Council Scholarship Endowment Fund (for A.M.E. freshmen studying at an A.M.E. Zion college).

Barbara Black………………………………………………………………………. Christian Education

Betty Black………………………………….. Christian Education and Appreciation Committee

Gwen Black…………………………………………………………………………. Christian Education

John Black, Jr………………………………………………………. District President of Lay Council

Minno Bonner…………………………………………………….. District Superintendent of Buds

Robert Curry……………………………………………………………………… State of the Country

Ruth Curry……………………………………………………………………….. Courtesy Committee

William Gaither………………………………………………………………. Technology Committee

Doreen McKenith……………………………. District Seminar Committee and Balm in Gilead

Paula Robinson………… Treasurer of District Lay Council and District Seminar Committee

Earl J. Willie…………………………………………… District President of Lay Council (10 years)

Margaret Willie……………………………………………………. Secretary of District Lay Council

Leona Wilson…………………………………………………………………………………. Lay Council

 

The following individuals served as Presiding Elders at Marable Memorial:

  • Rev. Martin Van Buren Marable
  • Rev. P. T. Bennett
  • Rev. R. L. Moss
  • Rev. W. J. Hines
  • Rev. Samuel Hamilton
  • Rev. W. D. Carson
  • Rev.  G. W. Hunter
  • Rev. Claude E. Norment
  • Rev. Norman K. Byers
  • Rev. Dr. Lee Clinton Siler
  • Rev. G. Sidney Waddell
  • Rev. Dr. Jerry T. White
  • Rev. Herbert Warren (Current Elder)

 

Our challenge remains on this day and forevermore to, by the goodness and mercy of God, keep Marable Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church alive and her doors open, to continue to build on the firm foundations laid for us by our illustrious predecessors.