Mr. John D. Barker, early member of St. John A.M.E. Church left us a treasured record. He wrote: "When Topeka was young, many men and women of our group, seeking new homes in Kansas, settled in Topeka, around the years 1864, `65, and `66. To those new settlers, Topeka became a haven for a few freemen and many ex-slaves who were seeking their "Utopia" with Visions loomed on the horizon for a bright future. They also brought with them their faith and beliefs from their former home lands. The settlers were mostly Methodist and Baptist.
St. John was born in a rented barn in 1868. The location was in an alley between Harrison and Van Buren Streets, bounded on the north Shops on the east to what is now the Rock Island Bridge on the west. From this location, men and women formed a "Prayer Circle" which developed into a "Methodist Church Mission."
In 1878 the Reverend John M. Wilkerson, a Presiding Elder of the Missouri A.M.E. Conference, came and organized this Mission into The African Methodist Episcopal Church with name and title "Saint John A.M.E. Church."
In 1879 lots were brought on Second and Madison and a building was erected. In that building, members had their first regular appointed pastor, The Reverend Schuyler Washington. In 1882 lots were purchased on the corner of Seventh and Topeka Avenue, and the corner stone of the new St. John was laid in 1886.
A half century of progress continued after the 1940's. The church thrived under strong ministerial leadership and a committed, faithful membership. It is because of this partnership that St. John has continuously moved forward. Each pastor added to the historical events and records of the church.
The improvement of our church continues as we enter our third century. History records those who have given through wills and bequest to the ministry.
St. John has been named a City, State and National Historic Place for its longevity of service to the community and Christ.
We are indebted to the past keepers of the records for it is through their vision and foresight that we are able to enrich the present by sharing these records from the past. We take pride in our inheritance of collected information because it reflects the faith, perseverance, and the Christian beliefs of our ancestors.
As we continue the legacy under the leadership of our first female pastor, The Reverend Pamela Myrtis Hughes Mason, who was assigned as our pastor from September 2015 - October 2018. Her ministry ushered in a season of spiritual renewal, anointed preaching and teaching. Our Prayer Ministry Team and Heath Ministry were established. Our Class Leader Ministry was revitalized and the Men's Ensemble sing on third and fifth Sundays.
On August 19th 2018, St. John AME Church celebrated 150 years of ministry in the Topeka Community. Bishop Clement W. Fugh was our celebration preacher. On that day our Prayer Room was dedicated.
On October 2018, we received our second female pastor, The Reverend Juliet Kent Hemphill. Rev Hemphill has been very active in the community. She continues to visit our sick-and-shut in on a regular basis and giving communion. Rev. Hemphill is a servant, preacher and teacher for our congregation.
Our Brief History
OUR 2018-2019 OFFICERS
Rosalyn Carr Vice Chair
Harold Sheffield, Vice Chair
Robert Harvey, Secretary
Floyd JJ Graham, Buildings & Grounds
Linda Avery Bowers, Vice Chair
Kelly Rhea, Treasurer
Floyd Graham, Jr.
Church School Rev. Hemphill
Class Leaders Frankie Sheffield
Health Ministry Ramona Brice
Lay Organization Kelly Rhea
Music Ministry - Musicians Dr. Dorthy Pennington
Prayer Ministry Norma Avery
Stewardess Carol Harvey
Usher Board Judy Jackson
Women's Missionary Society Kelly Rhea
Young People's Department
The Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate
Mrs. Alexia Butler Fugh, Episcopal Supervisor
The Reverend Fran T. Cary, Presiding Elder
Midwest North District
2020-2024 Quadrennial Theme:
Isaiah 54:1-10 MSG
St. Luke 12:22-32 MSG