Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in the Greater Third Ward Community had a very humble beginning in the rear of a rope factory on the corner of Milam and Congress Streets in Houston, Texas. With less than a dozen determined souls, mostly women, the church congregation began to assemble.
Established as an A.M.E. Church, its Mission was To Minister to the Social, Spiritual and Physical Development of all People.
The church was later moved to Preston Street where a small “Box House” was built for worship. The name Wesley Chapel A.M.E. Church was recommended by Presiding Elder Rev. Henry White; confirmed by Bishop T.M.D. Ward; and dedicated in 1877. After several relocations over a period of 20 years, what was believed to be the permanent home for Wesley Chapel was purchased on the corner of Texas Avenue and Chartres Streets September 5, 1897. Nine years later in 1906, The Houston Belt and Terminal Co. filed a condemnation lawsuits against the same property in an effort to expand its own terminal business. In November, 1906, the present site was purchased at the corner of Dowling and Webster and a new building was erected known as “The Stone Church” or “The Rock Church.”
Later in 1925, this building was completely demolished as plans were developed for a new church on the same site. While the construction was in progress, the congregation worshipped for one year in The Old Jones Barn… a building that was also used as a movie theater, on the corner of Dowling and Tuam Streets.
In the 1930’s, a continuing phase of the construction project began while the congregation established temporary worship services in the Jack Yates High School Auditorium on Elgin and Live Oak Streets. During this phase, completion of the first floor steps were built projecting from the rear of the front sidewalk that led to the unfinished second floor which remained unfinished from 1925 through 1952…..twenty-seven years! Immediately following this lapse in time, the interior of the second floor was completed and still serves as the main sanctuary from 1952 to this day.
During the first two and a half decades of Wesley Chapel’s struggle, the congregation remained faithful, steadfast and un-moveable with the relentless support from the Pastoral Leadership of Rev. J. Harvey Jones, Rev. P. C. Hunt, Rev. Gordon, Rev. Harris, Rev. Moment and countless others who believed in our mission . . . and in 1904, Rev. J.P. Howard was sent to pastor this determined group of pioneers. In the years to follow, other pastors to lead this growing congregation included:
Rev. E.J. Howard was elected to the episcopacy in 1936 and became our 58th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. E.E. Coates, in 1968, the first Affordable Housing Project in Harris County, Texas, and was built comprised of 252 family units. During the thirty-seven (37) years that Rev. Dr. Coates pastored Wesley Chapel A.M.E. Church, several structural improvements were made and additional property was acquired for future growth and expansion.
In 2002, Rev. Dr. Leo Griffin was appointed as the Pastor of Wesley Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and continued the legacy of significant accomplishments under his outstanding leadership, including: a change to the name of the church from Wesley Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church to Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church; acquisition of additional church facilities to house the Church School, Youth Church and Children’s Nursery; installation of a high-definition audio/video system for the main sanctuary and a digital video messaging system throughout the facility. Pastor Griffin started several programs to address the social needs of the Greater Third Community: feeding the Homeless distributing food for the youth weekend and summer programs and providing various cultural enrichment activities for the Community Seniors.
Our History is a testimony that down through the years, . . .
God has been gracious to us, and He has allowed His face to shine upon us, and His blessings have kept . . .
Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church!
JUST LOOK WHERE HE'S BROUGHT US FROM!