St. John's AME Church

St. John’s AME Church

St. John AME Church


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St. John AME Church: Over 100 Years Of Devotion

As the first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Florida, St. John AME followed the tradition of beginning its journey under a brush harbor, which provided shade from the elements. In 1895, the church leaders acquired a plot of land to construct a church out of wood. Since then, the church has undergone several remodeling processes, with the current brick structure installed in 1970.

The brick symbolizes the foundational role the church plays within St. John. Serving as a pillar of the community and for those in unincorporated Gadsden County, it was a place where many older Gadsden residents attended school. Until 1987, St. John AME’s church hall functioned as an elementary school during the week. After recognizing the growing community needs, a secondary building was constructed to provide educational services to more residents in the area. Many of these students attended church services their entire life leading to a tight-knit community of faithful residents who continue to support each other.

This supportive network allowed the church to easily transition to zoom services at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Reverend Matthew J. Bryant, St. John’s pastor since 1992, is known for his short sermons, which helped to facilitate this transition. When moving back to in-person services, the congregation decided to keep the earlier start time of 10:00 am. This is a testament to the congregation’s and broader community’s resilience when it comes to making change without breaking tradition.

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