HISTORY OF THE AME CHURCH

Much of African-American History has been lost, stolen, forgotten, or destroyed.  The following individuals aided in the research of the Church, Mrs. Victoria Mack, Mrs. Rebecca Smith, Mrs. Leila Harrison, other church members, including information taken from African Methodism in South Carolina, a Bicentennial Focus by Dr. Ricky Hill, a professor of History at South Carolina State University and Mr. Clarence Tobin, a local historian, and the Orangeburg Archives. This research revealed the following historical information.

        

The first members of Good Hope were emerging from slavery met in a thick grove of trees called a bush harbor. The first pastor was Reverend Goings, the first presiding Elder was Reverend Pruitt, and Mr. Daniel Alexander Payne was the first Bishop.  The original Stewards were Mr. Andrew Ross, Mr. Burl Huggins, Sr., Mr. Burl Huggins, and Mr. James Summers, Sr., and the original Trustees were Mr. Camden Wade, Mr. Amos Ballard, Mr. Jim Cleckley, and Mr. Gabe Huggins.

 

Good Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church was established between the years 1863 and 1864.  Its original annual conference was the Central Conference, and the Church District was in Orangeburg.  An African American man, who was a member, donated the land.  And the original Church building was constructed by its members. The structure of the old sanctuary was on March 12, 1897.  The cornerstone laid under the leadership of Reverend W.D. Chappelle on April 12, 1897.  Presiding Elder W. McDuffie officiated.

Several individuals worked together to organize and to establish Good Hope A.M.E. Church. Some individuals we can name specifically are as follows: Mr. Scipio Huggins, Mrs. Ellen Busby, Mr. Burl Huggins, Mrs. Rita Huggins, Mr. Frank Coad, Mr. A. J. Ballard and Mrs. Victoria Huggins.  

 

Instructors from Claflin College and South Carolina State University visited and chose Good Hope as a sight to establish a Masonic organization. The Masonic Temple was on the church grounds.

 

Some of the ministers who served the Good Hope Circuit over the years were: Reverend Goings, Reverend Player, Reverend Richardson, Reverend H.L. Haynes, Reverend Brooks, Reverend Coaxon, Reverend F.J. McFadden, Reverend W. Walker-Jones, Reverend C.C. Burgess, Reverend Paul Carmichael, Reverend J. L. Fogle, Reverend C. L. Bars, Reverend J. J. Jackson, Reverend O. A. Morant, Reverend John Scott, Reverend Lemon, Reverend W. K. Wilson, Reverend Clarence Bennett, Reverend Harvey Sutton, Sr., Reverend Robert C. Freeman, Jr., Reverend Dr. Juenarral Keith, Reverend Ronnie Brown, Reverend Alfred Bradley, Reverend John A. Lewis, and Reverend Dr. Georgeann T. Pringle.

 

God has called to seven members from our congregation to preach His word: Reverend Robert Lewis Cleckley, Reverend Ella Bamberg, Reverend Roberta Jackson, Reverend Tiffiny Jamison, Reverend Janie Allen, Reverend Sonovia Guinyard, and Reverend Dorothy Ryant.  Brother Roger Cleckley elected as the President of the Seventh Episcopal District Lay Organization, Brother Nathaniel Stevenson, elected as President of the Central Conference Sons of Allen. Many others of our Church were elected to serve at the Area, District, Conference, and Episcopal levels of our Zion.

In 1990, there was a need for a new and more modern building, so the members voted to construct a new church. Reverend Harvey Sutton, Sr. a carpenter by trade, played a leading role in building the new sanctuary. On the third Sunday in June 1992, located at 1849 Carver School Road, off Highway 301 South, Good Hope African American Episcopal Church was officially dedicated by Bishop F. C. James with Presiding Elder R. L. McCants. 

 

In 1993 at the South Carolina Central Annual Conference, Bishop John Hurst Adams recommended Good Hope AME Church become a station church under the pastoral care of The Reverend Harvey Sutton, Sr.  Based on recommendations, and the Quarterly Conference of then, the Good Hope Circuit, under the leadership of Presiding Elder B. P. Boston. In 1995, the steeple, an Organ, and stained-glass windows were added and dedicated by Bishop John Hurst Adams and Presiding Elder W. C. Baxter.

 

In November of 1997, the Reverend Robert C. Freeman was assigned as pastor of Good Hope AME Church by Bishop John Hurst Adams.  In the Fellowship Hall, a licensed, fully operational Child Development Center would be.  All rooms in the Center/Fellowship Hall carpeted. A new sewer system installed to accommodate increased daily use. A vacuum system throughout the church and Fellowship Hall added. Additionally, an underground drainage system was installed, eliminating the settling of water around the church.

 

God has blessed Good Hope through the years to accomplish the following:

1997 A Licensed fully operational Child Care: all rooms in the Center/Fellowship Hall carpeted; a new sewer system installed; a vacuum system installed; an underground drainage system installed.

2001 The church offered two (2) services – 8:00 am & 11:00 am.

1999 & 2004 Two Educational Grants totaling $28,500.00 were received from the Sisters of Charity Foundation to enhance the Child Development Center; The Center was the recipient of two Grants from the First Steps Program totaling $7,000.

2006 The choir seat in the pulpits, was rearranged to face the congregation and a new sound system added; a drummer and two musicians added to the music department.

2006 - 2008 The church participated in the summer feeding program, prison ministry, nursing home ministry, and four members were sent to the General Conference, reinstituted the Vacation Bible School, and held a voter registration drive.

2010 The first Officers' Retreat, was held at The Oaks Retirement Village in Orangeburg, SC

2011 The church raised $43,000.00 at the annual Church Anniversary and was able to retire the church mortgage and pay off some debts of the church.

 

 2011 The Reverend Dr. Georgeann Tyler Pringle, the first female pastor, was assigned to Good Hope AME Church.  Rev. Dr. Pringle, an energetic, innovative and servant leader, came to the Church with a mission and vision to increase the Church membership and to enhance the Church’s community outreach. Under her leadership, the church continues to grow and prosper.  Some of the programs below were initiated during her administration:

2011 - Present The Single's Ministry, the Couple's Ministry, and the senior’s Ministries were established. The Good Hope Child Development & Learning Center was granted a Federal 501-C-3 Nonprofit Status.  Grants, totaling $10,000.00, were awarded by the First Steps Program; and a $500.00 Abstinence Grant through a partnership between Good Hope and the SCIPE Program was received. A 15-passenger van was purchased, and a Food Bank Ministry and a Clothes Closet have begun and a Medical Clinic was added as part of the Church Ministry to assist individuals with their medical needs.

For over 150 years, Good Hope is truly blessed, and we ask God's blessings that we will continue to grow and thrive.

Abbreviated history of good hope

Much of African-American History has been lost, stolen, forgotten or destroyed.  The following individuals aided in the research of the church: Mrs. Victoria Mack, Mrs. Rebecca Smith, Mrs. Leila Harrison, other church members, including information being taken from African Methodism in South Carolina, a Bicentennial Focus by Dr. Ricky Hill, a professor of History at South Carolina State University and  Mr. Clarence Tobin, a local historian, and the Orangeburg Archives.  This research revealed the following historical information.

           

The first members of the church, just emerging from slavery, met in a thick grove of trees called a bush harbor.  The first pastor of the church was Rev. Goings, the first presiding Elder was Rev. Pruitt, and Daniel Alexander Payne was the first Bishop.  The original Stewards were Andrew Ross, Burl Huggins, Sr., Burl Huggins and James Summers, Sr., and the original Trustees were Camden Wade, Amos Ballard, Jim Cleckley and Gabe Huggins.

 

Good Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized between the years 1863 and 1864.   Its original annual conference was the Central Conference and the Church District was in Orangeburg.  An African-American man who was a member of the church donated the land to the church and the original church was constructed by members of the church.  The structure of the old sanctuary was erected on March 12, 1897.  The corner stone was laid under the leadership of Rev. W.D. Chappelle on April 12, 1897.  Presiding Elder W. McDuffie officiated.

 

            Several individuals worked together to organize and to establish Good Hope A.M.E. Church.  Some individuals we can name specifically are as follows: Mr. Scipio Huggins, Mrs. Ellen Busby, Mr. Burl Huggins, Mrs. Rita Huggins, Mr. Frank Coad, Mr. A. J. Ballard, and Mrs. Victoria Huggins.  

 

            Instructors from Claflin College and South Carolina State University visited the church and chose the church as a sight to establish a Masonic organization.  The Masonic Temple was located on the church grounds.

 

            Some of the ministers who served the Good Hope Circuit over the years were: Rev. Goings, Rev. Player, Rev. Richardson, Rev. H. L. Haynes, Rev. Brooks, Rev. Coaxon, Rev. F. J. McFadden, Rev. W. Walker Jones, Rev. C. C. Burgess, Rev. Paul Carmichael, Rev. J. L. Fogle, Rev. C. L. Bars, Rev. J. J. Jackson, Rev. O. A. Morant, Rev. John Scott, Rev. Lemon, Rev. W. K. Wilson, Rev. Clarence Bennett, Rev. Harvey Sutton, Sr., Rev. Robert C. Freeman, Jr., Rev.  Dr. Juenarral Keith, Rev. Ronnie Brown, Rev. Alfred Bradley, Rev. John A. Lewis, and Rev. Dr. Georgeann T. Pringle. 

 

God has called to five members from our congregation to preach His word: Rev. Robert Lewis Cleckley, Rev. Ella Bamberg, Rev. Roberta Jackson, Rev. Tiffiny Jamison, and Rev. Sonovia Guinyard.  Bro. Roger Cleckley was elected as President of the Seventh Episcopal District Lay Organization; Bro. Nathaniel Stevenson was elected as President of the Central Conference Sons of Allen.  Many other of our church were elected to serve at the Area, District, Conference and Episcopal levels of our Zion.

 

            In 1990, there was a need for a new and more modern building, so the members voted to construct a new church.  Rev. Harvey Sutton, a carpenter by trade, played a leading role in building the new church.   On the third Sunday in June 1992, the new church, located at 1849 Carver School Road, off Highway 301 South, was officially dedicated by Bishop F. C. James with Presiding Elder R. L. McCants. 

 

        At the 1993 South Carolina Central Annual Conference based on the recommendation of the Church and Quarterly Conference of the then Good Hope Circuit under the leadership of Presiding Elder B. P. Boston, Bishop John Hurst Adams recommended to the annual conference that Good Hope AME Church would now become a station church under the pastoral care of The Rev. Harvey Sutton, Sr.   In 1995, the steeple, an Organ, and stained glass windows were added to the church and were dedicated by Bishop John Hurst Adams and Presiding Elder W. C. Baxter.

 

            In November of 1997, the Rev. Robert C. Freeman was assigned as pastor of Good Hope AME Church by Bishop John Hurst Adams.  A licensed and fully operational Child Development Center was organized in the church's fellowship hall.  All rooms used in the Center/Fellowship Hall were fully carpeted.  The Church installed a new sewer system to accommodate the increased daily use.  A vacuum system was added throughout the church and Fellowship Hall.  Additionally an underground drainage system was installed to eliminate the settling of water around the church.

 

            God has blessed Good Hope through the years to accomplish the following:

1997

A Licensed fully operational Child Care was established; all rooms in the Center/Fellowship Hall were carpeted; a new sewer system was installed; a vacuum was installed; an underground  drainage system was installed.

 

2001

The church offered two (2) services – 8:00 am & 11:00am.

 

1999 & 2004

Two Educational Grants totaling $28,500.00 were received from the Sisters of Charity Foundation to enhance the Child development Center; The Center was the recipient of two Grants from the First Steps Program totaling $7,000.

 

2006

The choir seat in the pulpits were rearranged to face the congregation and a new sound system was added; a drummer and two musicians were added to the music department

 

2006 -2008

The church participated in the summer feeding program, prison ministry, nursing home ministry, and four members were sent to the General Conference, reinstituted the Vacation Bible School and held a voter registration drive. 

 

2010

The first Officers’ Retreat was held at The Oaks Retirement Village in Orangeburg, SC

 

2011

The church raised $43,000.00 at the annual Church Anniversary, and was able to retire the church mortgage and pay off some debts of the church

 

2011

The first female pastor, The Rev. Dr. Georgeann T. Pringle was assigned to Good Hope AME Church.  Under her leadership the church continues to grow and prosper.

 

2011 - Present    

The Single’s Ministry, the Couple’s Ministry, and the Senior Ministries were established.  The Good Hope Child Development & Learning Center was granted a Federal 501-C-3 Nonprofit Status.   Grants totaling $10,000.00 were awarded by the First Steps Program; and a $500.00 Abstinence Grant was received through a partnership between Good Hope and the SCIPE Program. Additionally, a 15 passenger van was purchased.

 

For over 150 years, Good Hope has truly been blessed and we ask God’s blessings that we will continue to grow and thrive.