History: Grant Lovell Chapel AME Churches, Moberly, MO
History of Grant Lovell Chapel AME Churches, Moberly, Missouri
We have established documentation that Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1869 in the home of Mrs. Lucile Thomas. Her home was located at 215 South Clark Street. The Rev. Madison Corbin, walked 22 miles from Macon, Missouri, to Moberly, Missouri, and organized Grant Chapel. What a determination he must have had.
Rev. Madison Corbin, making his journey to Moberly, found only two devout Methodists among the African Americans living there. Beginning with those two forerunners, the Church had grown to a membership of 175 in 1966. As we delved further into its history, we found that Grant Chapel was the second church established, with the first being named First AME.
From 1869 to 1966 the Church has had four locations: Clark Street, Fourth Street, where the church burned to the ground, it is more than probable that the church was set on fire. Under the leadership of Rev. G. W. Taylor arrangements were made to move the building to another part of town and near his residence. They moved to Fifth and Coates, and in 1913 to its present location at Fifth and Winchester-now known as Fifth and West End. The grandfather of Frances Graves, Mr. Frank Matlock, and the grandfather of Viola Barton, Mr. Jim Oliver helped to build Grant Chapel. The Rev. F. D. Wells served as pastor at that time.
Prior to 1960, Grant Chapel was the second church on the Presiding Elders’ District which was known as the Old North Missouri conference which included St. Joseph, Moberly, and other small churches; Grant Chapel entertained the Annual Conference during this time. After 1960 at the General Conference, half of the North Missouri Conference became a part of the Northwest Missouri Conference. The other half went to the Missouri Conference.
During the year 1971, a major remodeling program emerged. New sidewalks, new front steps were built, wall-to-wall carpet was installed, and new pulpit furniture, baptism font, new altar table, and cushioned pews were installed as part of the courageous challenge at Grant Chapel.
In 1992 the 50-year-old coal furnace was converted into a gas furnace and replaced with two high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners. Yes, pennies, nickels, and dimes built this standing foundation along with sound planning, togetherness, hard work, and continuous prayers which are the keys to a successful transition.
In 2004 the Rev. May Etta Hall was sent to Grant Chapel under the leadership of Bishop Bryant. There she found the condition of the church with very low morale and confidence. The mental and emotional condition soon change and the church was up and running again; serving the community and the families of the congregation.
The church is working together in unity as we continue to build up the body of Christ. There has been a lot of physical work done on the building inside and out. A new handicap ramp, new drywalls and ceiling, kitchen counters, roof, bathroom upgrades, and much more are still to come.
Under the leadership of Rev. May Hall, the church is moving upward. We are prayerful that the Lord will bless us to do much more needed work on the building. Our spiritual growth has boomed with powerful preaching and teaching and worship services every week.
In 2010 the Grant Chapel Church was merged with Lovell of Huntsville. Our music department is in high swing every Sunday as they take the church to higher heights reaching the masses. Mrs. Emma Cropp and the church choir lead us to the throne of grace every Sunday morning. The church would be 148 years if we were still just Grant Chapel; but we celebrate today July 23, 2017, our 7th year anniversary of Grant Lovell Chapel AME Church.
In the year 2008 it became necessary for the congregants of Lovell Chapel AME Church at Huntsville MO, to consider the future of its ministry, A people who had faithfully served their community for many years, found themselves in dialogue with their Pastor - Rev. May E. Hall and with members of the Grant Chapel AME of Moberly, MO to set in motion a feasible study, to determine if these two Christian Communities could co-exist as one.
After much consideration, it was decided the appropriate request would be made to the Midwest Board of Trustees to pursue the work required to determine if a merger between the two congregations could be possible.
The Board of Trustees and the 2009 Annual Conference approved the request and the members of Lovell Chapel started the trek from Huntsville into Moberly combining the two distinct ministries in hope that the weekly intermingling through worship, would cause the two congregants to blend into one unified cause.
At the 2010 Annual Conference the Rt. Rev. Theodore Larry Kirkland, Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church with the recommendation of the 2010 Board of Trustees, and the unanimous vote of the 2010 Midwest Annual Conference approved the request and the two congregants became one.
Thus being named: Grant Lovell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. With all its diversity, with the blend of our various talents, unique skills, and many gifts, the decision to merge has made for one beautiful and harmonic expression that proves with God and together we can do all things but fail.
As we celebrate our seventh anniversary, we are still making history in this community; in the AME Church community; in the Christian community at large.
And, for this, we give God the praise.
In late December 2019, Rev. Hall was assigned to Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Kansas City, MO and Rev. Victor Vidal became our new pastor with his wife, First Lady Rita Vidal.
With Pastor Victor Vidal, we started church renovation from the bathrooms to the walls and floor of the basement. We have also started building the children’s and young adults’ playroom. We have a new telephone system with WiFi and a security system to protect church properties. We are planning many evangelism programs from the church to serve our community.
On November 28, 2021, with gratitude to God, Grant Lovell AME Church received a plaque from the Historic Preservation Commission of Moberly.
From the forthcoming programs, with the help of the Almighty God, we are getting ready to take Grant Lovell Church to another level by taking the Gospel of Christ out of the closet of the church into the highways and byways of life. Amen!
Church Renovation Project Continues.