Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal church will take its place in the history of Ellis County as the dedication ceremony for a Texas state historical marker placed at the church, is held on Jan. 28.
The congregation will also be celebrating the church’s 127th anniversary at the same time. The dedication ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. with a special tribute to longtime church members, the late Lena Rogers, affectionately known as “Mother Sweet” and Ethel Bolton. Both ladies were very active in the church, as well as the community and will have a fellowship hall and a fountain (respectively) dedicated in their honor. Rt. Rev. Gregory G.M. Ingram, presiding Bishop of the tenth Episcopal district of the AME church will bring the message with special music provided by the choir from Paul Quinn College. The mayor and several civic representatives will be on hand to read various proclamations. Current pastor, Dr. Bob Uzzel, has researched the history of the church for many years, having been serving the congregation since 2002. “The church was organized in 1880 and was named for the serving Bishop, Alexander W. Wayman. Its orig
inal location was on Caesar Street, also known for many years as Biggins Hill. It was then relocated to its present address of 1013 W. Ennis Ave. in 1905, under the leadership of Dr. C. A. Harris and the current building was built in 1966,” explained Uzzel.
The church has held two corner stone ceremonies, one in 1905 with the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows laying the stone and in 1966 by the Cherubim Lodge No. 237, Free and Accepted Masons.
The church has a modest congregation with 17 members but Uzzel attributes the longevity of the church to a dedicated congregation. “Our members have a strong faith in God and are faithful to their church. They saw that we have a good thing going on and they wanted to keep what they have,” he explains, adding, “we might be small but we have great potential and we are trying our best to live up to it.”
Uzzel has a very busy weekend involving many distinctions as he is being inducted Saturday night into the Warren W. Morgan Hall Of Fame at Paul Quinn College.
The awards are given to people who have ‘exemplified consummate professionalism and servant leadership in the areas of philanthropy, athletics, business, civic services, education and religion’. As well as, attaining prominence in professional accomplishments and contributions to the public.
An open invitation has been extended by the church for everyone to attend the ceremony to be held this Sunday at 3 p.m.