Steps on A Spiritual Journey

a Brief Historical Capsule of

St. Stephens A.M.E. Zion Church 


MariettaIn his book, “From Slavery to Freedom – A History of Negro American”, Dr. John Hope Franklin said, “Perhaps the most powerful institution in the black’s world is the church. Barred from many areas of social and political life, blacks turned more and more to the church for self-expression, recognition and leadership. Nothing in their world was so completely their own as their church.” This was the motivation for the founding of St. Stephens A.M.E. Zion Church, under the leadership of Reverend B.F. Marin in 1860. A temporary house in the shape of an arbor, which served as a church and a school, was built on the spot where St. Stephen’s stand today on Marietta Street.

Membership increased. A larger facility was needed. Land was purchased from S. Head for the sum of $43.00 in 1885. Trustees, Jerry Roberts, William House and John Elder signed the deed. The charter members were Mr. and Mrs. John Elder, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Sanders, Mr. and Mrs. Logan Enloe, Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Rice, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Williams Lockett, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Houston and Reverend and Mrs. B.F. Martin. These brave saints stepped out on faith and built a larger church.          


IMAG00032Members continued on the spiritual journey under the leadership of many different pastors. Step by step the metamorphosis of St. Stephen’s took place. Many problems were overcome. A new structure was erected under the leadership of Reverend D.G. Moose for approximately $40,000 in 1927. Year after year improvements and additions were made. The vision and hard labor of Reverend A.C. Hunnicutt and other pastors made it possible for some large bills to be paid off.

In 1986, God blessed the church with a bright young visionary, Dr. Bernard Sullivan, Jr., an energetic, progressive pastor who would lead us into the new millennium. Plans to build a new church on Broad Street were changed when God dropped a “Golden Egg” right in our midst. An offer to purchase the old First Baptist Church on Franklin Blvd. On August 20, 2000 a giant step was taken when we moved into the new St. Stephens at Unity Place. A new, awesome venture, for a new age! A church that will reach out to embrace the entire city. A community church! 


-Compiled by Julia Neal Sykes