Oldest Black Church in Iowa Celebrates 150 Years

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A local church kicks off a year-long celebration of a major milestone. The Bethel A.M.E. Church in Davenport has reached its 150th anniversary. 

It’s the oldest historically Black church in the state of Iowa and the Quad Cities area. Organized in 1865 and incorporated Janurary 1, 1866 as African Methodist Episcopal Church of Davenport, Bethel A.M.E. Church has served as a place of worship, public assembly, and community welfare for many people and organizations. Its building at 323 W. 11th Street was building in 1909 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Gregory J. Armstrong says members will celebrate the 150th anniversary for the next 12 months. Armstrong came to the church last November and says he’s excited for all the church has accomplished in the community.

“Blessed. And yet I feel that we have great responsibilities. We can’t say that we have arrived. We still got a lot of work to do. There’s still people who are being incarcerated, there’s still people that are hungry, there’s still people that need clothing, there’s still racism in our society, there’s still injustice. And until justice flows down like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream we still got work to do.”

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Source: KWQC | Bailey Deitz