History of the AME Church in The Bahamas
The African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in The Bahamas in 1907. Rev. Richard Henry Dames, a Bahamian born on the Island of Abaco, was charged with the starting of the Church. At the time of his charge, he was a member of the South Florida Conference. Bishop Benjamin T. Tanner was responsible for sending Rev. Dames to The Bahamas to begin this work. The first worship service was held on a porch in Savannah Sound, Eleuthera in 1908.
In Nassau, the first AME church was established in 1938 and named Mount Sinai, with Rev. R.H. Johnson serving as pastor, and Rev. EE Benjamin as Presiding Elder. Later, in 1956, the name was changed to the Ministers’ Wives Community Centre. In 1963, a plot of land was purchased by the Ministers’ Wives of Florida in Ridgeland Park, West for the construction of a place of worship. The cornerstone for the Ministers’ Wives Centre was laid in 1964, with Rev. CV James serving as pastor and presiding elder; the Rt. Rev. EC Hatcher was the presiding bishop. Shortly thereafter the name was changed to the Hubert Nelson Robinson Chapel. In 1975, the Hubert Nelson Robinson Chapel was erected on the same site (across from the Ministers’ Wives Community Centre) under the leadership of Bishop Hubert Nelson Robinson and Rev. James Maceo Sands (pastor).
On November 26, 1978, the church was completed, dedicated and renamed Robinson-Morris Chapel AME Church by Bishop Samuel Solomon Morris. Rev. James M. Sands continued to serve diligently and faithfully for a number of years until November 1987, when he was appointed pastor of Cousin Chapel AME Church by Bishop Philip R. Cousin. Also, in 1987, Bishop Philip R. Cousin appointed Rev. Howard F. Williamson as pastor of the Robinson-Morris Chapel AME Church.
Rev. Williamson is a graduate of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Under his leadership, an educational building was built on the church’s grounds and it has been used to educate our preschoolers since September 1993. Presently, a new school building is under construction with more than twenty-four (24) classrooms. Robinson-Morris Chapel AME church continues to expand its ministries with special emphasis on empowerment, teaching and training and special ministries: The Rev. James Maceo Sands Educational Fund which offers a financial stipend for students in colleges and those with the Highest GPA in primary, junior and senior high schools; Bible Training Institute; Allen Sunbeams for boys and girls; Boys Club; Youth Ministry; Males Ministry; Ladies Ministry; Prison Ministry; Radio Program on 107.9FM on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.; Evangelism and Community Outreach for sick and shut-in; Food Pantry; Clothing Ministry; Prayer Ministry; Bible Study Ministry and Free bi-monthly breakfast.
After 50 years, Robinson-Morris African Methodist Episcopal Church continues to be a beacon of light, hope and salvation for its surrounding communities, this nation and the world.
To God We Give All Honor, Glory and Praise.
Other Churches of the Bahamas Conference and present pastors are:
Robinson-Morris AME Church
Presiding Elder and Pastor, Rev. Howard F. Williamson, Nassau, Bahamas
Cousin McPhee Cathedral
Presiding Elder and Pastor, Rev. Ranford R. Patterson, Nassau, Bahamas
Mother Bethel AME Church
Pastor, Rev. Winifred Williams, Savannah Sound, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Allen Chapel AME Church
Pastor, Rev. Clifford McKinney
New Bethel AME Church
Pastor, Rev. Mocelin Milorin, Off Bacardi Road, Nassau, Bahamas
Cummings Temple AME Church
Pastor, Rev. Hudson Williamson, Freeport, Grand Bahama
St. Luke AME Church
Pastor, To Be Supplied, Deep Creek, Eleuthera
Late Rev. Maceo Sands
Howard F. Williamson