First AME Church History
The initial organization of Hunter Hills AME Church began during May 1939 in the home of Mr. George Hunter. While Mr. Hunter provided the space for the initial meetings, Elder Wingfield presided over all of the earlier gatherings. The persons who came together were primarily from an established congregation from the Flipper Temple AME Church. From this nucleus, Hunter Hills AME Church was born.
After several meetings of the same group, the vision of a new congregation began to take shape, especially when Attorney Craighead donated a lot upon which the first church was constructed. Attorney Craighead was also responsible for the extension from what was formerly Hunter Street now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive down to Chappell Road at Akridge Street.
During the early years after 1939, the problems were many and the people were few. The first two churches were destroyed by fire. Those edifices were primarily constructed by members within the congregation. In 1942, representatives of the church successfully borrowed $700.00 to purchase materials and supplies that were being salvaged from the Providence Baptist Church. Later that year, Mr. Will Brown was credited with having started the first Sunday School at Hunter Hills AME Church. Father Brown, as he was called, would gather children from the surrounding community and bring them to Sunday School. These children grew up and as that growing up occurred; their interest in the church became stronger.
The Steward Board and the Stewardess Board were organized during the pastoral administration of the Rev. W. E. Mackey. In 1962, the Rev. Edmond T. Kemp was assigned as the new pastor. This assignment marked the longest tenure of any pastor in the history of the church. The tenure of Rev. Kemp ended in June of 1989 when the Rev. Dr. E. Earl McCloud, Jr. was assigned to lead the Hunter Hills family.
Under the zealous leadership of Rev. McCloud, the Hunter Hills family grew with over 200 additional members. Also under his guidance, the church was renovated, a new parking lot added, a radio ministry began, and a new van was purchased. The church was involved in several community organizations such as A.B.L.E., Odyssey House of Atlanta, and Quest Atlanta ’96.
A bold yet faithful decision was made in September 1994 when Mrs. Marlene Stiggers made a motion to relocate the church. The motion was seconded by Mr. Charles Person and we embarked on a journey that transplanted this congregation to 2046 Beulah Lane SE, Atlanta GA on December 1, 1996. On Monday, August 26, 1996, in a church conference, we voted to change the name of our church to First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Atlanta (FAME).
Our church grew by the grace of God and continued to thrive. In July of 2004, the Rev. E. Earl McCloud was elected and consecrated the 127th Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His ministry propelled him to the highest office within our Zion.
On September 5, 2004, a new pastor was assigned to First AME Church. The Rev. David Bishop, IV was assigned by Bishop William DeVeaux as the new pastor.
In 2008, the Rev. Larry Ervin was assigned to First AME Church where he served faithfully until he was appointed pastor of Holly Grove AME Church.
In 2011, the Rev. Dr. Eyvonne Hudson Whitman was sent to First AME Church by Bishop William Deveaux. She was the first and only female pastor of FAME. She was elevated to Presiding Elder in 2016.
The Rev. Carlos Young, followed Rev. Dr. Whitman, and was our youngest pastor to date. He was instrumental in encouraging our YAMS of the church to step up and get involved.
During the planning meeting at St. Philip AME Church in June 2017, the Rev. James A. Alexander, Sr. was assigned to First AME Church. He has given us a vision of making our church better in the next few months through prayer, faith, and giving back to the community.