Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 24, 2007

Wayman Chapel oldest black church in Kokomo

The city of Kokomo had only been incorporated four years when Circuit Rider Johnathan Burden came to minister to members of Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1869.

The Wayman Chapel, the oldest black church in Howard County, has been seeing to the spiritual and physical needs of the community for the past 138 years.

The first church was constructed in 1872 near the intersection of East Richmond and LaFountain streets when the Rev. H. F. Thompson was the pastor. The congregation moved to the 900 block of Apperson Way North in 1909, its current site.

The present sanctuary was constructed in 1983 and includes stained glass windows from previous churches. The church has a membership of 230.

“It was an awesome feeling to have been in the procession of past pastors that have taken the church to the next level,” the Rev. Michael Carson said.

Carson was pastor of the church from 1991 through 2005 when he transferred to Union Methodist A.M.E. Church in Benton Harbor, Mich.

“The church is a part of the community,” Carson said. “You have to be aware of what is going on in the community. What takes place during the week has an impact on the church.”

The mission of the church is to help people with their spiritual journey, he said.

“The church ministers to a person through every stage of their life,” Carson said. “The church is there during the prosperous and lean times. Through the good and bad weather, the church is there.”

Carson said the church has always played a key role in the black community by providing spiritual direction and leadership and guidance overall.

The move to a new church in Michigan was progress that provided Carson with new opportunities.

“People are the same wherever you go,” he said. “People will come back and visit and that enhances the fond memories of the church.”

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