ASHEVILLE, NC – Hopkins Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church observed its 150th year Anniversary on Sunday, September 2, 2018. The pastor was Rev. Herbert Grant. The theme was, “Celebrating Christian Ministry and Service After 150 Years.” The three-day weekend celebratory events included a meet and greet on Friday and a banquet on Saturday.
Sunday morning the message was delivered by Pastor Rev. Herbert Grant. Rev. Grant spoke on, “Communion Thanksgiving” (Revelations 1:5-6).
Former pastor Rev. James A. McDougald presided over the Sunday afternoon service. Participants in the devotion were Rev. Mildred Twitty (St. Paul Tabernacle, Hendersonville, North Carolina), Presiding Elder Andrew B. Smoke (Slades Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Morganton, North Carolina and Rev. Terry Young (St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church, Forest City, North Carolina). Words of welcome were received from Councilman Keith Young (City of Asheville), Rev. Roy Blackburn, pastor of Central United Methodist Church, and retired Bishop Edward Crutchfield (Central United Methodist Church). County Commissioner, Mr. Alfred Whitesides read a proclamation from the Buncombe County Commissioners. Memorial tributes were given by Ms. Compton Tucker.
The anniversary message was delivered by Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr. Bishop Battle delivered a challenging and thought-provoking message on “Where Do You Put Your Trust?” (Matthew 6:30). He said, “In these turbulent times in which we live we have weeks of getting our feelings hurt, being pushed around, etc. Can we believe what we see on television? Can we believe what we read in newspapers and books? There is one book we can always trust. When it looks like everything is going against you, darkness is everywhere and money is not as much as you thought it was. Some of us need to be reassured sometimes. Sometimes the best you do is never enough. For 150 years the church has been a beacon for Christians.” Bishop Battle listed three reasons for the church as being in existence: 1) It has never let you down. The church has been here for 150 years. Some want something different than the church can offer. If you’ve got Jesus, that’s enough. 2) The church had demonstrated that God is with them Fire can’t destroy it. Enemies can’t destroy it. It’s in God’s hand. 3) This place will lead us home.”
Music for the service was provided by the Central United Methodist Chancel Choir. This was most fitting in that Hopkins Chapel had its beginnings from this church. The churches have a tangible link between their past and future. In 1868, due to discriminatory actions the members of Hopkins Chapel withdrew from Central United Methodist Church and established their own temple of worship.
Following the message Rev. Grant presented bouquets of roses to Mrs. Mary Chiles (oldest active member of Hopkins Chapel) for faithful and dedicated services. Mrs. Chiles continues to serve as usher, class leader, stewardess, and deaconess. Mrs. Shirley Whitesides also received roses for her work on the Homecoming committee.
Seven pastors in the 150 years of the church’s existence are still living. They are former general officer, Rev.Dr. James David Armstrong, Rev. James A. McDougald, Rev. Keith L. Lipsey, Rev. Samuel Richardson, Rev. Johnson K. Asibuo, Rev. Ronald Pollard and current pastor, Rev. Herbert Grant.