St. Matthews AME Church History

Statistics still being researched, state that St. Matthew’s Chapel Church was established in 1816. However, on December 24, 1866, Trustees David Clark, Patrick Smith and Williams Douglas purchased the property for the church for $250. The east part of the property was used to build the structure that continues to stand today and the new name of the church became St. Matthew’s Chapel African Methodist Church.


During the early years these pastors served St. Matthew’s Chapel AME Church: Revs. M.S. Parks, P.D. Yokum, L.N. Triplett, N.C. Buren, E.E. Treadwell, E.O. May, J.L. Williams and W.B. Brooks.


Major renovations have been done to the church throughout its history. They are:

  • 1883-The bell was purchased for the tower
  • 1891-The first piano purchased
  • 1892-The existing pews were purchased from Wabash Church Co.
  • 1929-Pulpit moved forward
  • Church windows replaced and redecorated over the years
  • Donation of Sterling Silver Sacramental Service set and Bible
  • 1961-Donation of a sacramental table by Mrs. Sophia Shott
  • 1967-An annex/fellowship hall was built
  • 1975-Ceiling lowered and new lighting put in
  • 1976-New sheeting and shingles for the annex and church
  • 1977-Purchased second Piano
  • 1977-Purchased two flags
  • 1991-New kitchen cabinets and new sink for the annex
  • 1991-Pastor’s office created and furnished and PA system installed
  • 1994-Purchased current parsonage across the street, Men’s bathroom built and women’s bathroom enlarged. A new furnace, central air conditioning, wiring and plumbing was put into the current parsonage.
  • 1997-New lighted church sign, cushions for the pews, brass alter set.
  • 1998-Speaker podium, wireless microphone, new hymnals, replaced wiring in the kitchen and a larger copier was purchased.

This is not a completed list of improvements made to the church and parsonage over the years. St. Matthew’s has and always will continue to maintain a higher standard of excellence through their many building efforts and donations.


Pastors who have served St. Matthew’s Chapel AME Church: Revs S.R. Stanley, W.H. Spurlock, G.M. Tillman, W.H.H. Jones, J. Arthur, William Alexander, E.O. Woods, Lawrence F. Green, H.G. Hodge, F. Lemoyne Whitlock, C.R. Edgehill, E.H. Holliday and D.A. Somerville.

  • Rev. G.E. Hollar ?-1961 (Died unexpectanly)
  • Rev. J.C. Brooks 1961-?
  • Rev. L. Cleaver 1967-1973?
  • Rev. J.G. LeFlore 1973-1975
  • Rev. James McDonald 1975-1976
  • Rev. I.H. Aldridge 1976-1982
  • Rev. W.H. Hickman 1982-1987
  • Rev. Joe Travis 1987-1991
  • Rev. J.P. Taylor 1991-1996
  • Rev. Donald Morrison 1996-1998
  • Rev. Edwin Donaldson 1998-2003
  • Rev. Ronald W. Murph 2003-2005
  • Rev. William Sheppard 2005-2010
  • Rev. Virgil Owens Sr. 2010-2012
  • Rev. Bridget L. Mitchell 2012-current

There are four historic events in the history of St. Matthew’s Chapel AME Church. First on March 16, 1990, Rev. Joe Travis is credited for getting St. Matthew’s placed on the Missouri Historical Register which led the way for the second event. In 2002-2003, Rev. Donaldson and the congregation stood their ground when the City of Boonville was awarded funds from the Isle of Capri for historical restorations in and around the area. In the end, their fight was not in vain. St. Matthew’s received $85,000 for church restorations.


In 2007, the then Northwest Missouri Conference decided along with the Trustees of Bethel, Speed Missouri, to sell the church and merge with St. Matthew’s Chapel AME Church. T-Shirts were created to commemorate the move and are worn annually at the Memorial Day Annual Fish Fry held in Harley Park, sponsored by the Trustees.


The Rev. Virgil Owens Sr. was reassigned to St. Matthew’s at the 5th Session of the Midwest Conference on September 9, 2012. However, in his failing health, PE Steven Cousin sent Rev. Bridget L. Mitchell to supply until God decided to call Rev. Owens to his reward. At this time, The Rev. Bridget L: Mitchell is the pastor of St. Matthew’s. What makes this significant for the history of the church is that she is the first woman to pastor St. Matthew’s Chapel AME Church. St. Matthew's also has it's first woman evangelist in, Evangelist Pamela Taylor. 


St. Matthew’s has a rich history and intends to create more history. God has blessed the church mightily and it is their prayer that God continues to bless them.


The AME Church

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was the first black denomination organized in North America. It was founded as the Free African Society in 1787 when a group of slaves and free persons were led out of St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia by Richard Allen in opposition to segregation. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is open to every race and color.

AME Motto

“God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer,
the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family.”

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead' he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.