Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church Oxford, PA
Mt. Calvary A.M.E. Church was erected on Bethel Road in 1852 and is one of the oldest Churches in Chester County. Reverend Henry Jones, being a leader in the work of the Church for several years, donated the land on which Mt. Calvary was erected. The only evidence of Mt. Calvary today is the cemetery, where members still visit their loved ones. An article in the Oxford Press commemorating the Church's 151st anniversary stated that Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne dedicated the Church and appointed the Presiding Elder, Reverend Herbert of the Baltimore District the first Pastor. At that time, the membership consisted of 23 members.
During the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, the booming cannons could often be heard during Church services. Messages and word from the telegraph lines were so rare that residents of Oxford knew little of what was happening in the war. The Oxford Press reported that after the great battle of Gettysburg, services were interrupted at Mt. Calvary, lower Oxford, when a rider on swift horse paused in front of the Church and shouted, "the Rebels are coming, they are crossing Pine Grove Forge". The Colored rushed to Oxford and when asked why they came rushing to town their answer was, "we are going to escape if the Rebels come to town".
1872, Mt. Calvary was in such need of repairs that services had to be cancelled during cold and stormy weather. In July of that year, under the guidance of Reverend W.H. Shields, along with Trustees Spence Meyers, George Hand, Jacob Taylor, and Andrew Gray, a decision to raise money by subscription was adopted to meet expenses for a new roof, flooring, doors, and alterations on the interior of the building. Reverends Levi Block, John R. Jones, and Shields made addresses to further meet the needs of the Church. To add additional aid to the Church repairs, Reverend Jeremiah Proctor and Dr. T. Spence Myers spoke to local congregations on the rise and progress of Mt. Calvary Church.
As time passed, Mt. Calvary relocated from lower Oxford to East Market Street where the cornerstone was laid on August 8, 1884. Mt. Calvary then became Allen A.M.E and was dedicated on May 5, 1886. Total cost being a little over $600 at the time of dedication with a remaining indebtedness of $200.
No longer known as Mt. Calvary, the new Church was named in honor of Richard Allen, whom God steered to start the African Methodist Episcopal Church in a tiny blacksmith shop on 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia.
On May 23, 1935, tragedy struck a blow to all members as the Church was destroyed by fire. Members from a next-door neighbor burning trash on a windy night ignited a fire that caused the Church to burn down. Funds from appeals to the Body Christ throughout Oxford resulted in the present-day Church on Eighth and Market Streets. The present edifice and third Church opened its doors in the fall of 1935 to jubilant members.
God has a remnant from each generation to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, thus disciples of Jesus Christ are being made. Likewise, servants are always provided by God to carry on the leadership and strength, which is much needed in society today.
The following are a few names of servants that have spread Christ's Word from each generation: The Reverends Gault, Holmes, Daniels, Gamble, Tam, Washington, Wilson I. Reason, Clarence Martin Sr. of Yeadon, William Gillis, Sr., Stephen Michael Lewis of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, Stanley Smith, William Gray, Juanita Walters, Dorian Schenk, and our present servant, Aliston Thomas, who led by God and with His strength, is helping to rebuild, restore and reinvigorate Allen to become the Greater Church God destined it to be and advance His Kingdom!
To God Be the Glory!