About John Wesley

History of John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church

Significant dates and facts in the life of John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church

from 1849 until present


1847 - Founders, John Brent and John Ingram withdrew from Asbury M.E. Chruch and organized the Little Society of Nine.

1847-49 - The Little Society of Nine worshipped at the home of John and Elizabeth Brent and began to organize a church

Organization and Development of John Wesley Church

1849 - A site was purchased on Connecticut Avenue and the first John Wesley was built. It was a one story and basement structure which cost $600.00

1850 - The first choir was organized

1851 - The congregation led by Rev. Abraham Cole, the first minister, moved into the new independent John Wesley Church. The Board of Trustees and the Board of Stewards were created.

1853 - John Wesley Church was enlarged to accomodate the increasing congregation. The new structure included a parsonage and four houses, which were rented to help defray Church expenses. 

1855 -58 and 1864 -65 - Church was used as a school facility for free blacks.

1884 - The church enlarged with a second story and tower under the architectural direction of Calvin T.S Brent.

1889 - Six houses for rent were erected on the church property on Connecticut Avenue.

1894 - The Golden Rule Club was organized.

1896 - The Varick Christian Endeavor Society was organized.

1902 - The property on Connecticut Avenue was sold and the church relocated on 18th Street, N.W. between L and  M streets.

1904- During the pastorat of Rev Lynwood W Kyles, the control of church property was transferred from the Trustees to the A.M.E. Zion denomination and the church was formally incorporated as a branch of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

1906 - The Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society No.1 was organized.

1910 - The Altar Guild was organized.

1914 - The property on 18th Street was sold and John Wesley was relocated to the present site during the pastorate of Rev. W.C. Brown. The Willing Workers Club was organized. 

1917 - The Buds of Promise Missionary Society was organized

1921 - The Church Extension Club was organized.

1923 - Marcus Garvey spoke to a crowd of about 2000 persons at the church. The following clubs were organized:

Ladies Usher's Board, Stewardess Board No. 1, and Stewardess Board No. 2

1924 - The EverReady Improvement Circle and Trustees Aid Club were organized.

1926 - The Second General Church School Convention of the A.M.E. Zion Church was held at the church. The Self-Denial Club and the Young Women's Usher Board were organized.

1927 - The Men's Usher Board was organized.

1930 - The Church ranked as fourth in value of all A.M.E. Zion church buildings

1934 - The Excelsior Dramatic Club was organized

1936 - Rev. Stephen Gill Spotswood was appointed Pastor at the Annual Conference. He launched the Temple Beautiful campaign completely renovating the church. The members approved a recommendation to designate John Wesley as the "The National Church of Zion Methodism".

1937 - The first church parsonage was purchsaed at 1324 Q Street, N.W. The following groups were organized:

Gleaners Club, Cathedral Choir, Children's Choir, Chorus Choir, Acolytes Guild, Education Club, Spottswood Circle, Stewardess Board No. 3

1938 - The Conference Workers, the Altruistic Club and Nurses' Unit were organized

1940 - John Wesley hosted the 31st General Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Chruch and was designated as "The National Chruch of Zion Methodism". The church mortgage was burned. The Shining Host Club was organized. 

1944 - The Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society No. 2 was organized. 

1945 - Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to a capacity audience at the church. The Loyal Friendly Circle and the Lottie Jones Memorial Club were organized.

1946 - The following groups were organized: 

Deaconness Board No.1, Pastor's Study Club, Home Missions Workers, Woman's Home and Foreighn Missionary Society No. 3

1947 - The Men's Club was organized.

1948 The Junior Usher Board and Senior Usher Board were organized.

1949 - The second Yearbook was published during the Centennial Anniversary Celebration.

1951 - The Helen A. Ringgold Christian Service Club was organized.

1949-1952 - Rev S.G. Spottswood was President of the District of Columbia Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. and branch meetings were held at the church

1952 - Rev. S.G. Spottswood was elected a Bishop in the A.M.E. Zion Church. Rev. E. Franklin Jackson was appointed Pastor of John Welsey. The Church was renovated, resulting in the divided Chancel and the establishment of self-service Communion. The Spottswood Amott Club and the Organ Guild were organized.

1954 - The Viola Spottswood Progressive Club was organized.

1956 - The Jasper Memorial Club was organized.

1957 - The second Church parsonage was purchased at 1736 Webster Street, N.W. 

1958 - The Henrietta Armstead Club and the Sons of Varick were organized.

1959 - The 110th Anniversary of the Church was celebrated and a Yearbook was published.

1959-1964 - Rev. E. Franklin Jackson was President of the District of Columbia Branch of the N.A.A.C.P and Branch meetings were held at the Church.

1963 - The furneral of Medgar Evers was held at John Wesley Church.

1964 - Philadelphia and Baltimore Annual Conference with the then, "The Church and Freedom", met at the church during U.S. Senate passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.

1965 - The North Carolina Club was organized. 

1969 - The 120th Anniversary of the Church was celebrated and a Yearbook was published.

1974 - Bishop S.G. Spottswood and Rev. E. Franklin Jackson died in December.

1975 - Rev. Cecil Bishop was appointed Pastor of John Wesley. The Calendar Club and Historical Society were organized. 

1978 - A major renovation of the Church was conducted. The congregation worshipped at Emory United Methodist Church.

1979 - In July, a fire severly damaged the Church edifice. During the restoration the congregation worshipped at Simpson-Hamline Methodist Church.

1980 - The restoration of the Church after the fire was completed. Rev. Cecil Bishop was elected Bishop. Rev. G. Ray Coleman was appointed Pastor of John Wesley Church. Rev. Coleman's programs included: The Bold Faith Plan, Construction of the Victory Skylight, Establishment fo the Scholarship Program, Organization of the After School Program. The Class Leaders Club was organized.

1981- The Golden Age Circle was organized.

1982 - Deaconess Board No. 2 and Deaconess Board No. 3 were organized.

1993 - The Fellowship Gospel Choir was organized.

1994 - Rev. Cameron Jackson was appointed Pastor. His Property Acquisition Program resulted in the purchase of the property at 14th and Q Streets,  NW

1997 - Rev. Vernon Shannon was appointed Pastor. His programs included Vision 2000, 150th Anniversary Celebration and the renovation of the current building.

2000 - The Performing Arts Society was organized. 

2002 - The Women's Home and Overseas Ministry Society was created by merging W.H. & O.M Societies 1, 2 and 3. The Debt Free Campaign was introduced

2003 - The property at 1324 Q Street, N.W. was renovated and sold. The Church became debt free.

2004 - The Church celebrated 155 year Church Anniversary

2010 - A major renovation of the church was conducted. The congregation worshipped at Dupont Park 7th Day Adventist Church

2012  -The renovation was complete with a beautiful edifice of Worship

2015 - The Black Methodist Coalition Meeting was held at John Wesley

2017 - Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias was appointed the Pastor of John Wesley Church.