Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, Inc., Church History
On Tuesday October 4, 2005, twenty- three individuals, feeling led by the Holy Spirit, decided to meet and discuss the possibility of organizing a new Christian Ministry in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. It was decided that such a ministry would be dedicated to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and committed to addressing the spiritual void that is present within those who have yet to recognize and accept Jesus Christ into their lives as their personal Savior. This meeting was held at the YWCA on Mississippi Boulevard. The meeting was concluded with a closing prayer from Mr. William H. Davis.
During the month of October, 2005 the following organizational events took place mostly at the home of Mr. William Davis and Colony Park on Cherry Rd known as the Madison Building:
It was decided that we would be a TITHING church,
Several names were mentioned but it was voted the church name would become Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. because of the connection between Christianity and Africa.
According to Acts 8:36-38, the Ethiopian Eunuch was the first person to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God. There lies the connection between Christianity and Africa, with Abyssinia being the capital, at one time in history of Ethiopia.
A well known CPA in the city of Memphis, Mr. Mack Finley, Jr. instructed the body on the proper way to manage finances and thanks to his business savvy provided a procedures manual, and made sure we were in full compliance with all state and federal tax codes. Mr. Finley completed the paperwork and on November 7, 2005 we obtained a Charter, Tax Exemption Number, and Incorporation status which officially made us a CHURCH.
The following individuals were voted upon by the body to serve as Deacons: Rodell Boyd (Chair), Reginald Tate, Dr. Larry Herring, William H. Davis (Co- Chair), Craig Greer and Cedric Wooten. Trustees: Mack Trent (Chair), Alfred Harrison, Ardie Hardy, Helen Caldwell (Co-Chair) and Claude Hampton. Financial Secretary Helen Caldwell, Corresponding Secretary: Sherilyn Alexander Jones. Finance Committee: Dr. La Canas Herring Mack, Hannah Boyd and Brandi Caldwell.
Looking for a place to conduct Sunday worship, the congregation had two choices, the Madison Building or Parkway Gardens. It was agreed by the body to lease Parkway Gardens Presbyterian Church at 1683 South Parkway East starting December 18, 2005.
The first Sunday in November, 2005 the newly organized Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Inc. conducted its first communion service as a congregation with the Rev. Mark E. Grandberry, Sr., pastor of the Greater St. Paul AME Church of Memphis, bringing the message. This service was conducted at the Madison Building.
On the third Sunday in November, 2005 Rev. Eric Pearman conducted Sunday service and on the fourth Sunday he was elected the first pastor of the Abyssinian MBC, Inc. His pastoral duties started the first Sunday in December, 2005, however, his installation services did not take place until March 25, 2007.Under his leadership the by-laws and church constitution were drafted and after several revisions and scrutiny from the (Official) General Board the document was approved by the (Official) General Board on April 6, 2006 and adopted by the congregation on April 22, 2006.
From December, 2005 to July, 2006 church services were held at Parkway Gardens. From July, 2006 to February, 2007 worship was conducted at the Madison Building, while working to secure finances to purchase a permanent location.
On January 23, 2007, Deacon: William H. Davis, Dr. Larry Herring and Trustees Mack Trent and Helen Caldwell were present at closing on the said property know as 3890 Millbranch Rd. 38117
After eight months of worshipping as a congregation and finding ourselves wandering in the wilderness the faithful members who remained prayerful, faithful, and supportive walked into our present location where we conducted our first communion celebration and worship services on Sunday March 4,2007.
In November, 2008 Rev. Pearman resigned and Rev. James Morganfield, Jr. became interim pastor March, 2009. Rev. Morganfield resigned. Again, we the Abyssinian Church family was in need of a Spiritual leader. On Mother’s Day of May, 2011 Rev. Earle Fisher delivered the message and agreed to serve as Interim Pastor. On September 30, 2012 Rev. Fisher was elected to serve as Pastor beginning October 7, 2012. Rev. Fisher would often say, “there is a new thing happening” at Abyssinian. In January of 2013, Abyssinian adopted a new mission and vision statement which has helped orient our ministry towards social justice and black liberation.
As Church membership continued to increase, new Board members Monica Campbell-Hughes (Trustee), and John Ross (Deacon) were added to the joint-board. Dr. Oscar Sueing was added as Associate Pastor.
Since his arrival in 2011, Rev. Fisher has helped guide the church through more additional growth and changes. Pastor Earle helped to produce our annual Church Anniversary Banquet in 2014.
In March 2017, led by our First Lady, Denise Fisher, ABC sponsored their first annual #IAmHer Women’s Empowerment Conference and in October of 2017 the ladies of ABC held our first annual Women’s Day.
In November of 2018, Frank W. Johnson was ordained as a Deacon and Rev. Marquette Wallace was ordained as a minister. Abyssinian also celebrated Rev. Fisher receiving his Ph.D. and becoming “Doctor” Fisher.
In January of 2019, Min. Tameka Greer, Min. Regina Clarke and Deacon Frank Johnson assumed their leadership roles. In September of 2019 Rev. Regina Clarke was ordained as a minister.
After establishing a committee that worked diligently for over two years, the church Constitution and Bylaws were updated in 2018. We’ve also established a PayPal account and Social Media Ministry. Our social media page has reached almost 2000 “likes” and has helped us reach even more people weekly. We’ve also set up a new webpage that was revealed on Resurrection Sunday 2020.
In May 2019 the ABC church family held their first annual Pastor and Wife Appreciation Day.
The testimony of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church echoes the words of the hymnologist, “We’ve come this far by faith…” In March 2017 the ladies of ABC sponsored their first annual #IAmHer: Women’s Empowerment Conference and in October their first annual Women’s Day. Additionally, Min. Temekia Greer, Rev. Regina Clark, Rev. J.D. Harper (ministerial staff) and Frank Johnson(deacon) assumed their leadership roles.