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Evans A.M.E. Zion Church

06/01/2006 04:39PM ● Published by Anonymous

In the late 18th Century, Henry Evans, a black shoemaker and licensed Methodist preacher, passed through Fayetteville enroute to Charleston. He decided to stay and minister to the African-American community in Fayetteville. This is the traditional beginning of the Evans Metropolitan AME Zion Church and also of Methodism in Fayetteville and eastern North Carolina. The name of the church changed over the years from the African Meeting House to Evans Chapel, and finally Evans Metropolitan AME Zion Church.

Evans’ ministry was unique in that he preached to a congregation of both black and white families until his death in 1810. Following his death, the congregation continued to worship together until the mid-1830s, when the predominantly white Hay Street Methodist Episcopal Church was established.

The Gothic-style in use today is the church’s fourth building, built in 1893. The beautiful craftsmanship of African-American artisans James Williams, carpenter and Joseph Steward, bricklayer, is reflected in the two-story gable front construction towers and interior woodwork. Inside the basement, a tablet marks the grave of Henry Evans.

If you head inside, note the woodwork of the interior, 16 panel v-joint ceiling and wainscoting, a balcony with turned posts and brackets all illustrate the superb craftsmanship of the artisans who erected the church. The interior retains its original balcony, varnished coffered ceiling and colored windows. The exterior structure reflects the same craftsmanship. The front of the building is characterized by a two-story gable front, two towers, pointed windows and, at the center of the gable, a projected leading Holy Cross said to be indicative of Henry Evan’s early struggle to found a church.

Evans Metropolitan AME Zion Church is the second-oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the south and third oldest in the world. The church building is listed on the National Register of historic places. The church is located at 301 North Cool Spring Street. For more information, visit www.evansmetropolitan.org. n

Courtesy of the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information about the Fayetteville area visit, www.visitfayettevillenc.com.

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