Olive Branch African Methodist Episcopal Church
1734 Highway Seventeen North
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Olive Branch African Methodist Episcopal is one of the oldest churches in the Mount Pleasant area is proud and elated to give a history of its beginnings.
In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. Shortly afterwards, the African Methodist Episcopal Church came into existence in South Carolina. Richard Allen was the first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The church in Charleston which existed prior to the Civil War was established with the assistance and direction of Morris Brown.
Mr. Brown was a free person of color left the Methodist Episcopal Church and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Morris Brown was the first from South Carolina to be elected as bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He did not live to see the fruit of his labors.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church returned to the South in 1863 with the Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne as Presiding Prelate. In 1865 the South Carolina Conference became one of the largest conferences of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The South Carolina Annual Conference covered all of South Carolina, including the Mount Pleasant District of which Olive Branch AME Church became a part. In 1910 the Palmetto Conference was established.
Olive Branch AME Church in the early years was a part of what was known as the Mount Pleasant Circuit. The property which became Olive Branch African Methodist Episcopal Church was purchased from John and Ann Hamlin, owners of a plantation adjacent to what became the church. The purchase date is noted to have been March 23, 1870 in Christ Church Parish. The property is bound on the North and West by Willock, on the east by Georgetown and Mathis Ferry Roads, on the South by Georgetown Highway.
Trustees during the purchase were:
J.W. Venning, Robert Curtis, Jacob Swinton, Sires Howard, Lot McNeil, David Dyall, Charles F. North, and Mingo Ward. Rev. John Graham was minister in charge.
When Reverend John Graham erected a pole building at first and around 1885, a board building was erected.
Olive Branch being a circuit shared the following pastors with Goodwill AMEC:
Services were held at Olive Branch on the first and third Sundays and at Goodwill AMEC, our sister church on the second and fourth Sundays.
The congregation at both churches grew rapidly. To fulfill the spiritual needs of each congregation each church was assigned their own pastor. In 1969 Reverend JJ Taylor was appointed to Goodwill AMEC and Reverend James Brown was appointed to Olive Branch AMEC.
During Reverend Taylor’s tenure at Olive Branch During his tenure, he was interested in getting the young people to have an active roll in the church. The Young People Department of the Missionary Society was organized; Sister Carrie Wilson was appointed director. The first Youth and Sunbeam Choir was also formed with Sister Patricia Stokes as its first director, she was assisted by Sisters, Virginia German and Justine McQueen.
Today, the membership at Olive Branch is 1,784
The organizations of the church are
1. Local Ministers
5. Class Leaders
7. Church School
8. Christian Education
9. Lay Organization
12. Women Ministry
13. Daughters of Sarah
14. Sons of Allen
15. Men’s Association
16. Positive Change
17. Liturgical Praise Dance
Reverend James Brown
Reverend James Brown was our first full time pastor of Olive Branch AME Church. He was very energetic in seeing that the church was moving in the right direction. He wanted to organize a Junior Board of Stewardess; however the members who joined except three were over twenty years old. The Board was renamed Stewardess Board Number Three. Carolyn M. Rouse was appointed president.
Reverend Louis O. Johnson
In 1973, Reverend L.O. Johnson was assigned to Olive Branch AME Church. During his pastorate the sanctuary was remodeled, the Educational Building/Fellowship Hall, Pastor’s study, Secretary’s office, Kitchen and Nursery were added and the old structure was covered with bricks. The Educational /Fellowship Hall was named in his honor. The historical bell that was used when the church was organized was restored. The bell was rung for Sunday School, Sunday Worship Services, Special programs and funerals. Brother Phenious Thompson (Sport) was in charge. Reverend Johnson was fond of gospel music as well as hymns and asked Sister Virginia M. Washington to organize a Gospel Choir. Sister Emma Amy Edwards also organized the first Male Choir at the church. During Rev. Johnson’s tenure the church had three major fundraisers each year they are as follows: Fellowship Dinner, Crystal Tea,(Patricia Stokes) and Harvest Festival(Delores Langston).
The Acolyte Ministry was organized by Sister Carolyn M. Rouse. The enrollment increased tremendously. Rev. Johnson had twenty –two successful years at Olive Branch AME Church.
Reverend Charles C. McLamore
Reverend McLamore was assigned to Olive Branch AME Church in 1994.
Reverend McLamore was interested in ministering on highways and communities as well as the church. He implemented the early morning service on the first Sunday to accommodate the large crowd. He then added a third Sunday early morning service as well. A parsonage was purchased in Snee Farm.
Reverend Jonathan Jerome Baker
During the pastorate of Reverend Baker the membership increased. The church needed a larger office; a small section of the Fellowship Hall was taken to satisfy that need. A bus was purchased to accommodate our Church School students and short trips to Missionary Meetings and conferences. The parking lot was paved. On, April 4, 2000, nineteen acres of land located in Snowden was purchased and signed by Mary B. Snipe-Russell as chairman of the Trustee Board and Carolyn M. Rouse as Secretary of the Official Board.
Reverend Daniel L. Simmons
Reverend Daniel L. Simmons tenure was very short at Olive Branch AME Church; however some very important positive changes were implemented. The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was discussed and studied. He organized the Meet and Greet Ministry and a pamphlet consisting of the activities of the church to distribute to visitors and friends. He also organized the New Members Class and Computer Lab. He also organized the first hot meal center at the church. The center provided delicious and nutritious meals to our senior members, as well as the sick and shut in members. Sisters Helen Burns and Carolyn Rouse served as the directors and they were assisted by other members of the church.
Reverend Frank M. Moses
During Reverend Moses administration, Olive Branch AME Church acquired a parsonage located in the Belle Hall Subdivision in Mount Pleasant, SC (the home includes 3 bedrooms, two and half baths, a formal dining area and living room and a two car garage), twenty- four seat passenger bus was purchased, the pantry property and a fence was erected for safety due to the widening of Highway Seventeen. During his tenure the church also burned its mortgage through our debt liquidation program. We also purchased a new organ and a new cooking stove for the kitchen.
Reverend Dr. Harry L. Wilson
Reverend Wilson was assigned to Olive Branch AME Church in November, 2011. He was a people’s person and was ready to share the fruit of the spirit and his knowledge with the congregation. He was concerned about our spiritual growth as well as the physical structure. Some of his observations and goals were:
1.Fellowship Hall renovations
3.Mechanical systems replacements(air/ heating systems
4.Renovate office and kitchen
5.Administering to the needs of those in hospitals, nursing homes, caring for the sick, the shut-in, the mentally and socially disturbed and brining people back into the church
Rev. Richard CK Harkness
Reverend Harkness was assigned to Olive Branch AME Church on November 14, 2014. Rev. Harkness comes to us as a born again believer who is eager and ready to share the word of God. He is very concerned about promoting a harmonious and loving atmosphere with in the church. Rev. Harkness is a great teacher, preacher, and administrator. He has rolled up his sleeves and is ready to go to work. We are elated and excited to see where the Lord will lead him as he leads this congregation.