Our History

First Church

To reflect back on where we began, must cause the memory to draw upon people, events, and circumstances of over 110 years….

 During those days, the families around the community of Marvin consisted of sharecropping farmers of ex-slaves. This close knit community of black families shared in work, the raising of their children, and the worship of their Lord. Around 1875, Susan Ross, a white woman in the Marvin community, took ex-slave Rosa Howie’s son, Bob to live and work for the Ross Family. 

When Susan Ross died in 1886, Bob continued to live with Susan’s daughter, Maggie and Sallie Ross. Bob (now named Bob Ross) and wife, Alice had a daughter, Mittie Bell in 1887. Mittie Bell married Tom Houston around 1906. The Ross sisters wrote a will on November 20, 1907, leaving Bob and Mittie Bell Houston most of their estate - 800 acres of farmland, the organ from their parlor, and their brother’s gold watch.

In 1898, Marvin’s black community erected the first bush arbor on land owned located on New Town Road and owned by the Ross family. In 1901, the Rosses deeded the Church the land for $1.00. They also provided land for the community to build a two-room school across from the Church on New Town Road.

 The church became the center of activity for the community of neighboring black families. In 1917, the bush arbor was replaced by a white wood framed church. Families consisting of: Bob Ross (Alice), Green Audrey (Margaret), Tom Houston (Mittie Bell Ross Houston), Craig Kirkpatrick, Issac Houston (Nannie Audrey Houston), Tom Jacobs, Calvin Fetherson (Hattie Cunningham Fetherson), John McFadden (Mary Garner McFadden), Bob Dunn (Ella) Grannie Ann Robinson, Amanda Yabor Houston, and the Crawfords, worked together to organize and construct Marvin A.M.E. Zion’s first church structure.

 The first pastor that can be recalled is the Rev. John Blake (1917). The presiding Elder is remembered as Elder Bennett, and the presiding Bishop is remembered as Bishop George C. Clement. Pastors that followed are remembered as: Rev. Studd, Rev. Fervor, Rev. Coleman, Rev. Yeberton, Rev. Lomax, and Rev. Lilly. Rev. Douglas is remembered as the last pastor to serve the wood-framed church in 1939. In the 1940s, Marvin fellowshipped, every other Sunday, with the neighboring Redding Springs A.M.E. Zion Church. Redding Spring is well remembered for its annual Camp Meetings, held the last week of August.

The frame structure was torn down in the 1940s and replaced with the brick sanctuary that is present today on New Town Road. The construction of this edifice was organized by the next generation of “kin”. They included forefathers and mothers to include: Will, Jerry and Isaiah Fetherson, James Robert Houston (Lucinda Deese Houston), Clebo, Shank, and King (Jessie) Audrey, Plyler Miller (Tossie), Steve Walker (Ellie), Rob Vinson (Florence Houston Vinson), Andrew McFadden (Gracie White McFadden), Richard, Walter Lee, Tommie and Issac Robinson, and DeWitt Dunn.

 Pastors in the brick sanctuary on New Town Road have included: Rev. Kemp, Rev. J.M. McCall, Rev. John Joseph 

old marvin

Nixon, . Silas Craig, Rev. M.W. Davis, Rev. O.E. Davis, Rev. R. E. Sharpe, Rev. J.H. Finley, Rev. Shaw, Rev. Derinzer Johnson, and Rev. Henrico D. White. Under the direction of Rev. Silas Craig, the block community/fellowship building on New Town Road was constructed in the late 1960s. Also under Rev. Silas Craig, the Pastor’s Study and Sunday School rooms were added to the brick church. In addition to Elder Bennett, past Presiding Elders on New Town Road have included: Elder John H. Blue, Elder W.J.W. Turner, Elder James Robertson, Jr., and Elder J.W.Greene. Bishop Clement is joined by past Presiding Bishops to include: Bishop Alfred Dunston, Bishop Raymond L. Jones, Bishop Arthur Marshall, Jr. Bishop Ruben L. Speaks and Bishop Cecil Bishop.  

Under the direction of Rev. Derinzer Johnson (December 1980), the church continued to meet every other with the Wesley Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Waxhaw. Rev. Johnson brought new organization, a talent for singing and uplifting sermons to revitalize the Church. Under Rev. Johnson, the Church became a station church in 1988. As the Church grew, the Lord gave Rev. Johnson the vision for Marvin to expand and build a new church.

In March 1991, upon Rev. Johnson’s transfer, Rev. Henrico D. White was assigned to supply Marvin. Continuing with Rev. Johnson’s vision, the church found and purchased approximately 6 acres of land on Crane Road. Coincidentally, these 6 acres were part of the original 800 acres willed to Bob Ross and Mittie Ross Houston by Maggie and Sallie Ross.

Rev. Henrico D. White served as Pastor of Marvin A.M.E. Zion Church on Crane Road from 1994 – December, 2007.   As of January 2008, Marvin has been blessed to be under the capable leadership of Rev. Haven O. Anderson (Sister Quanda Anderson).

The 8,874 square foot edifice (Sanctuary, Offices and Fellowship Room) was dedicated July 3, 1994.  Further expansion include the Education Wing, dedicated January 23, 2005. In 1998, Marvin celebrated its 100th Anniversary at a wonderful dinner with 300 guests at the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our 110th Celebration was held July 26/27, 2008 and included music and fellowship with the neighboring Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. This too, serves as another reflection of neighbors coming together in honor of God, family and friends.