Quinn History

Historical Quinn Chapel, Flint Michigan


Genesee County' s Oldest African American Congregation


QUINN CHAPEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH was organized in May, 1875 in the home of Mrs. Nancy West, at the corner of Stevens Street and the Grand Trunk Railroad. Quinn Chapel was the first organized Black Church in the City of Flint.

The first Church structure was erected at 121 East 7th Street in 1876 and dedicated in 1877 under the pastorate of Rev. John Ferguson.

Quinn Chapel entertained its first Annual Conference in 1897.

The second structure was erected in 1912 with the annex being completed in 1933 under the pastorate of Rev. G. W. Baber.

Quinn Chapel continued to grow financially as well as spiritually and in 1925, the Senior Choir purchased chimes which were dedicated by the Rt. Rev. J. A. Gregg.

The present structure was begun in 1955 by Rev. James S. A. Mitcham and completed in 1961. In June, 1958, the brick masons began work on the superstructure and the corner stone was laid July 20, 1958 by the Most Worshipful Master of the Prince Hall, Grand Lodge Free and accepted Masons. Services were held, for the first time, in the superstructure on December 25, 1960. The contributions to the church were many and varied from the members and the community. In commemoration of the completion of the edifice, a weeklong dedication was held from May 21 - 28, 1961.

In July, 1962, the Emmancipation Proclamation Centennial was observed by a banquet and program, with the late Mr. Jackie Robinson as guest speaker.

Quinn Chapel hosted the Seventy-Sixth Session of the Michigan Conference of the A.M.E. Church from August 28, 1962 to September 2, 1962.

One of the most memorable occasions was the Mortgage Burning on May 8, 1966.

Nearing a century of progress, Quinn Chapel observed 93 years in 1969 with a program and Souvenir Book.

The members and organizations of Quinn Chapel have continued to strive for spiritual unity and growth.

Rev. Blame Ramsey, Jr. came to Quinn Chapel in the fall of 1973, after the retirement of our beloved late Rev. James S. A. Mitcham. Under his very capable and loyal leadership, A Centennial Pictorial Directory was compiled in 1976 to depict our Centennial Celebration, which was held in conjunction with the Nation’s bicentennial Celebration. Our year-long celebration was observed in many ways including a Founders Week which included an Awards program recognizing outstanding members of the community, the presentation of the Wilberforce University Choir, under the directorship of Mr. Gary E. Patterson. A marker, designating the original site of Quinn Chapel was placed on the lawn of Flint’s City Hall.

Rev. Ramsey was also responsible for the installation of the burglar alarm system, and began plans to renovate the kitchen. Under his pastorate, some of the organizations became involved in improving the looks of our church. The Hostess Club remodeled the Nursery and carpeting was installed in the vestibule by the Lucretia Artis Club.

Other significant events initiated by Rev. Ramsey, was the appointment and consecration of the first Consecrated Deaconesses, Mrs. Clara Brown, Mrs. Bernice Hayden and Mrs. Lenora Jackson. Our first full-time secretary, Ms. Odie Brown, was also hired by Rev. Ramsey.

Rev. Frederick D. Smith, came to Quinn Chapel in October, 1976. Rev. Smith  ably completed remodeling the kitchen, and  installed an Air Conditioning system for the comfort of us all. Rev. Smith has also overseen the carpeting of the pastor and secretary’s offices and has been responsible for the laying of a new sidewalk and the beautification of the lawn with flowers.

Quinn Chapel  purchased its first Mini-Bus under Rev. Smith’s leadership.  also seeing the need for including the Youth in the total involvement in the Church through a monthly Youth Sunday. 

Rev. Braxton Burgess was Named pastor of Quinn Chapel n 1980.  (Webmaster is compiling complete history concerning the great contributions of Braxton Burgess during his tenure)

We are deeply grateful to Rev. James Mitcham, Rev. Blame Ramsey,  Rev. Frederick Smith, Rev. Braxton Burgess. Rev. Richard Coleman, Rev. Ron Norris, Rev. Stanley U. Sims, Rev. Marcus A. Cylar and our Current Shepherd Rev. Gerald D. Cardwell who is working untiringly and most devotedly to bring us to our present status.

"The Spirit of Humility prevails as we look back over our years of vast achievements, since our inception in 1876."