THIS IS THE STORY OF OUR BIRTH - By Mrs. Sharon E. Staples
Presiding Elder Coleman and South District Name New Church – Mayo
Under the creative and imaginative genius of Bishop J. Haskell Mayo, the meticulous guidance of Presiding Elder David C. Coleman, Jr., the committed leadership of Pastor Joseph James, and the enthusiastic encouragement of Mrs. Theodora Mayo another African Methodist Congregation has been born:
Mayo African Methodist Episcopal Church
20839 Homeland Road
Matteson, Illinois 60443
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of age.” Matthew 28:19-20
And so it was with the “Great Commission” in mind in January of 1990, under Elder David C. Coleman, Jr., that a series of organizational meetings were held to determine the feasibility of establishing an African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southwestern suburbs.
On January 6, 1990, the first meeting was held at Thornton Township High School. Present at the meeting were Presiding Elder Coleman and five others: Rev. Thomas E. Cooper, Arnette Chapel; Rev. Joseph M. James, Jr., Mrs. Geneva B. Coleman, Mrs. Ruth E. James and Mrs. Sharon Staples.
Rev. Coleman expressed the need for a new church and Rev. James spoke of his vision to fill that need. Rev. Cooper said he would help in any way he could and offered to loan some officers from Arnett to help get the new work started. Mrs. Coleman, Mrs. James, and Mrs. Staples pledged their support, time, and talents.
Encouraged by survey data and personal knowledge of the area, the group proceeded to consider the enormous task before them. After having been blessed to locate a church site, they gathered a commitment from a core of faithful people. A final decision was then made to go forward.
GOD’S WORK BEGINS…
And so it was a faithful Saturday morning in February of 1990 that the Fourth Episcopal District Bishop, the Rt. Rev. James Haskell Mayo met with Presiding Elder Coleman and Rev. James. They toured the proposed church facilities and discussed plans to establish a church in Matteson, Illinois. Bishop Mayo immediately saw and recognized the potential for growth.
On Sunday, March 4, 1990, Mayo A.M.E. church began worshiping at the Holiday Inn, Matteson, while negotiations for the historic first worship service launched the beginning of Mayo African Methodist Episcopal Church. Proud ushers, Mrs. Iona Madison and Mr. Bob Harding greeted members, friends, and guests warmly. The acolytes, Jeffrey and James Staples stood before he altar to light candles.
The Steward, Mrs. Elaine Haynes and trustees. Attorney Diedre L. Wasp, Mr. Joshua Peebles, Jr., and Dr. Eugene Speller took their seats. Mayo’s Pastor, Rev. James led the congregation in the call to worship and Presiding Elder Coleman delivered the message.
Mayo’s newly organized choir rendered spirit- filled music. First Lady, Mrs. Ruth James served as musician and Mrs. Georgia Harding as choir president. Other choir members included Mrs. Kathleen Jackson, Mrs. Thelma speller, Mrs. Sharon Staples, Mr. Fred Staples III.
Mayo African Methodist Episcopal Church
Members of Mayo A.M.E. Church worshiped at the Holiday Inn for exactly one year while negotiations for the church continued.
On Sunday, March 3, 1991, Mayo moved into its new home at 20839 Homeland Road, Matteson, Illinois.
Three weeks later, on Palm Sunday, March 24, 1991, church leaders from across the Fourth District traveled to Mayo for a worship and praise service. Attending this service were: Bishop Mayo and Mrs. Mayo, Presiding Elder Coleman and Mrs. Coleman, South District; Presiding Elder Miller, North District; Presiding Elder Davis, St. Paul-Milwaukee District; and numerous other pastors and their wives and congregations.
In the sixteen months that Mayo has been established, Mayo’s pastor, Rev. James had developed an outstanding preaching, teaching, and outreach ministry. In the six months we have been in our new building, a fine Sunday School and Day Care Center have been started under his direction.
Rev. James appointed first Lady, Mrs. James as director of the Commission on Christian Education. The Commission is the lifeline of many of Mayo’s activities and through the hard work of the Commission Board, Mayo’s first Vacation Bible School was held on July 27, 1991. The Board has also organized a Scholarship Committee, a newsletter and many youth and adult education programs.
Mayo held its first Revival during the week of August 25-30. Speakers were Rev. Cornelius Hayes, Bethel, Chicago; Rev. Thomas Cooper, Arnette Chapel; Sis. Latonya Haggins, Wayman; Rev. Cotton Assoc., Grant; Rev. E. A. Hawkins, St. James; and Rev. Basil Foley, Jr., Carey Tecentenary. Our souls were revived by the message that each speaker brought and our hearts were uplifted by the songs the choirs from our sister churches sang.