For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. — Jeremiah 29:11
The complete history of Mt. Carmel A.M.E. Church could fill a volume of books.
The idea of the Church began in 1864-65 as a society organized by Theophilus Gould Steward, Rev. James Lynch, Richard Harvey Cain and other Missionaries. After the Civil War, in 1873, a mission Church called St. Paul A.M.E. Church was constructed at Harvey’s Branch and Simpson’s Crossing (the railroad crossing near Hodge Podge/the USAF Recreation Area) in Berkeley County.
Everything went well for almost 20 years, and then a storm swept through the area and destroyed the building. Not to be discouraged, the members of the Church made plans to rebuild and soon the building was completed. By this time, the congregation had grown considerably, and there was a need to have a minister more than once a month. This request was made and passed in the South Carolina Annual Conference and St. Paul A.M.E. Church became a part of the Bonneau Circuit with St. Peter A.M.E., Bonneau. In 1910, the Church became a part of the newly formed Palmetto Annual Conference.
During the administration of Rev. Campbell, St. Paul was renamed in his honor, Campbell A.M.E. Church. Some of the pastors of Campbell A.M.E. Church were Rev. S.M. Hughes, Rev. H.M. Turner, Rev. J. Holman, Rev. W.W. Murray, Rev. McClam, Rev. Willie Middleton and Rev. Knox. In 1940, due to the building of the Santee-Cooper Dam, the property where Campbell A.M.E. Church was located in Bonneau was sold to the South Carolina Public Services Authority. The building was torn down and the Church was relocated adjacent to its present site, 1059 Old Black Oak Road, Santee Circle, where the parking lot currently is. Some of the lumber from the old Church was used to build the new Church.
When the Church relocated to 1059 Old Black Oak Road, the Church’s name was changed from Campbell A.M.E. to Mt. Carmel A.M.E. Rev. W.D. Williams (a carpenter), along with members and friends of the Church, built a wood-framed building. In June 1940, the property was expanded with the purchase of two acres for $150.00 from J.W. Jones. On September 2, 1941, an additional half acre was purchased from Will and Dora Glenn for $800.00.
Ministers following in Rev. W.D. Williams’ footsteps were: Rev. J.T. Broughton, Rev. C.A. Grant, Rev. Henry Cooper, Rev. G.L. Baylor, Rev. Leroy Jackson, and Rev. W.C. Gadson.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the present Mt. Carmel Church was held on Sunday, March 9, 1970. On Sunday, September 6, 1970, the Corner Stone was dedicated. Rev. Arnett C. Keitt was appointed pastor of Mt. Carmel on December 6, 1972. The new building was completed on November 18, 1973. The following men of God pastored the Church following Rev. Keitt: Rev. Herbert Shepherd, Rev. Eddie McClary, Rev. George Fashion (interim) and Rev. Remus Harper, Jr.
After being certain of God’s guidance and direction, Reverend Andrew Ray Adams II, of Goose Creek was called in November 2016 to pastor and lead the Church. Since Pastor Adam’s tenure began, he has expanded the services of both the usher board and the hospitality ministry, begun the process of publishing the Church’s first multi-media website, and installed within the Church, a new state-of-the-art speaker system. In addition, Pastor Adams is also spearheading the Church’s efforts to establish the Mt. Carmel Community Development Foundation, a non-profit foundation whose goal is to establish summer school camps for students in grades K-12 for the academic development of the young people within the community. In all of this, Pastor Adams intends to lead Mt. Carmel to greater heights in ministering to the total person spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally by spreading the word of God.
We remain excited to see what God does next at Mt. Carmel A.M.E.!