Greater Gordon Chapel
African Methodist Episcopal Church
On August 17, 1882, one acre of land was given by E.R. Beaty and C.D. Burgonus to J.M. Lesene, Thomas Nesbit, Hector Chisholm, Towell Rutledge and Rev. A. Gordon to build a meeting house for the “colored” people in the Laurel Hill section of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
The church was first called Laurel Hill A.M.E. Church. The name was changed to Gordon Chapel by Rev. A. Gordon, who was sent to be the pastor from the Pious Hill Circuit. Today, we can truly say that we’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.”
The original church had a balcony for the choir members (Napolean Myers, Tom Collins, Redmond Frazier, Anna Holmes…) who could be heard for what seemed liked miles. The church was heated by a black pot-belly wood burning heater and our descendants cooled themselves by hand fans and heisting the windows. Their sources of light were oil lamps and water was drawn from a hand pump to wash communion glasses and the pastor’s hands. The facilities used were an outside lavatory. The original church was torn down during the pastorate of Rev. George E. Washington. We’ve heard stories of how the bell was stolen during this time. The bell was tolled by Mr. Francis Gadsden every time a church member died. It’s not known how the current bell was acquired.
Our church has grown tremendously through its past pastors who include: Rev. A. Gordon, Rev. M. Thompson, Rev. McClam, Rev. Woodberry, Rev. Lewis, Rev. Atwood, Rev. Rivant, Rev. Perk, Rev. Green, Rev. Bryant, Rev. G.E. Washington, Rev. B.L. Williams, Rev. E.O. Simmons, Rev. Ervin Humes, and Rev. Elton N. Rutledge.
Due to improper construction of the roofing system, our congregation was forced to vacate the sanctuary. On February 6, 2000, our congregation worshipped in the old sanctuary for the last time.
On May 19, 2002, the Greater Gordon Chapel AME Church Family under the divine leadership of Rev. Ervin Humes dedicated a new building unto Christ Jesus. Through the grace and goodness of God, this church family has been granted yet another blessing to His glory.
August 22, 2005 God granted us the privilege under the leadership of Rev. Elton Rutledge to liquidate our mortgage. The members of this church joyously celebrated this blessed day. If it had not been for the Lord on our sides, none of this would have been possible.
In November 2009, Rev. Joe Canteen was appointed. He came determined and with a goal to get the people to follow Christ and not him, because he’s a servant to do God’s work. Great things are happening at Gordon Chapel under the leadership of Rev. Canteen, and WE thank our Almighty Father for Presiding Elder Coleman’s recommendation to Bishop Williams’ in appointing Rev. Canteen to Greater Gordon Chapel AME Church.
On August 25, 2012, their 37th Wedding Anniversary date, the Lord and Bishop Richard Franklin Norris sent Rev. W.C. Ervin III as pastor, along with Rev. Betty Bryant Ervin (Deceased) as First Lady. Pastor Ervin’s leadership philosophy centers on delegating authority to those who are in subordinate leadership roles. During his tenure, five new ministries started and we were able to pay off the Wilgo property debt and paid off the Ford 25 passenger bus. Rev. Ervin makes himself available as a Full Time pastor who lives here in Murrells Inlet in the Condo provided by the church.
In March of 2016, Rev. Aundry N. Evans, Sr. was appointed pastor of Greater Gordon Chapel. Along with Rev. Evans, Girletha, his wife joins the family Greater Gordon.