Sixteen years after the death of The Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, the Founding Father and first elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, St. Peter Chapel, St. Louis was established. The history of our Zion began in 1847, when a small group of people living in North St. Louis, who had been attending what was then St. Paul Chapel A.M.E. Church, decided to look for a place of worship in the area where they lived. Under the leadership of their first pastor, The Rev. Spottswood Rice, they first met at the home of Mrs. Jane Turner, to begin organizing the second A.M.E. Church west of the Mississippi River.
A building was secured on the southwest corner of Elliot and Montgomery Street. One room was used for services and the other for a parsonage. A church was finally erected on the site in 1866. After the building was destroyed by several storms, the members held services in Number Five School (later known as Banneker and Montgomery Schools) until they could build again. In 1871, the church name was listed for the very first time in the St. Louis Directory as ST. PETER CHAPEL (Colored). Finally, the church was relocated to Elliot and Montgomery, and a much larger edifice was built.
In the early years, the following have served as pastors at St. Peter: Rev. Floyd Grand Snelson, Rev. J. C. Brewster, Rev. Jessie L. Boyd, Spottwood Rice, J. I. Lowe, Hawkins, Dove, Preston, Alexander, Duke, Dickson, Madison, Watson, Steward, Beale, Thurman, C. N. Douglas, R. L. Phillips, A. J. Russell, Martin, S. S. Pitcher, Roscoe Henderson, C. W. Newton, Riley, Bean, J. L. Williams, M. M. Matthews, G. E. Horsey, H. L. Vaughn, F. L. Whitlock, H. C. Cummings, Rev. Grady Brown.
HISTORIC TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
1962 – The Rev. James. H. Oxley moved the church to its current location at the corner of Margaretta and Shreve.
1966 – The Rev. C. Garnett Henning was appointed Pastor of St. Peter. As pastor and community leader he led in the various organizations that help to facilitate the protest, sit-ins, and public demonstrations of the era. His work as social justice pastor made both he and St. Peter the center for black social thought and change in the community.
1974 – Under the leadership of The Rev. Calvin McMillian and The Rev. Harry S. Davis, the mortgage was paid off in November.
1975 – The official burning of the mortgage was officiated by The Rt. Rev. Harrison J. Bryant, Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District in May
1976 – The Rev. Cyrus S. Keller – At the 133rd Anniversary, a motorcade processed to the old church site at Elliot and Montgomery, where the cornerstone was removed and placed in our present building.
1982 – The Rev. J. R. Williams – Under his leadership the J. R. Williams Nursing Unit was organized. The church acquired a new organ and piano, the kitchen and educational building were renovated, and a new roof was added.
1984 – The Rev. Norman Copeland – The renovation of the parsonage was completed, and the Inspirational Choir was organized under his leadership.
1985 – The Rev. Cheviene Jones – His love and appreciation of music helped the Inspirational Choir to grow immensely.
1988 – The Rev. William Franklin Dancy – The lower level of the church, now known as Dancy Hall, was renovated and the church became more involved in the community. Two parking lots were acquired to accommodate the growing membership.
1994 – The Rev. Sylvester Laudermill, Jr. – Under his leadership, the membership purchased and fully furnished a manse, completed renovation of meeting rooms in the Educational Building, installed a disability lift, purchased a new van, installed new air conditioning and furnace units for the Church, fully renovated the Sanctuary and Dancy Hall, and purchased a new organ in memory of Eva Bolar Fisher.
2004 – The Rev. Anthony S. Steele had a deep concern for families and relationships. A marriage ministry was started.
2007 – The Rev. Brenda J. Hayes, the first female pastor to St. Peter A.M.E. Church was assigned by Bishop John R. Bryant. Under her leadership, the Mid-Week Noon Bible Study grew immensely, and St. Peter Church serviced three 12-step programs. Three television monitors were installed to enhance our worship service and assist our seniors in participating more in the service.
2012 – The Rev. Joseph C. Nixon was assigned to St. Peter Bishop T. Larry Kirkland in October 2012. St. Peter AME Church membership hosted the 159th Session of the Missouri Annual Conference, in October 2013. September 5-7, the Women’s Ministry hosted a Women’s Retreat: Women Moving to Another Place in God…A Place Called NEXT!”
2014 – The Rev. Steven D. Shepard, Sr., was appointed as the proud pastor of the Saint Peter, in November 2014, where he provided nurturing, spiritual pastoral leadership. He set up a faith-based partnership with Hickey Elementary School, recognizing over 30 children, youth and adults. Several special days being observed: veterans on Memorial Day weekend, celebrated the women of St. Peter during Woman’s History Month, and had a special service recognizing our men during Black Lives Matter Sunday. Incorporated a Men’s Prayer Breakfast and participated in our first Easter Egg Hunt, in conjunction with St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, another church in our community.