It all started when…
THE WILLIAMS MISSION 1950 - 1952
On November 5, 1950, a small group of Christians – Raymond and Eunice Johnson along with their foster daughters, Loretta and Geneva Judkins; Bertha Greer; Henry and Henrietta Bradley; and Mary L. Green – had a vision of a place to worship in the community of Chapel Oaks, Maryland. This small group first met in the home of Sis. Katie Williams at 61st and Sheriff Road in Chapel Oaks, Maryland and it was in her honor that the mission was named – The Williams Mission. Although this group was small in number, there was a spirit of strength and determination to have a place to worship in the Chapel Oaks community.
In early 1951 the mission was moved to the home of Mrs. Mary L. Green at 1105 57th Place, Chapel Oaks, Maryland. In the new setting, the following persons became members: Gladys Taylor, Samuel and Hannah Carr, Lucy Hart, Charles Green, Henry L. McDonald, Alfonso L. Sutton, Rosa Gause, Clarence and Georgia Lindsay, Gertrude Lane, Dorothy Hosley, and several others. These persons, along with the previously named members, were charter members of The Williams Mission. In the spring of 1951, Bishop Lawrence H. Hemingway, the presiding prelate of the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, appointed Reverend Raymond P. Harrison as pastor to Williams Mission.
HEMINGWAY’S EARLY YEARS 1952 - 1972
After Williams Mission was incorporated on August 22, 1952, it was renamed Hemingway Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in honor of Bishop Hemingway. The first building committee was organized during this time and $500 was raised. This amount was matched by Bishop Lawrence Hemingway. The “Ground Breaking Ceremony” for the new church was held in late 1952 and the congregation held its first service in the church in May of 1954. Hemingway Memorial was the first church to be built in the newly established Washington Conference and it hosted the Washington Annual Conference for one day on May 5, 1954. Rev. Harrison served faithfully and worked diligently as pastor of Hemingway Memorial until he was assigned to another church in May 1956. Reverend Temperance Wright served a short term as pastor in 1956 and was followed by Reverend George W. Baber, Jr., who was the pastor from 1956 to 1958. Reverend Joseph Louis Young was assigned to Hemingway Memorial and served from 1958 to 1960 and then Reverend James R. Gibson, 1960 – 1972.
1972 - 2005
Reverend Dr. William Robert Porter was assigned to Hemingway Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in April 1972 and served until his retirement in April 2005. His family - wife, Sis. Doris, and four daughters, Dr. Robin Smith, Dionne Luckett, Darian Jones, and Rev. Dana Ashton, accompanied him to his new assignment. Rev. Porter was ambitious, energetic, enthusiastic, and imbued with the Holy Spirit. Under his leadership and his vision for kingdom building, numerous people joined the church, new ministries and programs were added or reactivated.
On January 15, 1975, the church mortgage was liquidated and a “Mortgage Burning” was held on March 16, 1975. Rev. Porter had the Deed of Trust recorded in the name of Hemingway Memorial A.M.E. Church of the Washington Conference. Hemingway’s membership has impacted not only the lives of its members but it has also impacted the surrounding communities because of the church’s commitment to God’s work in Prince George’s County and the Washington Metropolitan Area.
On June 22, 1999, Hemingway purchased property on Gateway Boulevard as an interim site for worship and ministry to accommodate the church’s growing congregation. After fully renovating the building and tailoring it to meet the needs of the many ministries, Hemingway Memorial A.M.E. Church relocated to 6330 Gateway Boulevard, District Heights, Maryland on Palm Sunday, April 16, 2000. After 33 years of pastoral ministry at Hemingway Memorial, Rev. William Robert Porter retired on April 17, 2005, during the Washington Conference Annual Conference.
2005 - 2018
In May 2005, the Reverend Samuel E. Hayward, III was appointed to serve as pastor of Hemingway Memorial A.M.E. Church by Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson. Rev. Hayward and his family—Rev. Althea J. Hayward, (Pastor’s partner in ministry) and their two daughters, Kimberly and Rev. Kristina —were lovingly embraced by the members of Hemingway Memorial. Hemingway Memorial A.M.E. Church experienced intensive, spiritual growth and development under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Hayward. He was a dynamic, spirit-filled, and anointed preacher and teacher.
2018 - Present
May 2018 was a transition period for Hemingway Memorial African Methodist Episcopal. Presiding Prelate of the Second Episcopal District, Bishop James Levert Davis, at the Western North Carolina Annual Conference elevated and assigned Pastor Hayward to serve as Presiding Elder of the Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke District in the Virginia Conference. This, of course, led to a pastoral vacancy at Hemingway Memorial.
And on May 27, 2018, the members of Hemingway Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church eagerly received their historic, dynamic, newly-assigned pastor, Rev. Sheleta E. Fomby – as she not only accepted HER FIRST pastorate, but also as she became the FIRST female to serve as pastor of Hemingway Memorial A.M.E. Church. The members of Hemingway Memorial love God and eagerly stand ready to go to higher heights!