THE HISTORY OF PRICE CHAPEL AME CHURCH 1947 - PRESENT
At the age of 80, Reverend John Wesley Price received an assignment to an AME Church in Riverside, California in 1947. Because of his age, he felt he could not undertake the long commute on a regular basis. Concerned about his inability to provide proper spiritual guidance, he refused the appointment. He spent weeks praying for spiritual guidance. After much deliberation and many tears, he asked five Christian friends to meet in his home for weekly prayer meetings. During these meetings, he expressed a desire to start a mission church in Los Angeles. Bishop Noah Williams granted him permission to start a mission church. Reverend Price held the first meeting of the new mission at his home. Twenty-six people attended the first service held on September 17, 1947. In January 1948, Price Chapel moved into its first building located at 425 East Vernon Avenue (the corner of Vernon Avenue and Crocker Street). After seeing his vision fulfilled, he retired (superannuated) at the 1952 Annual Conference.
Reverend V.L. Brenson served as the second pastor of Price for three years. The third pastor, Rev. Ralph R. King led the congregation to purchase its second edifice located at 43rd and San Pedro from Second AME Church for $32,000.00. Reverend Jerry Ford served as pastor for nine years than after. Reverend A. Lee Henderson paid off the church mortgage during his tenure. In 1968, during the mid-year meeting, the Bishop assigned Rev. Felix Dancy to Price Chapel. Under the leadership of Rev. D.V. Kyle, the church purchased the first parsonage after being appointed pastor in 1969. Reverend Julius Blaine Brooks served as Pastor from 1971-1973. Unfortunately, during the early morning hours on August 23, 1973, a fire destroyed the church. So when Reverend Matthew Watley received the appointment to pastor Price Chapel, no church building existed. Under his pastoral guidance, coupled with unyielding faith, he led the congregation to its current site at 4000 West Slauson Avenue, in Los Angeles, California. During Rev. Watley’s five years of service, Reverend Harriet Gaunt (Associate Minister) presented an anvil (the symbol of African Methodism) to Price Chapel from her father, a blacksmith. The anvil stands in front of the church today making it the first church west of the Mississippi River in possession of an authentic anvil.
In 1978, the late Reverend P. Albert Williams served as pastor with the late Presiding Elder J. Austell Hall serving in 1979 as the interim pastor. With his appointment in July 1980, Reverend Leslie Raphael White holds the distinction of being the youngest pastor (age 25) serving at Price Chapel. Reverend Cheivene Jones followed Rev. White, who served three years. Reverend Benjamin Thomas, the second youngest pastor followed Rev. Jones. Rev. Thomas served seven years at Price Chapel. Other pastors serving at Price Chapel include the late Reverends Milton Green, Stanley Harris, and Emmanuel Coates. Under Reverend Timothy O. Coston, the church paid off a second mortgage. Under Reverend Donnell O. Miles, the church purchased a bus, van, and color copier. Under Rev. Elmer Redding, Sr., Price Chapel made major improvements to the church, parsonage, and other property. Rev. Alexander introduced the church to meaningful community involvement through his ambassadorship with the Red Cross and our “Moments of Praise” broadcast. The retired Rev. Benjamin Hollins served as pastor of Price from 2014 to 2020.
As of October 2020, Rev. Jeffery Clark serves as the shepherd of Price Chapel AME Church; and as Price Chapel AME Church launches into the next dimension of inclusive Christian service, we welcome our latest pastor. We are indeed ready for a new commencement as the church on the corner of Alviso and Slauson elevates to a new domain of excellence and greatness.
Price Chapel is blessed to make its 75th Anniversary. We’ve come this far by faith and the benevolent blessings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Price Chapel’s light shines bright from the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. We proudly proclaim our survival and existence for another year. Thank you, heavenly Father for keeping and blessing us. To God be the Glory for the great things he has done and will do for Price Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.