SHANNON – Church has long been a staple of Southern culture. For generations, people have flocked to their respective places of worship for praise and fellowship.
As such, there are churches that have been around for years. However, how many can say that they are 145 years old?
Well, that is exactly what Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Shannon is doing.
Johnson Chapel celebrated their 145 year anniversary on Sunday, Sep. 1. Reverend Dr. Nollen Elzie of Zion Springs M.B. Church in Okolona was the guest pastor for the celebration.
The church has a fascinating history as well.
According to information provided by the church, it was built in the early 1870’s. The church was started by a group of worshipers who alternated having services in their houses.
Eventually, their numbers became so large that they could no longer manage services in their homes. They then set out in search of a new place of worship. Thus, Johnson Chapel was born...at least the idea anyway.
After searching, they found a man named Richard Johnson who owned a substantial amount of land. Upon request from the congregation, they were allowed to build a church on land donated by Johnson. That is where the church got its name, and Johnson Chapel was officially born.
The original deacons of the church were Cap Clark, Sam Hershey, Paul Shack and Willis Allison. The original pastor was Reverend Jerry Cummings.
The members of Johnson Chapel met at this church for a few years, but then a property dispute arose with a neighbor who claimed the church was “Making too much noise and disturbing his family.” A fence was placed around the location, and the church was forced to move.
That’s when the church landed where it is today. The members of the church were allowed to tear the building down and transport the lumber to the new site for constructing the new building. In 1942 the building burned, but they rebuilt.
In 1972, they began construction on the current building. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s the church made great progress toward becoming a modern house of worship. They added a new fellowship hall, storage space, PA system, copier and a church bus. They also incorporated vacation Bible school into the church’s ministry.
Johnson Chapel has a rich history, and the current congregation hopes to continue to add to it for years to come.
“For the last 27 years I’ve had the Blessed privilege of Pastoring Johnson Chapel MB Church in Shannon, Ms,” said Pastor Marvin J. McWhorter Sr. “It is my belief that God has sustained this church through the prayers of the membership as well as the Pastor. His word declares that ‘If His people who are called by His name (Christians), would humble themselves and pray.’ We teach that in all things, prayer has to precede all matters concerning the church.”
The current deacons of the church are Henry Gardner, Tom H. Lyles, Amos Atkinson, Eugene Partlow, Carl Trice, Robert Birks, Charles Trice, Cecil Dilworth, Mchale Joiner, Lee Neal and John Armour.
The current pastors are Marvin J. McWhorter, Senior Pastor, Reverend Carl Dabbs, Associate Pastor, Dr. Tillmon Calvert, Associate Pastor, Reverend Ricky Pratt, Associate Pastor and Reverend Kelsey Trice, Associate Pastor.