A Family Reaching Up, Reaching Out, Reaching Together

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It came to pass late in the year of our Lord 1919, that a small group of devout Christians, under the leadership of the late Reverends J.U. Gums and J. Morris were filled with the desire to start a second A.M.E. Church in Boston, Mass. They began worshipping in a building at 78 Lenox Street in the South End, later holding services in the Shawmut Congregational Church, Tremont and Brookline Streets.

In 1920, the late Bishop William Heard appointed the late Rev. J.S. Myrick as pastor, that a church building was purchased at 135 Vernon Street, Roxbury, MA The Church was incorporated as the Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1949, the Rev. D. Ward Nichols, under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. James Crichton, burned the church mortgage. The first parsonage was purchased at 250 Cabot Street, Roxbury, MA in 1952, under the pastorate of Rev. John Lee. During the administration of the Rev. A. McNeil White, this property had to be torn down and a new parsonage was purchased at 4 Fountain Street, Roxbury, MA.

On November 2, 1952, God caused the membership of Grant Church to see with prophetic vision that the site of the Church should be on its present location, 1906 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA. This was accomplished under the pastorate of the Rev. Vernon Carter.

Then the church embarked on darker days. There was little money to carry the mortgage burden. However, God raised a young giant, the Rev. Robert L. Pruitt and sent him to pastor Grant. With determination and great zeal, Pastor Pruitt gave himself to the task of leading the people out of the wilderness of trouble. The people took heart, worked and sacrificed toward paying the mortgage. The day finally came during his pastorate for the burning of the mortgage by Bishop John D. Bright, Sr.

In June 1966, God sent Grant Church a new leader, the Rev. William Cody. Shortly thereafter, a fire swept through the sanctuary doing more than $47,000 worth of damage. So the people arose and said, “Let us rebuild a great cathedral to our God, with beauty. Pastor Cody, with the wisdom of Solomon and the faith of David, led the people in a successful remodeling and renovation program at an economical advantage to the church, even though a mortgage had to be incurred. (Among those who rallied to our aid was Bishop J.D. Bright, Sr. with a gift of $500.00 and the Rev. Walter C. Davis). Under Pastor Cody’s direction a parsonage, at 77 Mountain Ave., Dorchester was acquired.

In 1972, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Godly judgment of the late Bishop John Douglas Bright, Sr., he sent to us Rev. Joseph Robinson. During his administration, there was a spiritual awakening within the Church family. The membership increased and spirits were once again renewed. The mortgage was paid in full and extensive changes were made to beautify the church.

In 1978, The Rev. Leodis Strong became the pastor of Grant, under his guidance and leadership many changes were made to enhance the spiritual life of the church. A new piano and church van were purchased, and the lower offices were refurbished.

In October 1982, Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand appointed Rev. Roland C. McCall, pastor; with him came a great renewal in the spirit of the church, and a practical movement toward its physical improvement and social outreach were also achieved. Great strides were made under his leadership, extensive interior and exterior renovations, as well as the purchase of new pulpit and pew furniture. Financial obligations and extensive indebtedness were alleviated, and under the inspiration of the Bishop Frank C. Cummings, a self-help food program was developed.

For over 90 years, the Grant A.M.E. Church family has followed under the leadership of many great pastors. She has been a beacon of light throughout the Boston and the African Methodist communities with faith and trust in God, that light will continue to shine.