Greater Bethel AME celebrates 118 years

Gigi Tinsley | 3/20/2014, 9 a.m.
Building a church in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination was planted in the minds and hearts of a small group ...
100 years

From January 1988-2001, Rev. John White was pastor. “The explosive growth and transformation of Greater Bethel was a phenomenon,” according to records. The entire church was renovated, new furniture installed, an organ and grand piano was purchased, and an elevator was also installed. White is currently the Bishop of the 16th and 18th District of the A.M.E. Church.

December 1, 2001- 03 the 21st pastor for GBAME was sent in the person of Rev. Dwayne K. Gaddis. He provided continual leadership to the array of ministries.

The new Bishop of the Eleventh Episcopal District, The Rt. Rev. McKinley Young assigned Rev. Milton Broomfield as the 22nd pastor. He merged several of the boards and clubs and was instrumental in strengthening the financial structure.

Since its beginning, GBAME has included some of Miami’s most prominent Black residents. On April 17, 1992 GBAME was added to the National Register of National Places.

December 1, 2007-10 Rev. Samuel E. Sullivan and his family “brought to the church a new perspective.” December 2010-13, Rev. Eddie Lake was appointed pastor of GBAME. He is described as “a spiritually energized leader.”

The Rt. Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson, sent Rev. Willie J. Cook to lead the flock in 2013. His focus is on the ministries and the budget. The members say, “We know the best is yet to come.”

Cook is a product of Lakeland, FL. He graduated from Florida A.& M. University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management in 1976; Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA and earned the Master of Divinity Degree in Biblical Studies with honors.

Before coming to GBAME he was the senior pastor of the Historic Allen Temple AME Church in Tampa, FL.

Sunday, March 9th was celebration day at Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In addition to the beautiful prayers, singing, the deliverance of God’s word, by Cook and the scrumptious dinner, just the renewing of old friendships and making of new ones would have been enough to please the founder and pioneers.