Wayman Temple Logo2016
The History of Wayman Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church (South),  formerly known as Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1882, a few believing and dedicated souls began what was known as “The Phillips Society.” Through the fellowship and worship stages, those faithful few felt the need to rename the Society in the Southside District of Cowford, Florida (now Jacksonville’s Southside). The decision was made to name the Society after Bishop Alexander W. Wayman, who was elected the Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference in 1864.

Among the church founders were the following members: Thomas Calhoun, Betty Griffing, Henry Harris, Amy Jones, Louise McIntosh, Zackery MnIntosh, Ben Merrit, Elizabeth Mettit, Hagga Simons, Elveria Thomas, Jim Thomas, Joseph W. Thomas, Celie Williams and John Williams.

With “progress” as its aim, the membership was honored to witness the laying of its cornerstone in 1914. Reverend R. L. Flagg was the pastor.  Brothers J. W. Roberts Sr. and R. Thomas were the Trustees. Four years later in 1918, the Church took another step; under the leadership of Reverend G. E. Curry, the structure was remolded. A house was built across the street to house the Sexton, whose primary job was to clean and shine the lantern lamps that were mounted on the frame walls, and keep the sanctuary clean.

Candles, oil lamps, wood stoves, blocks for steps, floor gas furnace, hardwood floors with cracks and a wood frame structure that has a bell mounted in the steeple (which would toll when a “soldier” had fallen on the Christian battlefield): as you can see, Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church has come a long way to reach the present edifice.  Much is due to the dedicated and committed souls who stood in the heat of the day. Though they had no “silver or gold”, what they did have, they gave.  They were believers in a God that they called on when situations appeared hopeless, and they shared a love for one another that seemed to flow from heart to heart.

When Reverend George W. Smith was appointed Pastor in 1959, Wayman Chapel took another big step. During his administration the membership came together and saw a need to tear down the old building and built a new house of worship for the glory of God.

On Sunday afternoon, September 26, 1965, Bishop E. C. Hatcher conducted the groundbreaking tires; the old Wayman was demolished and services were held at Lillian Sanders Community Center.

On the first Sunday afternoon, January 7, 1968, the procession of Clergy, City Officials, community leaders, and members and friends of Wayman, led by Presiding Elder T. E. Shehee, marched from the Lillian Sanders Community Center to the new site. This facility served the congregation and community from January 1968 until October 1997. Due to the rapidly growing congregation, Wayman Chapel needed more space and decided to purchase a larger complex.

Appointed as Pastor of Wayman Chapel in 1995, Reverend Mark L. Griffin, his wife, Dr. Cynthia Griffin, and children Whitney and Crystal Griffin joined the Wayman Chapel family and quickly began working in the ministry.

On October 5, 1997, the final service was held at the location on Wishart Street with one member joining that day, Mrs. C’Etter Sneed Gaither.  On Sunday, October 12, 1997, Reverend Mark L. Griffin led the members and friends into our new and current church home located at 8855 Sanchez Road, which sits on 8.3 acres of land that includes a Day Care Center, fenced playground area, swimming pool, recreation center and creek for fishing.


And the vision keeps growing…

Wayman Community Development formed: 1998

Wayman Chapel In-Home Day Care opened: 1996 (Treemont Street)

First Start Center Learning Center opened: October 1997 (Sanchez Road)

Church Vans purchased: Van #101 1996     Van #2 1998

Wayman Chapel Mid-Week Service began: 1998

Wayman Academy of the Arts opened: August 1999 (Sanchez Road)

Wayman Academy of the Arts moved: 2004 (Labelle Street)

First Start Learning Center renamed Wayman Early Learning Academy: 2006

25 Passenger Bus Purchased: 2006

Spirit of Life Worship Center opened with Thursday night services: January 4, 2007

Spirit of Life Worship Sunday services began: September 16, 2007

Spirit of Life Worship Center Mid-Week Services: February 2010

Transformations Car Wash: June 2010

Wayman Early Learning Academy Northside: August 2010