Who we are….
We are a bible believing and bible teaching institution where Jesus is Lord.
How we started….
The record of the church’s humble foundation begins in 1894 when a group of neighbors, began cutting down trees, clearing land, and building a church on land donated to the Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on September 19, 1891 by the Biggs family. Brock Bridge Road in Jessup, Maryland became the home of Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church. Built from its physical foundation by persons who were not carpenters, masons or builders; instead all farmers and community members coming together to create a place of worship. We stand on the backs of our founders and celebrate them, many of whom still have family ties to our church.
On March 29, 1895, an 18×25 foot structure was erected and the cornerstone was laid. The church was named after Bishop Daniel Payne and has served in the community as a place dedicated to lifting up Jesus Christ and serving the community.
Founders by surname in alphabetical order: Allen, Colbert, Eades, Gaither, Hebron, Keys, King, Nicholson and Turner
The oral history handed down through the years records early memories of a pastor named Reverend Crawford; Mrs. Bessie Gaither, a Sunday school teacher; Mother Nancy Allen, Mother Ellen Allen, Mother Nora Gaither and Mrs. Lula Hebron.
The historical record of Payne Memorial’s pastoral assignments is not complete. Our former pastors, to our knowledge, were the Reverends Douglas, Crawford, Shellman, Bailey, Purnell, Green, McQueen, Terrell, Holmes, Tindall, Holt, Bell, Leak, Taylor and Hines. Their years of service were not recorded. Below is a list of the pastors assigned to Payne Memorial since 1981.
- 1981 – 1984 Bishop Harry L. Seawright
- 1984 – 1985 Reverend Earnest L. Montague
- 1985 – 1991 Reverend E. Compton Jonas
- 1991 – 2001 Reverend Deloris A. B. Prioleau
- 2001 – 2004 Reverend R. Hamilton Crump
- 2004 – 2020 Reverend Wanda E. London
- 2020 – 2022 Reverend Latisha Thomas Cokely
- 2022 – Present Reverend Dr. Falecia Williams
Here we grow….
While the work of ministry has experienced transformation over the years, so has the physical structure. Initially built as a one room structure heated by a single pot belly stove in the middle of the church, the building was remodeled in 1956. In 1974, a brick addition and basement were added. In 1980, the old foundation received a facelift and was updated to brick. In 1981, the dining area and plumbing was added. In 1982, under the pastorate of Reverend Harry L. Seawright, the church was rededicated as two indoor restrooms were added to the facility. From 1983 – 1984, there was continued growth and upgrades to the sanctuary and the face of the building; new stained-glass windows were installed; the church received a new glass front along with a ramp at the front to accommodate persons with disabilities; the parking lot was updated to a blacktop; three exterior doors were added along with the installation of a stove in the fellowship hall space located in the basement.
In 1984 amongst the updates and renovations taking place, Payne Memorial A.M.E. under the leadership of, Reverend E. Compton purchased 5.5 acres of land on the south side of the church from the state of Maryland for expansion. In 1990, the sanctuary was remolded by the KMS Construction Company who later donated one acre of land on the north side of the current building.
The congregation, sustained by God’s love and power, continued to serve the community and its congregation as ministries were developed to meet the needs of a changing congregation and community. Ministries to enhance family life – Women’s and Men’s Fellowship ministries – along with married couples and singles ministries were developed. Ministries to enhance fine arts and worship were developed in the Liturgical Dance and Drama ministries and later a Mime ministry.
Work began in 2002 to organize and establish a Community Development Corporation (CDC) to expand the outreach ministry of the church, mainly performed by the Glendora Sledge Women’s Missionary Society. To that end in 2009, under the leadership of Reverend Wanda E. London, Payne Lighthouse Community Development Corporation became an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with a mission to provide social, education and economic services to the community.
While working to expand ministry and outreach, an opportunity to expand facilities was realized. In October 2010, after 3 years of negotiations and partnering with Corporate Office Properties Trust Development Corporation (COPT), Reverend London and the Board of Trustees led the congregation in a leap of faith and finalized the sale of a portion of the church’s property to COPT, who had plans to develop an office park just beyond the property line of the church. During this three-year period of negotiations, Payne paid off a second mortgage previously taken on the church’s property. On November 7, 2010, as the church celebrated its 116th Anniversary, Payne burned a mortgage note that was paid off during the summer of the same year; and celebrated moving from debt to preparing to enlarge the Kingdom of God.
One hundred twenty-seven (127) years following its birth, Payne Memorial is now under new servant-leadership and continues standing on the promise of God and believing that “The Best is Yet to Come” (I Corinthians 2:9)!