God has truly blessed the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church with a rich history. FAME proudly embraces all residents of the Northern Virginia community and is excited about the future as well as the past. Since 1985 FAME Church has been “Answering the Call to Worship, Praise and Service”. For the past 28 years FAME Church has provided vital ministries to meet the needs of its members, the community and "the body of Christ"
In 1985, God placed in the heart of the Right Reverend John Hurst Adams, Presiding Prelate of the Second Episcopal District, the dream and vision of a facility in the Northern Virginia area. From Richmond, Virginia to Washington, D.C. there was no AME Church. Bishop Adams sent Rev. William H. Johnson, Sr. to the area to establish a mission church. On September 22, 1985, FAME Church held its first service at the VFW Hall located at 9304 Centreville Road, Manassas, Virginia establishing the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Northern Virginia. Five persons joined the church at the first worship service.; "Helen Ames, Donald Bell, Sr., Valerie Bell, Derrick Bell and Donald Bell, Jr." Under the guidance and leadership of Rev. Johnson and Presiding Elder Walter L. Hildebrand the church was carefully organized. The offices of Stewards, Trustees, and Stewardesses were filled along with the creation of a Sunday School, Choir, Usher Board and Missionary Society. Within the first year the membership had grown to 40 members. Helen Ames was selected “Mother of the Church” for her dedication and support of the new church.
In 1987, FAME Church was blessed with the appointment of Rev. Alphonso McGlen as the second Pastor. Rev. McGlen led the effort to acquire a larger rental facility for the worship service. On the first Sunday in September 1987, FAME Church held service at 9212 Lee Avenue, Manassas, Virginia. Under Rev. McGlen leadership the Chancel Choir, Lay Organization, and the Sons of Allen were organized. The first Women Retreat was held, a Scholarship Fund was established to provide support for graduating seniors continuing their education and FAME instituted noonday worship services. Significantly, in 1987, through the dedication of the members and the leadership, FAME Church purchased six acres of land on South Grant Avenue in Manassas, Virginia which was to become the home of FAME future edifice.
In 1990, Rev. Dana Swann was assigned as the third pastor to FAME. Under his leadership the Media Ministry, Prison Ministry and renewed emphasis on the Stewardship Ministry were established. The six acres of land purchased in 1987 was also paid in full. FAME Church extended its support to the community by supporting victims of Hurricane Hugo, and the Haitian Relief Project through the Service and Development Agency. Also, Colonel Ulysses X White (Charter Member) was honored as a result of his election as a member of the Manassas City Council, the first African American elected to this council.
Rev. Godfrey R. Patterson became the fourth pastor of FAME in 1992. Under his administration, FAME Church started an Evening Service, initiated programs addressing the needs of the youth and formalized the recognition of Black Accomplishments as part of the Morning Worship Services.
Rev. Ronald A. Boykin led FAME Church since December 1993. He positioned FAME Church to be a leader in responding to the spiritual, social and educational needs for the youth and adults not only in FAME but also in the community. FAME created a spiritual network which ministers to senior citizens, youth, and those in need in the community. FAME Church established ministries that address the Health and Fitness of its members, Singles Ministry, Couples Ministry, and Women Prisoner Ministry.
In May 1994, FAME Church held the groundbreaking ceremony for the Worship Facility at 10313 S. Grant Avenue, Manassas Virginia. Bishop Frederick C. James delivered the morning message and gave the groundbreaking address. On March 12, 1995, FAME Church moved the present site on S. Grant Ave. FAME Church also purchased ten acres of land adjacent to the church to service the future needs of the community. In 2001 a bus was purchased to facilitate the church’s ability to extend its ministry to those in the community and other churches in the surrounding areas.
In 2007, FAME Church completed the construction of a two-story education wing to the church facility and it was dedicated on September 2, 2007. This additional space has helped to accommodate the expansion of ministries and better equip FAME for the Call to Worship; answering the call to Worship, Praise and Service.
On May 4,2014, Rev. Tony D. Boone was appointed our sixth Pastor, starting a new era of ministry for First A.M.E. Church of Manassas. His dynamic leadership has positioned FAME for relevant and transformational ministry to meet the needs of 21st Church. It is our mission "To transform lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we empowered to serve our families, church and community, all for the glory of God".
On April 22, 2016, Rev. Etoria V. Goggins was appointed the seventh Pastor of First A.M.E. Church. Rev. Goggins introduced us to our new mission "Loving Like Christ, Living Like Christ, Leading Like Christ" by leading the congregation in 40 days of church wide prayer and a 21 day Financial fast. Her dynamic preaching coupled with a warm, inviting spirit will position First A.M.E. Church to continue to be a beacon in the Manassas community.
For additional information
Visit the website of the National A.M.E. Church for the History of the A.M.E. Church.