About Our Pastor
Rev. Yvonne B. Simmons is one of ten children born to Mr. Charles Bonaparte and the late Mrs. Henrietta Gethers Bonaparte.
She has seven brothers and two sisters.
She is an honor graduate of C.A. Brown High School; graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Biology from Talladega University on a four year academic scholarship and is a 2009 recipient of a Master of Divinity degree from Erskine Theological Seminary.
As of Aug. 31, 2012, she is a retired Registered Medical Technologist from the Medical University of S.C.
God has blessed her to be the mother of two sons, mother-in-law of her two daughters-in-law grandmother of one grandson and three granddaughters.
She is the blessed servant pastor of St. Phillip A.M.E. Church
She has been tried by fire and can witness that the Word of God will work if you work it.
A Favorite scripture: Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
About Our Church
Most of St. Phillip’s history is lost. Much of what we know comes from “word of mouth “passed down from those who labored in this vineyard. In that same oral tradition we have also gathered information from those who are still on the battlefield in this Zion who have fifty years of service or more. It is our desire as pastor, officers and members to continue to trace our roots so our history may be written in its fullest to past on to future generations.
Richard Allen, our founder and first Bishop, along with other black worshippers protested racial segregation at the St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, P.A. After holding their own services in a blacksmith shop eventually by divine providence they were able to build Mother Bethel in Philadelphia, P.A. We are a part of these Christians of African descent who laid the foundation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1787.
This church was a part of the Maryville Circuit which included two other churches, Emanuel A. M. E.–West Ashley and Little Bethel A.M.E. (now Greater Bethel) Church James Island. The original church is said to have been built in 1867.
Some of the Presiding Bishops since 1867 include Decatur Ward Nichols, Frederick Calhoun James, John Hurst Adams, Henry L. Belin, Preston W. Williams and currently Richard Franklin Norris.
Some of the Presiding Elders included: Rev. Barnes, Rev. R. A. Leonard, Rev. Z. L. Grady (now retired Bishop) , Rev. Alonzo Middleton and currently serving is elder John H. Gillison.
If you enter the church yard from Highway 61 (Ashley River Road) when you pass through the two oak trees, the former church once stood about 6 ft. back from that entrance.
The current church edifice was built in 1963. Historically, the funeral services for PFC Ralph H. Johnson was held here at St. Phillip A.M.E. On March 5, 1968 PFC Ralph H. Johnson of the United States Marine corps gave his life in the Vietnam war. He was the grandson of Sis. Lydia Johnson, a now deceased member of St. Phillip. He was originally burial were here at St. Phillip A.M.E. church. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. His body was then exhumed and taken to the Beaufort Memorial Cemetery in Beaufort, S.C. The VA hospital was subsequently named in his honor, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Many of his relatives are still members here.
The names of those who served as pastors here are as follows; Rev. I.W. Baxter, Rev. L.I. Major, Rev. J. Middleton, Rev. J.H. Hamilton, Rev. Edgar Stephenson, Rev. William Scott, Rev. Isaac Holmes, Rev. Elijah Green, Rev. Leon Mitchell, Rev. Coleman Forrest, Rev. William Gamble, Rev. Leon Townsend, Rev. Joseph Corbin, Rev. Dwight Barr and Rev. Raye T. Nelson, Rev. Serena King Freeman and Rev. Walter Middleton.
Appointed in September of 2012, the current pastor of this church is Rev. Yvonne B. Simmons. As of Aug. 2014 many projects and renovations have been completed. Among the major projects was the complete renovation of the Fellowship hall, including a new floor, repair of walls and the installation of all new windows. All stain glass windows in the sanctuary were repaired and covered with plexi glass. Approximately ½ acre of surrounding church owned land has been cleared. The church, marquee, cross and shed have been newly painted. and a newsSteeple was purchased, erected and dedicated .
In this our 147th year, we are still “under construction” and striving towards perfection in all we say and do” leaning not to our own understanding” but allowing God to direct our paths. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors giants of the faith, those who started and those who kept this church moving on through the ages. We primarily stand on the promises of God praying that we will build upon what we have inherited and make this house a greater source of service to God’s people.
Because He Lives!
Rev. Yvonne B. Simmons , M.Div. - Pastor