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Call Us Today!
(313) 872-5663
Call Us Today!
(313) 872-5663

History

The North Woodward Congregational Church was built in stages, with a small chapel, designed by the firm of Malcomson and Higginbotham on the site of the present church constructed as early as 1907. The construction of the main sanctuary began in 1911 and was completed in 1912. Sections were added, with the most recent, the church house, being added in 1929 By the 1950s, the congregation had substantially moved out of Detroit, and the building was sold to the St. John's Christian Methodist Episcopal Church congregation. This congregation had been organized on July 8, 1917, as St. John's Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.
North Woodward Avenue Congregational Church/St. John’s Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
8715 Woodward between Blaine and Gladstone in Detroit’s Upper Piety Row
John Wesley’s efforts to reform the established Episcopal Church spread throughout the South in the early and mid Nineteenth Century. Most adherents were white southerners, even though Methodist teachings strongly condemned holding others in bondage. In that century, some blacks—free and enslaved—accepted the emerging Methodist religion. In much of the South, this denomination was known as the Methodist-Episcopal Church, reflecting John Wesley’s Episcopalian beliefs. In Philadelphia, at the start of the Nineteenth Century, Richard Allen led the development of congregations for blacks, namely, the African Methodist Episcopal church that has been well established in Detroit since before the Civil War.
Following Emancipation, some black men active in the South’s Methodist-Episcopal Church wished to establish their own denomination. As I understand it, there was no disagreement about theological issues, rather it was a racial issue. Forty-one men met in Jackson, Tennessee, and, on December 20, 1870, chartered what came to be the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Apparently they received help from the white leaders of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, but I do not know if the motivation for establishing this racially separate denomination came primarily from the white or black leaders of the southern Methodist congregations. In 1954, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church officially changed their name to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church but their former name is still widely used.
The Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church grew and prospered in the South, but its development in Detroit awaited the arrival of southern blacks during the World War I boom. In 1917, the Reverend O. L. Mitchell came to establish a CME mission. He selected the name St. John in honor of the Apostle who is credited with successfully establishing Christian churches throughout Asia Minor. The first CME church in Detroit was a brick church located near the intersection of DuBois and Catherine on the near East Side that had been erected in 1883 for the First German Evangelical Association Church. Membership grew rapidly, thanks, perhaps, to the effective preaching of the pastor and the continued migration of southern blacks to work in the city’s factories. By 1920, a larger facility was needed, so the CME congregation purchased the former home of St. Mark’s English Evangelical Lutheran Church, also located near the intersection of Dubois and Catherine. The congregation used that facility until 1955 when they purchased the church that was vacated by the North Woodward Avenue Congregationalists. This was the first church in Detroit’s Piety Row to undergo the racial switch from white to black.
The church you see was built in stages. The Congregationalists apparently put up a small chapel on this site as early as 1907. Construction of the main sanctuary began in 1911 and was completed the next year. Additional building followed, with the church house being the most recent addition, one that was completed in 1929. The architect, Hugh Clement, designed a very attractive church with his choice of red brick and limestone trim. Unlike many Gothic churches, it is a low-rise building since it lacks a bell tower or lantern.
Church Choir
Angelic Choir 1976
Church Family
St. John’s Angelic Choir Years Later

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Our First Family

Born May 28, 1959 in Gary, Indiana to the Late Bishop Richard O. Bass, Sr. And Mrs. Edith Valentine Bass.
Dr. Bass attended the Public Schools of Los Angeles, California, completed High School at Oakland Technical High School of Oakland, California. He attended Texas College, Tyler, Texas (CME College) as a Sociology Major and transferred to Miles College(CME College) of Birmingham, Alabama, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science. Received the Master of Divinity, from the Phillips School of Theology (CME Seminary) at the Interdenominational Theological Center of Atlanta, Georgia. Received a Doctor of Divinity, Union Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor Bass was called to preach at an early age in 1973 at the Lewis Metropolitan CME Church, Los Angeles, CA. Where his Father was the Pastor. Ordained Traveling Deacon by the Late Bishop James L. Cummings and Traveling Elder and Admitted into Full Connection by the Late Senior Bishop Ceasar D. Coleman. Pastor Bass has Pastored Churches in the State of Texas (8th Episcopal District) State of Alabama (5th Episcopal District) State of Georgia (6th Episcopal District) State of California (9th Episcopal District) State of Ohio (2nd Episcopal District). Presently, Pastor Bass is the Senior Pastor of the Historic St. John CME Church of Detroit, Michigan (3rd Episcopal District).
Pastor Bass has been involved in and served in many Church and Civic organizations In many capacities of Leadership. Presently, he is the Chair of the Joint Board of Finance for the Michigan Indiana Annual Conference Region CME Church, Member of the Trustee Board, Michigan Indiana Annual Conference Region, member of the General Connectional Board CME Church. Dr. Bass has been a Delegate to the General Conference since 1990. He served as the Chair of the Committee on Ministerial Examination for many years. Dr. Bass has been an NAACP President and on the State level in the State of California. He has served in many Minister’s Alliances in various Cities. He is presently, a member of the Organizing Steering Committee of the DRIVE: Detroit Regional Interfaith Voices of Equity and a member of the Black Methodist Alliance in the City of Detroit. He is a Prince Hall Mason 32nd Degree and Royal Arch Companion Mason.
Dr. Bass is a Third Generation CME Itinerant Preacher and has been the guest Preacher to many churches in Revivals in several States and ecumenical faiths.
Pastor Bass loves the Lord his Family and the church and believes the church should follow the leadership of Jesus Christ of what he calls the Galilean Ministry of Jesus Christ: Teaching, Preaching, Healing, taken from Matthew 4:23.
He is married to the lovely Annie Cilvestine Snow Bass who he affectionately calls his Georgia peach, Annie is a Native of LaGrange, GA; they have three beautiful children from their union: Akia Danielle, Thomas Anderson, and Makayla Edith. He has another daughter, Claudia Monique and a grandson, Tyshan, and two granddaughters, Blessings and Sanya. He has two brothers Richard O. Bass, Jr. And Joshua D. Bass.
St. John's Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
8715 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 872-5663
Email: stjohnscmedetroit@gmail.com

Office Hours

Mon - Sun: 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday Worship Service
10:30 am

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In Business Since 1917