A.M.E. Church has rich history

Published 10:53 am Thursday, May 11, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - There is a very good reason why Franklin African Methodist Episcopal Church in Niles was named after Mary Franklin.
She started the rebuilding process on the church in 1888 by pushing the first wheelbarrow of mortar to the site.
A fire in 1866 destroyed the original AME Church, along with most of the building's early records. Following the blaze, the congregation rented the Democratic party hall for worship and held Sunday school at the Ferry Street classroom. The building Mrs. Franklin broke ground on in 1888 still stands today. A basement, choir room and an office for the pastor were added to the church in 1943.
Rev. Jared L. Graves and Franklin AME are inviting the public to help celebrate the church's 126th anniversary this weekend with food, reflection and tributes.
The festivities start Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the church, 811 Sycamore St. in Niles, with historical reflections of the church's rich history.
The weekend's fundraiser begins Saturday morning at 10 and runs until 4 p.m. Follow the fresh barbecue smells to Schilling's Auto Wash, 518 S. 11th St., Niles, to find members of the church selling rib tips and quarter pieces of chicken hot off the grill.
The public is also invited to celebrate Mother's Day at Franklin AME. The church will be honoring its elder members and will host a tribute to its founding mother, Mary Franklin.
For information on Franklin AME activities, contact the church at 683-6356.