|Central Congregational UCC
|From Our Centennial Year An historic past A dynamic present A challenging future 1872-1972 Central
Congregational Church (Revised with other data from the American Missionary, Congregational Quarterly, Dunn
Collection, The Church Register created by Dr. Alexander and continued through the 19th Century)
The Roots of Central
St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church located at Carondelet and Common Streets (1840) had free persons of color as
members and slaves in the balcony. When the church was rebuilt all persons of color were required to sit in assigned
places in the gallery. The African American members left St. Paul and organized a religious Society with 10 men as
1846 this society became affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the fellowship was named just
that. In 1848 Society purchased two lots on North Roman between Iberville and Bienville completed in 1851 and
renamed St. James Chapel.
Under Louisiana charter St. James was an independent body empowered to conduct its own affairs. and the trustees
confirmed each pastor before he could take office. The argument after the war was over accepting new freedmen.
The African Methodist Epsicopal Church tried to exert discipline resulted in a court case in February where the court
failed to intercede. The difficulty for the AME Bishop was that the St. James AME was the chartered AME in the state
of Louisiana and owned its own property and those of any other AME (which would have included Morris Brown.)
In 1860s roster included Caesar and Felix Antoine, Robert and Thomas Isabelle, Col. James H. Ingraham, Col. James
Lewis, and their families plus Mr. and Mrs. Norager, Mr. and Mrs. Adolphe Zemar and Mr and Mrs. Daniel Sanders.
This church became the St. James Congregational Church. Rev. Jacob A Norager served as a minister. In 1872 the
St. James membership was polled to decide who would commit themselves to the new church. The annual report of
1872 from St. James said that: The Saint James church divided and with their pastor, Rev. Mr. Norager, a part united
with the Central. The remainder, after establishing their title to their church property by refunding to this association
what it had paid in aid of the enterprise, held to its old connection with the African Methodist Church.”
In 1869, the American Missionary Association opened Straight University on Esplanade Ave and North Derbigny
Street. On April 2, 1871 Straight formed a church and society at Straight called University Church. The organization
embraced Methodists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians, white and African American. Mr. G. H.
Farquatten and Prof. S. F. Fuller became the Deacons of the Church.The Reverend Charles H. Thompson was
installed as Pastor of the University Church on April 2, 1871.
The Reverend Charles H. Thompson, D. D., an African American, came in contact with the Reverend Jacob A.
Norager, pastor of a small group from St. James Church (that had temporary become Congregational.) These two
men brought six men and twenty-six women along with a few from Morris Brown Congregational Church with Dr.
Thompson as its minister. The Central Congregational Church was founded on Sunday, June 30, 1872.
On May 12th, 1872, the Church edifice was sold to the American Missionary Association for the sum of $20,000. June
30th, 1872 the Central Congregational Church was formally organized when 32 Christian men and women entered
into solemn covenant From June 30th, 1872 to June 11th 1874 Rev. C. H. Thompson, D. D. was acting Pastor of the
church though not formally installed over it.
The Original Charter of the Congregational Society (July 2, 1872)
Personally came and appeared James N. Ingraham, Jacob A. Norager, Samuel S. Ashley, Charles N. Thompson and
Thomas Isabelle, all residents of this city who declared that availing themselves of the provisions of the laws of the
State of Louisiana, relative to the organization of corporations for religious, scientific, literary and caharitable
purposes, they had contracted and agreed, and by these presents do contract, agree and bind themselves, and
those who may hereafter become associated with them to form themselves into and constitute a corporation, or body
politic in law for the objects and purposes and under the stipulations and regulations follwing to whit .
The name of the corporation shall be “The Central Congregational Society of New Orleans”, and its domicle is hereby
established in the city of new Orleans
The objects and purposes of this Corporation are declared to be the support of a church of the Congregational
Denomination in this city, the relief of all poor and distress persons who may become members of the society and the
propagation of the principles of general benevolence and charity.
Any male person, over the age of twenty one years, may become a member of the Society by a two thirds vote of the
members present at any regular meeting.
The Thirty-Two Original Members
The thirty two people from St. James were Rev. Jacob Norager Isaac Wilson, Adolph Zemar, Thomas E. Hillson,
Robert H. Isabelle, Joseph Ebb, Mesdames Lettice Dunn, Levinia Zemar, Betsey Cole, Clara Boyer, Sarah Blunt,
Elizabeth E. Rose, Merinda Saunders, Martha Lewis, Henriette Ingraham, Mary Jane Quinn, Charlotte Mitchell,
Priscilla Higdon, Lucy Ebb Morton, Sophia Paul, Cornnelia Hutchinson, Susan Jones, Mary Jordan, Jane ‘Kimball,
Mary Watts, Elizabeth Thompson, Mary Norager, Elizabeth Lewis, Francis Dunn, Phillis Hopikins, Harriet Williams Miss
Church Troubles 1876
Two of the first trustees were Rev. Mr. Norager, President Colonel Ingraham, secretary. In 1876 Rev. Norager was
requested to write the AMA on behalf of the church: “Our church, originally had a good start four years ago, with
prospects bright ahead but by some unaccountable reason, or otherwise, received a severe drawback…If it were not
for the stringency of the times in money matters, we should do well. Our people are poor, labor being withheld from
us all. Although willing to labor but (we) cannot get it so long as the political strife lasts…. We hope our friends (AMA)
will bear with us a little while longer.” He and Mrs. Norager died the following year (December 1877) two weeks apart,
leaving a young foster daughter, Alice, later Mrs. Sylvester Ward. (She was of Irish descent.)
1876 (The Church Record)
1876 Jan 8th Rev. W. S. Alexander by appointment of the American Missionary
A Revival of great powers was enjoyed by the Church during the months of January and February.
On March 26th the following persons were received to the fellowship of the Church:
By letter from other churches or upon evidence of former Church membership:
Mrs. Sarah Ann Martin, Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, Mrs. Elizabeth Antonie, Mr. Leopold Bibolet, Mrs. Renette Bibolet,
Miss Josephine Pierce.
On Profession of Faith Miss Charlotte Roberts, Daniel Holland, Oscar Montgomery, Mrs Elizabeth Dohuson, Mrs.
Sarah H. A. Casell, Mrs Mary Jane Puickney, Miss Maria Puickney, Miss Alice Noraerg.
March 26th Miss Theresa Bibolet, Miss Mary Alice Thomas, Miss Ella Ogleton, Miss Mary Ogleton, Miss Georgia S.
Robinson, Mr. Willie T. Sawyer, Mr. High T. Keating, Mr. Cornelius Forrest, Mr. Ernes Harang.
May 7th The following persons were received to the fellowship of the Church:
By Letter, or evidence of former Church membership Anderson Sanders, Mrs. Ellen Sanders
On Profession of Faith J. R. Hallowell, Rheson Clay, Arthur H. Colwill, Oscar Landry, Palmerston Landry, Mrs. Emma
Holland, Miss Dora Graves, Miss Louise Murray, Miss Alice Washington, Miss Annie Mur, Mrs. Julia Lytte, Miss
Henrietta Ingraham, Miss Nora Dumas, Miss Elentine Antoine, Miss Emma Smith, Miss Georgia Griffin, Mr. Julius Lewis.
May 7th 1876
Daniel Fensell, Tony Casell, James Taylor, Eli Bibolet, Miss Georgie B. Wilson, Benjamin B. Ewell
1877 (Church Register)
May 6, 1877 Mrs J. V. Marshall was received to the Church by letter, and Mrs. Maria White on Profession of her Faith.
April 24th Voted That Emma Smith for the crime of gross immorality be excommunicated from the Church.
June 5th voted That Henry Jackson being Parish Prison for stealing be excommunicated from the Church.
Voted: That Church members who neglect the services and sacraments of the Church for one year without reason or
sufficient excuse rendered to the Church shall forfeit their membership.
May 27th Voted that Revd M. C. Cole be invited to supply the pulpit during the absence of the pastor.
Voted that the South Western Conference be invited to hold their annual session in this Church – The Conference
met according to call welcomed and entertained by the church.
Nov 21 At a regular meeting of the Church a letter of dismission was granted to MissLouisa Murray at her own
request and she was recommended to St. Paul’s M. E. Church.
Nov 28 At a regular meeting of the Church a letter of dismission was voted to Mrs. Philis Hopkins at her own request
and she was recommended to St. Luke’s P. E. Church.
Dec 28th Miss M H Williams was recd to the Church on Profession of her faith.
Mrs Mary Cooper was also recd on Profession of her faith.
Revival 1878 (American Missionary) (Mrs. T. N. Chase)
Revival News -- "Pray for My Child!" - Older Converts -- Romanists Reached
You will rejoice to hear of the good work in the central Congregational Church of New Orleans. The interest has been
sufficient to bring an unusual number every night for four weeks to our prayer-meeting. One evening, after the pastor
had taken nearly the usual time, he called for brief testimony from christians. Fifty-three responded in the limited half
The fruit to be gathered in was from among the older students of the school, who were not already professing
Christians. This was what would be expected by those who know their faithful, Christian teachers. All teachers know
the thrilling interest that clusters around the conversion of young persons under their tuition. So, as I have heard our
teachers talk of this scholarly young man, and that promising young woman, coming over to the Lord's side, I knew
very well what a burden of prayer and effort was lifted from their hearts and hands.
The third week of our meetings a younger class seemed interested. One evening a widow begged us to pray for her
daughter, in tones that would have melted a heat of stone. as she passed out of the door, at the close of the
meeting, I overheard her saying to one and another, "Pray for my child! pray for my child!" An earnest mother, I
thought; who can doubt the reality of her religion? On my way home I learned that her husband had been a devoted
member of our church, and a wealthy, intelligent, respected colored citizen. I am happy to find such men are not rare
in New Orleans. The next evening the mother, with the same pleading earnestness, begged us to pray for her child.
since her husband's death her property had gone, other dear ones had passed on, and it seemed as though she
could not be denied the conversion of child. The grandmother was present, too, and gave us a soul-stirring testimony
of her long pilgrimage. When those who wished our prayers were requested to come forward, several responded. All
were strangers to me; but when a certain little girl went forward just behind the others, a tide of emotion almost
overcame me. She was as much a stranger to me as the others, and I , for a moment, wondered at my tears. Then it
flashed upon me that she must be the widow's child, and my emotion was caused by the flood of sympathy that was
involuntarily surging from heart to heart for that praying mother. On inquiry, I found I was not mistaken. You can
imagine, better than I can describe, the scene, when mother and grandmother gathered about the child, pleading with
her to yield to Jesus, as we all knelt to commend the lost lambs to a loving Shepherd.
Now, the older people are being reached Friday evening a man came in late to escort his wife home. Saturday he
came early, and at the very first opportunity was on his feet, saying, "For forty years I hadn't thought I had a soul till I
came in here last night. Help me to find Jesus." He went forward, fell upon his knees, and was so penitent it did not
seem strange that that very night the publican's God sent him "to his house justified." As he met our pastor the next
morning at church, he exclaimed, "Mr. Alexander, you convinced me, but Jesus saved me." It would do a stoic good to
look upon his beaming face and see what grace has done for that man.
It seems to me that the most interesting feature of the A. M. A. work in New Orleans is its leavening influence upon
roman Catholicism. I was talking, after service one evening, with a beautiful girl who had been forward for prayers,
and whose face wore a genuine look of deep contrition. On asking her if she attended church here regularly, she
replied, "No; I go to the Catholic Church." Another girl was sitting beside a member of our family one evening, when a
boy behind whispered to her, "Don't you ask for prayers! If you do, I'll tell the priest!" I hear that a large number in the
school are professed Catholics, but are allowed to attend on account of superior instruction.
1878 (Church Register)
Feb 4 1878 At a regular meeting of the Church letters of dismission and recommendation to St. Luke’s P. E. church.
voted to Mrs Louisa Hopkins Johnson and Miss M. H. Williams.
1878 At a regular meeting of the Church held Wednesday Feb 20th it was voted that in consideration of the fact that
on January 1st Robert B. Radford was baptized on the profession of his faith in Christ and that it was his earnest
desire to have his name enrolled as a member of this church that his name be thus enrolled.
Feb 24th Mrs. Juliette R. Allen and Miss Georgiana A. Henderson, were received to the fellowship of the Church on
profession of their faith.
March 1 At a regular meeting of the Church the following persons were examined as to their religious experience and
accepted as members of the Church. On the following Sabbath they entered into fellowship with the Church: James
D. Russell, Albert C. Pristley, Eli C Freeman, John F. Patty, Alexander J Kenner, Albert S. Barnes, Mrs Mary Lewis,
Mrs. Corilla H. Kenner, Mrs. Maria S. Antoine, Mrs. Harriet Chailay, Mrs Rachel Williams, Miss Annette C. Henderson,
Miss Amanda E. Shivers, Miss Georgia Antoine, Miss Mattie Mitchell, Miss Matilda Ingraham, Miss Amelia Antoine,
Miss Cecilia Bibolet, Miss Imogene B. Hart, Miss Florence Johnson, Miss Marcelite Laundry, Miss Jennie Glover, Miss
Meloinia Vessier, Miss Sarah E. Henderson, Miss Cornelia Smith, Mr. John B. Kellar,Mrs. Samuel Hart.
March 29th At a regular meeting of the Church Bro A. Zemar and Bro Daniel Saunders were appointed Delegates to
the South-Western Conference to be held at New Iberia April 3-5.
April 26th At a regular meeting of the church held this evening Walter Loring presented himself as a candidate for
admission to the Church. He was examined and approved. The rite of baptism was administered to him and he
entered into covenant with the Church. At the same meeting Bro Leopold Bibolet and Bro Adolph Zemar were elected
Deacons. Arthur H. Colwell was elected Church Clerk and Brothers Isaac Wilson, Leopold Bibolet, A. Zemar,
Alexander J. Kenner and Daniel Saunders were elected as the standing Committee of the Church for the present
May 4th The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered and the following persons were received to the
fellowship of the Church:
By Letter from Mt. Zion Baptist Ch Big Bend La Moses Harris
On profession of faith Dr. James T. Newman, William J. Battiste, Archie Hart, Mrs Inlia Graves, Mrs. Louisa Kellar, Mrs.
Julia Kellar, Mrs. Mary H. Isagelle, Mrs. Mary Dent, Mrs. Mary Ellen McDowell, Miss Henrittea C. Benedict.
May 24th At a regular meeting of the Church the Standing Committee having considered the cases of delinquent
Church members and recommended the same for discipline it was voted that Peter Minard, Georgia Griffin, Oscar
Montgomery, Emma Ogleton, Mr. Atwater and Mr. Hardy be for good and sufficient reasons excommunicated from the
May 31. At a regular meeting of the Church Mr. Benjamin B. Ewell was upon recommendations of the Standing
Committee excommunicated. Mrs. Eliza P Radford member of the P. E. Church of England, Mr. Frank Harris from the
M E Church of Napoleonville La and Mrs. Mary Watson, on profession of her faith were received as members of this
Church. Mrs. Isabella Askin was also received on profession of her faith and the following Sabath in connection with
the Sacraements of the Lord’s Supper entered into covenant with the Church (June 2).
1878 The Summer of Yellow Fever (American Missionary)
A gentleman of high standing, in New Orleans, writes to Mr. Alexander, the pastor of the Central Congregational
Church, who is now in the North: "Notwithstanding the intense heat, and the excitement that prevails because of the
yellow-fever here, the congregation at Central Church have not abated their interest, and, both on Thursday
evenings and on Sundays, they manifest by their presence that they will not forsake the assembling of themselves
together as the manner of some is.' The good Lord is present to bless at every service, and the faithful people are,
as far as I know, conscientiously discharging every known duty. They display a zeal that is truly commendable, and
must certainly meet your approbation and esteem.
1879 (Church Register)
At a regular meeting of the Church held this evening after the Preparatory Lecture the Church Committee
recommended that Mr Fisher who was admitted during the summer be excommunicated for the sin of habitual
drunkenness. That Mrs. Rachiel Williams for gross immorality be also excommunicated. Miss Dora Graves made a
penitent statement to the Church for certain grievous circumstances with which her name was associated and the
Church voted her statement satisfactory. Miss Josephine Pierce was dismissed to the Cong Church in Tallmadge
Jan 5 The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered.
Febrery 6th After the Preparatory Lecture the following persons presented themselves as Candidates for admission
to the Church: Joseph Dunn, Charles B. Wilson, Stephen Holder, George G. Robertson, Louis C. Antoine, Joseph B.
Craig, Naas R. Bradford, James E. Daniels, Mrs. Catherine Brown, Mrs. Mary F. Cripps, Mrs. Priscilla Martin, Mrs.
Francis Washington, Miss Rosa Flemming, Mrs. Celestine Clark, Miss Sarah Allen, Mr. George R. Hutchinson.
They were examined and approved and on the following Sabbath Morning in connection with the Communion were
received to the fellowship of the Church on profession of their faith in Christ. Miss Mary T. Deves and Miss Artie
Stewart were also received on profession of their faith.
Mrs. Pamalee Satchell entered into Covenant with the church
April 10th Preparatory Lecture was given. Miss Matilda Mathew and Wmr. Samuel I. Alston applied for admission to
the Church on profession of their faith. After examination they were received. Mrs. Julia Moore was received by letter
from the Cong Church in Selma, Ala. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered on the following Sabbath
April 13th. The personnamed above entered into Covenant with the Church.
Deacon Isaac Wilson was appointed Delegate to the annual meeting of the South-Western Conference to be held at
May 1st The Church voted to prepare a Church Manual and the Pastor was requested to present a draft of the same
for the approval of the Church.
May 12th. The first draft of the Manual waed. Deacon Isaac Wilson and Bro George G. Robs read to the Church and
approvertson were elected Delegates to attend the special meeting of the South-Western Congl Conference at
Algiers the 22d inst.
May 27th At a regular Church Meeting it was voted to appropriate $100 to the American Missionary Association.
Resolutions expressing the affection and gratitude of the Church towards its Pastor were adopted.
1879 June 1st The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered.
Dec 12 Mr. Arthur H. Colwell was dismissed at his own request to the A. M. E. Church, Baton Rouge, La.
Church Manual 1879 (American Missionary)
A very complete manual of the Central congregational Church, neatly printed, is in our hands. The order of admission
and of administration of the church is very complete. The present membership is 149. Rev. Walter S. Alexander has
been pastor of the church as well as President of Straight University for the past three years.
Statement of Faith
1879 Summer Pulpit Supply (American Missionary)
Rev. D. L. Mitchel, who is in charge of the Presbyterian Book Depository in this city, is supplying the Central Church
(Rev. W. S. Alexander's) during the summer vacation. He writes thus under a recent date: "The congregation is quite
regular in attendance, about seventy, and the attention is excellent. The prayer meetings are also well attended, and
the spiritual condition steadily improving. I think this one of the most important fields in the South, and one of the most
hopeful. May the blessing of our heavenly Father abide with your corps of Christian workers and give them abundant
success in their self-denying labors."
Church News 1880 (American Missionary) (by Rev. W. S. Alexander)
Our own, the Central Church, sends greeting to all kind, sympathizing and praying friends in the North. All summer
long, the members of the church have prayed in public and in private for a gracious out-pouring of the Divine Spirit. I
found the church in an earnest, praying state. A greater degree of unity and cordial Christian fellowship prevails than
I have ever before seen. Tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 4,) begins the "Week of Prayer." If, in its results, it shall fulfil the
longings and faith of this people, then will it indeed be the "Week of Weeks" to us in central Church. Last night, at our
preparatory service, seventy-five were present; five new members were received, of whom three came on profession
of faith. It was a meeting of peculiar tenderness and spiritual power. After a brief lecture by the pastor, forty-two
Christians spoke tender, earnest words of love to God, and devotion to His service. God grant I may have good
tidings to send you in my next letter.
The 1880 Revival (by Rev. W. S. Alexander)
The hope expressed in my last letter that I might have glad tidings to send you, has been fully realized, and it is my
happiness to record one of the most precious revivals in the history of the Central Church. I do not forget the history
of the past four years, and the seasons of spiritual awakening through which the church has passed. The present
movement differs from the preceding, if at all, in a more intelligent grasp of the truth, and in a deeper spiritual tone.
The past summer was a time of preparation for the scenes that were to follow. The Revival was the constant theme of
conversation and prayer. It was the one burden upon their hearts. Sunday, January 4, the first day of the week of
prayer, was marked by evident signs of deepening interest. On that day, eight were received to the church, of whom
three came on profession of their faith. For twenty-seven consecutive evenings, we met in our lecture room. The
Gospel was preached with directness and earnestness. A "church in earnest" took hold of the work and pressed it
forward. Beginning with an audience of 75, the numbers in constant attendance rapidly increased to 200. The
interest suffered no diminution to the last night, when six came forward to the "mourners' seats" with the cry, "Pray for
us." Some continued in and anxious state for two, three or four weeks, while others, coming in from motives of
curiosity merely, were stricken down by God's Spirit, and as quickly brought into the light and liberty of believers.
An old man of 70 years was brought into the Kingdom, and is as happy as the youngest convert. Another, much in
political life, and who publicly said, "I have been an awful sinner," seems now to be a reformed and converted man.
Four of our University students have joyfully professed Christ.
While incidents occurred daily which toughed our hearts, and added to the tenderness and deep solemnity of our
meetings, they cannot of course be faithfully recorded, and I do not attempt it.
Let me say that there was no undue excitement, and not the slightest approach to merely physical and emotional
demonstrations. The work was too intelligent, too spiritual for that. In prayer, in song, and in appeal, human agency
was forgotten, and the converting power of the Divine Spirit was reverently recognized.
Sunday Feb. 1st, was our "Feast of Ingathering." Of the thirty converted in the meetings, twenty-four were received to
the fellowship of the church, with two who came to us by letter. The people brought flowers for the pulpit and
communion-table. Of the 250 present in the audience, 150 received the sacrament. "The Lord hath done great things
for us whereof we are glad."
Sunday School Convention 1880
We lnotice in the list of officers of the First State Sunday-school convention of Louisiana, the name of Rev. W. S.
Alexander, President of Straight University and pastor of the Central Congregational Church of New Orleans, as one
of the Vice-Presidents and also of the Executive Committee. He was chairman of the Committees of Credentials and
on the Constitution. Dr. Roy was also presnet. Certainly there is no cause for a complaint of lack of recognition of
those engaged in our work in the midst of such examples as these.
1880 (Church Register)
Jan 4th The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered. Mr. Henry J. Battiste, Mrs. Isabella Robertson and
Mrs. J. A. Farmington were received on profession of their faith. and Mrs. Agnes Lemons – Mrs. Hamilton Mrs Eliza
Green, Mrs. Susan Grigsby and Miss Delphine Green were received by letter.
Feb 1 The following persons were received to the Church:
By letter – Revd W. R. Polk Siloaur Pres Ch Brooklyn Ny John Mills 1st M.E.Ch No
On Profession of their faith: Edward T. Simmons, Dennis Jones, William Murrell, Mrs. Louisiana Murrell, Mrs. Laura
Lewis, Mrs. Jane Templeton, Mrs. Mary Kimball, Miss Fannie L. Scott, Miss Rebecca Gilbert, Mrs. Cora Mills, Miss
Alice Hampton, Mr. David B. Temple, Mr. Early Winby, Mrs. Martha Williamson, Mr. Buford A. Robinson, Mrs. Rachel
Hale, Mr. Berry Hawkins, Mr. Jesse Merritt, Mr. Albert Flemming, Miss Celeste Lytle, John Harris, Mrs. Antonia Linuia
Brickell, Miss Georgia Holmes, Miss Victoria Bernard.
By vote of the Church the following persons were received from the Cong Church in Carrollton: Hamilton McCray,
Mrs. Rosalie McCray, Mrs. Fanny McCray.
Mch 10th At the Annual Meeting of the Church the entire Board of Officers was reelected.
May 30th Miss Emiline Head was received to the Church on profession of her faith and Mrs. Cornelia Strange was
received by letter form St. Matthew’s Cong Ch in Carrollton.
Dec 5th Rev. W. R. Polk and Mrs. Agnes Lemons were dismissed to St. Paul’s Cong Ch New Iberia.
1881 Revival (by Rev. W. S. Alexander)
In my last letter the hope was expressed that we might have good tidings to send you. God has graciously and
marvelously answered our prayer.
The month of November was a blessed month in Central Church.
The week of prayer in January has in other years been the beginning of real, earnest revival effort. The revival
seasons of blessed memory have dated from this holy week. But the coming of two English Evangelists, James
Wharton and Richard Irving, during the last days of October, called for immediate action, and we decided at once to
open revival meetings, and to engage in a united and earnest effort for the salvation of sinners.
While these dear brethren were resting from their voyage, the church came together and re-consecrated themselves
to God. there was a quick and deep apprehension of the necessity of personal holiness and of self-denying service
for christ. Indeed the entire month of October had been a month of prayerful preparation for the movement. Printed
notices were widely distributed, and Christians went from house to hosue and invited people to come and seek the
salvation of their souls. From the opening night the meetings were marked by deep seriousness and the evident
presence of the Divine Spirit. The method of the Evangelists was simple and honest. No artificial means fro exciting
emotion were used. the Gospel was preached in its simplicity, its purity, and its power. thersermons were heart-
searching, faithful and tender. The law in its exactions and the Gospel in its provisions and promises, were presented
night after night Brother Irving stayed with us ten days, and Borther Wharton three weeks. After the sermon the
Pastor took charge of the meetings, and called the inquirers to the "mourners' seats." Sepecial appeals and prayers
were offered. Inquirers were directed one by one how to find the Saviour, and to obtain peace in believing. At some
meetings Christians were permitted and encouraged to speak of the love and preciousness of Jesus; and such a
volume of testimony! We could truly say, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." As I recall the sheaves that were
gathered in this glorious harvest I find much to thank God for. In two instances both the husband and wife--all young
people--were converted, and standing side by side took the vows of the church upon them. women who had
struggled with manifold temptations, and around whom the wildest storms of sorrow had gathered, found in christ a
refuge from the storm and the tempest. Young men with the hopes and possibilities of Christian manhood before
them, humbly, heartily, and I believe, forever, took their position as the disciples of the Son of God. When Brother
Wharton was compelled to leave us to meet an engagement in another church, the Pastor continued the meetings for
another week, assisted by Rev. A. N. Wyckoff, of the Canal St. Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. John Matthews, of the
M. E. Church, and two able colored preachers. The fire burned brightly to the last.
The first Sabbath in December thirty-one were received to the Central Church. on profession of their faith in Christ.
We hope forty-eight were converted in this revival. Some joined other churches and more will yet unite themselves
with us. the meetings were thronged as never before. Crowds of young men attended constantly. Some of them were
won for God--others were impressed--and with very many, let us hope and pray, the truth they heard and the scenes
they witnessed will prove to be "bread cast upon the waters," to be gathered in some future day to the glory of God.
I think I see a quickened and deepened consciousness of right as they read it in the light of His word, upon the part of
professing Christians a painful and unyielding anxiety with those who have not submitted their hearts to God, and with
many, a sincere longing to come into the fellowship of the Gospel. If this judgment be true, then how great things has
the dear Lord done for us!
The Church now numbers 210 members. My impartial judgment is that they represent a good deal of vitality, and are
beginning to realize the infinate willingness of God to bless them, and to enlarge their borders.
1881 (Church Record)
At the Annual Meeting of the Church the old Board of Deacons was reelected and a Church Committee chosen
consisting of Benj Hawkins, Early Wimby and George G. Robertson.
March 6th Mr F.H. Burton was dismissed at his own request to Mt. Zion M. E. Church. New Orleans
March 11th Mrs. Julia Lytle for misconduct which resulted in her imprisonment was excummujnicated and John B.
Kellar was suspended for three months for intemperance and required to sign a pledge of total abstainence.
May 10th At a regular meeting of the Church Mrs. R. N. Isabelle. Mr. Palmerston Laudry and Julius Lewis were
excommunicated for conduct unbecoming church members.
May 22nd The Sacrament was administered and the following persons were received to the fellowship of the Church
on profession of their faith: Miss Arabella B. Kennedy, Mrs. Mitilda Williams, Mrs. Mary Davis, Mr. D. P. Hale. Mrs.
Sarah Newman was received by letter from the M. E. Church in Franklin La.
May 27 At a regular meeting of the Church. Mr. Samuel I. Alston was excommunicated from the Church for the crime
of stealing and the desertion of his wife. At the same meeting the church adopted a Rule prohibiting the members
from Dancing on pain of discipline.
In 1882 the AMA purchased a handsome three story brick edifice from the Fourth Presbyterian Church for $20,000. It
was one block from Canal Street, the main business street of New Orleans, on South Liberty and Gasquet
(Cleveland) Streets. The building, 90 x 120, had a large and commodious sanctuary on the second floor with a
blacony around three sides and a seating capacity of approximately 1200. This was Central's home for sixty-two
years. The building was built in 1846 but it was not bought by Fourth Presbyterian until 1858. The building was
demolished in 1936.
The start was auspicious; the University Church merged with Central and remained for fifteen years (1872-1887). An
account in the Annual Report of the AMA for 1872 reads: This house is commodius and centrally situated. The
management of Mr. S. S. Ashley (acting president of Straight). From the start there were good congregations on the
Sabbath and a good attendance at all meetings of the church. It is hoped this will be a model of the Pilgrim polity for
Louisiana and the Southwest.
The A.M.A. would report the activities of Central in the American Missionary, the society's magazine.
Lady Missionary in New Orleans 1882 (American Missionary)
We have appointed Miss A. D. Gerrish as lady missionary in New Orleans, and she entered upon her work there Oct.
1. She will devote her energies with special reference to aiding our work in Straight University and in Central Church,
in accordance with the principals laid down in the foregoing article. There is much benevolent and Christian work to
be done in that great city, and the A.M.A., unable, of course, to do it all, must make choice. (Miss A. D. Gerrish was
from Leetonia Ohio.) [Editor Note: The Lady Missionaries were assigned to Straight University but worked in the local
churches and community.]
1882 (The Church Record)
February 5th The following persons were received to the Church on profession of their faith:
Andrew J. Lore, Samuel Pinckney, Edward T. Handy, Cornelius Fitcher, Albert F. Perry, Patrick Isabelle, Louis
Philipsen, Eugene Gastinel, Horace Burke, Mrs. Celeste Scott, Mrs Alice Heath, Mrs. Cora Deut, Miss Julia Main, Miss
Mary Jane Bates, Mrs Emma Harris, Miss Jennie Lewis, Miss sarah Merritt, Miss Nellie Brische, Miss Mary Dawson,
Miss Arlie H. Butler, Miss Amelia E. Parks, Miss Amanda Landry, Miss Alabama Boynton, Miss Mary E. Walker, Miss
Anna E. Liberty, Miss Mary Antoine, Miss Nita Antoine, Miss Lottie Goodman, Miss William Gales, Miss Sarah Green,
Mrs. Josephine Davis
Feb 12 Miss Mary E. White on profession John Ogleton, Mrs. Lottee Johnson Landry
Feb 19 Miss Mary Cora Lee
Ap 9th Miss Irene Duralde
Nov 5th Mrs. Emina Hoggatt, Miss Sallie P. Washington was received by letter from the AME Ch Vicksburg
The following minute should have been entered previous to the last list of names:
The following Resolutions were unanimously adopted at a special church eeting held Monday Evening April 10th
“At a meeting of the Church Committee held Saturday Evening Ap 8th 1882 after a careful and through investigation
of the cases involved it was voted:
I. That whereas sister Elizabeth Rose has stated to the Committee in answer to their inquires that she occupies the
same house with her daughter who is living with and has borne children to a man to whom she has never been
legally married the Committee while fully appreciating the mitigating circumstances in the case he old age and
dependence for shelter and home upon her daughter are constrained to say that the reputation and good name of
the Church are compromised thereby Therefore recommend that sister Rose be suspended from the fellowship of the
II. Whereas sister Elizabeth Hamilton has stated to the Committee that she rents a house and furnishes rooms in the
same jointly with a daughter who is living with a man to whom she has never been legally married and whereas the
good name of the church is thereby compromised the Committee recommend that sister Hamilton be excommunicated
from the church.
III. Whereas after a faithful hearing of all the evidence attainable the Committee are convinced that sister Francis
Washington has rented rooms in her house for immoral purposes namely to men and women not legally married and
whereas the Church has suffered and does not suffer reproach on this account we recommend that sister
Washington be excommunicated from the church.
IV. Whereas at a regular Church meeting held June 5th 1882 it was unanimously voted that any member who
absented himself or herself from the Communion of the Church without a reasonable excuse. for one year forfeited
their membership and wheseas Dr. James T. Newman, Mr. Aristide Landry, Miss Eleutuce Antonie and Miss Jennie
Glover have absented themselves from the Communion of this Church for more than one year their names be
dropped from the roll.
1883 (The Church Record)
Jan 7th At the Communion of the Church the following persons were received on profession of their faith:
Charles C. Collins, Wm Lewis Swazey, Dickinson A. Smith, Miss Ida P Ingraham, Miss Virginia Smith, Miss Georgia
King, Mr. Albert L. Hasaug, Andrew Dorsey, Miss Lizzie Pickney, St. Clair Segura, Mrs. Bella Williams, James E. Smith,
Miss Clara Isabelle, Mrs. Minerva Gross, Miss Lillie Philipsen, Mrs. Maria J. Harris, John L. Wimby, Mrs. Lydia Minby,
Miss Corinne McCanie, Miss Annie H. Hardy, Miss Mary Violet Wimby, Leonard O. Young, Cornelius Ingraham,
Joseph Vautrost, Fred K Hitchock, Edgar Paussaux, Willie Williams, Thomas Pickney, Allie Hitchock, Lewis Wilson,
Mrs. Matilda Wimby
Miss Mamie Harris. Miss Pamelia Wimby, Miss Mary Reed, Miss Rebecca Allen, Miss Theresa Casimen, Miss Lucinda
By letter Prof Rufus C. Hitchcock, Mrs. Louisa Hitchcock, Miss A. D. Gerrish
By letter Miss Florence A. Sperry
On Profession Eli Flowris, Alexander Fartl
1884 Revival (W. S. Alexander, D. D.)
A revival in central Church is preceded by days and weeks of special prayer. this is the spiritual preparation of the
church for the work of grace which they joyfully and believingly anticipate. If a season of religious awakening did not
occur during the year it would be a source of real and grievous disappointment. This faith in god's willingness and
purpose to bless His people is, I believe, an important element in the religious experience of this church. From
October to January we thought and planned and prayed for this work of grace. When the "week of prayer" cam, the
church came together to engage heartily in the Master's work. In the school, especially among our boarding students,
evidences of seriousness and inquiry were already manifest. On the first night, when the seekers after God were
invited forward for prayer, ten responded, and from that night the work went on with increasing power. Each evening
brought to us some fresh token of God's love and remembrance. Hardly a night passed when there were not 20 or 25
on the "anxious seats" tearfully and earnestly seeking salvation. The church was deeply moved Strong men, for
whom many prayers had been offered, and who had till now resisted the pleading of the Spirit, were utterly broken
down, and after days of deepest seriousness, in which their tears attested their sincerity, came into the full fellowship
of the Gospel. I have before my mind scenes of the tenderest interest. I have seen strong men, members of the
church, with their arms around other men for whose conversion they were anxious, pleading with tears that they
would give up all for God. In it all there was the deepest solemnity. Hardly a spoken "Amen" or "Praise God," nothing
wasto offend the most fastidious; but simple, earnest faith and work. It was my privilege to preach the precious
Gospel of a forgiving Saviour for 24 consecutive nights. The teachers in the University were faithful and devoted, and
mnay of them, weary as they were with the hard work of the day in the school-room, came night after night to help on
the work of our dear Lord.
As the result of this revival, some 50 professed hope in Christ, including a few cases of reconsecration. Of this
number about one half were students in our University. There were several heads of families, and not a few who had
been christened in the Roman Catholic church. On the second Sabbath of February 23 were received to Central
Church on profession of their faith in Christ. Others will be received at a later date. Now comes the work of instruction
and confirmation in the faith. May God give grace and strength to meet this duty strongly and wisely.
1884 Association Meeting
The Louisiana Association met with Rev. Isaac Hall's church, which with paint and fresco had put its house of worship
into beautiful condition. Dr. W. S. Alexander was elected Moderator for the eight year. A member of his church, a
converted Catholic, was licensed that he might preach among the French-speaking colored people in the city of New
Orleans. The account of his conversion was extremely interesting, showing how, by the word of God, he had worked
out of Romish superstitions and had "found out what is was to be born again."
In 1885 a revival in Central Church was preceded by days and weeks of special prayer. This was the spiritual
preparation of the church for the work of grace which they joyfully and believingly anticipate. If a season of religious
awakening did not occur during the year it would be a source of real and grievous disappointment. this faith in God's
willingness and purpose to bless His people is, I believe, an important element in the religious experience of this
church. From October to January we thought and planned and prayed for this work of grace. when the "week of
prayer" came, the church came together to engage heartily in the Master's work. In the school, especially among our
boarding students, evidence of seriousness and inquiry were already manifest. On the first night, when the seekers
after God were invited forward for prayer, ten responded, and from that night the work went on with increasing power.
Each evening brought to us some fresh token of God's love and remembrance. Hardly a night passed when there
were not 20 or 25 on the "anxious seats" tearfully and earnestly seeking salvation. The church was deeply moved.
Strong men, for whom many prayers had been offered, and who had till now resisted the pleading of the Spirit, were
utterly broken down, and after days of deepest seriousness, in which their tears attested their sincerity, came into the
full fellowship of the Gospel. I have before my mind scenes of the tenderest interest. I have seen strong men,
members of the church, with their arms around other men for whose conversion they were anxious, pleading with
tears that they would give up all for God. In it all there was the deepest solemnity. Hardly a spoken "Amen" or "Praise
God," nothing to offend the most fastidious; but simple, earnest faith and work. It was my privilege to preach the
precious Gospel of a forgiving Saviour for 24 consecutive nights. The teachers in the University were faithful and
devoted, and many of them, weary as they were with the hard work of the day in the school-room, came night after
night to help on the work of our dear Lord.
As the result of this revival, some 50 professed hope in Christ, including a few cases of reconsecration. Of this
number about one half were students in our University. There were several heads of families, and not a few who had
been christened in the Roman Catholic Church. On the second Sabbath of February 23 were received to Central
Church on profession of their faith in Christ. Others will be received at a later date. Now comes the work of instruction
and confirmation in the faith. May God give grace and strength to meet this duty strongly and wisely.
Thanksgiving as an institution seems to be coming into more favor in this region year by year. whether because of
the source from which the Proclamation came, or from a better appreciation of the spirit of the day, Thanksgiving was
more generally observed than usual this year by the New Orleans Churches.
The Central Congregational Church, of course, followed its usual custom in this respect, and joined with Straight
University in the formal observance of the day. The exercises, all under the general direction of Pastor Bothwell,
included, besides the customary reading of the President's Proclamation, the recitation of appropriate selections, and
particularly the Proclamation of President Lincoln declaring the slaves in the seceded states free, and the last three
amendments to the Constitution , which naturally require a prominent place among the blessings for which these
people have reason to be thankful.
In arranging the musical part of the programme, Miss Wise had the assistance of the principal of one of the largest
colored public schools in the city, who, by the way, is a remarkable exemplification to the colored poeple of the
possibilities in the way of independent achievement which lie within their reach.
President Hitchcock, in his address, brought out prominently as a cause for thankfulness the "good old times" which,
he would have us believe, are not a thing of the distrant past only, when our forefathers established the first
Thanksgiving Day, but are much rather the times in which we live. These are the "good times"; -- the times of
advancement in Christian charity, which shows itself in the prompt response to the appeal of the sufferers from the
Galveston fire, and more remarkably in the constant provision for the sufferers from sin and ignorance thoughout the
field of the American Missionary Association.
Marriages by Rev. W. S. Alexander
Marriages (by Rev. W. S. Alexander)
Anderson Saunders and Miss Ellen Bennett May 3, 1876
Thomas W. Colscott and Miss Fannie M. Hopkins Feb 28th 1877
John H. White and Miss Mollie C. Richards March 1 1877
Wm Overton Smith and Miss Virginia Conyers April 26, 1877
Joseph Leonard and Mrs. Sarah H. A. Cassel June 7th 1877
Joseph Bernard and Miss Maria Bibb Dec 14, 1877
Charles B. Wilson and Miss Alice J. Washington, Feb 20th 1877
George W. Kellar and Miss Estelle M. Smith, April 25th 1877
Stephen Quitman and Miss Lucretia Wilkins Feb 17 1879
James R. S. Hallowell and Miss Georgia B. Wilson Dec 1879
Edward F. Simmons and Miss Lillie Landry January 25, 1880
Louis t. Kenner and Miss Sarah F. Miller Feb 3rd 1880
Albert Robertson and Miss Mary I Smith March 23, 1880
John Washington and MisElnusa E. Smith March 23, 1880
Revd. Henry A. Ruffin and Miss Eliza Humphrey April 15, 1880
Samuel I Alston and Miss Fannie V. Scott, May 17th, 1881
Frederick M. Ward and Miss Millie Armaud Feb 2, 1882
Neils C. Lawson and Miss Eliza Miller, April 8, 1882
Joseph B. Craig and Mis Charlotte Dumas April 25, 1882
Albert L. Harang and Miss Virgina Smith June 6, 1883
Luke Ateman and Mrs. Martha Davis July 17, 1883
Lewis Williams and Miss Kate Sutton, July 24, 1883
Berry Hawkins and Miss Annette Henderson, July 26, 1883
Alexander Hall and Miss Nurrtz C. Vidall, March 18, 1884
Aaron Ross and Mrs Mary Mitchell (at Straight) April 7, 1884
Charles Franklin Harris and Mrs. Emma Cushman (Straight) April 21, 1884
Samuel Henderson and Miss Josephine Jackson (412 Camp St) April 24, 1884
Louis J. Joubert and Angie M. Bossiere, May 14, 1884
Toby A Smith and Nellie A. Ellis, May 28th 1884
Horatio H. Vincent and Aurora A. Bowman May 29, 1884
Joseph Wilkerson and Miss Mary Willis, June 21, 1884
John Wesley and Maria Weaver June 30, 1884
Ordination of Rev. George W. Henderson (1888-1890)
A Council of Congregational Churches was held in New Orleans, Sept. 16th, for the purpose of ordaining Prof. Geo.
W. Henderson, A.M., B.D., to the Christian ministry. Rev. R. C. Hitchcock, President of Straight University, was chosen
Moderator. Mr. Henderson sustained an excellent examination, and was installed Pastor of the Central
Congregational Church. The entire service was impressive, and Rev. Mr. Henderson enters upon a very responsible
change of a large church with many encouragements and hopes of great success.
End of the Central Congregational Society
On November 23, 1894 The Central Congregational Church of New Orleans succeeded the Central Congregational
Rev. Dunn Starts What Would Become the Hume Center
The Reverend Henderson H. Dunn started the first day-care center for Negro children in New Orleans in 1911 in the
basement rooms of the Old Church to meet the needs of that community. When the church moved in 1934, the New
Orleans Colored Day Nursery, as it was called, went to the vacant Daniel Hand School of Straight College, 118 North
Rocheblave Street. Renamed Isabella Hume Child Center and, by that time, an agency of the Community Chest, it
offered nursery, kindergarten and primary training to children from two to seven years of age. When the Hand School
was sold by Dillard University in 1951, the Center was relocated at the church site on the Tonti Street properties.
Church Letterhead 1916
Central Congregational Church
Rev. H. H. Dunn, B. D., Pastor
2536 Palmyra Street
Board of Trustees
Daniel Holland, President
Erneswt Harang, Secretary
Dr. J. B. Willis
Dr. L. T. Burbridge
Miss Lillie Phillipsen, Church Clerk
Miss Victoria Pierson, Sunday School Supt.
Mrs. Molly Smith, Treasurer
Social Service Work
Missw M. L. Alexjander, Directress
Mrs. E. Ledbetter, Miss Lillie Phillipsen, Miss Lela Johnson, Assistants
Directors of Boy’s Club
Prof. J. W. Hoffman, H. C. Gonzales, J. Crawford, J. W. Nelson, Albert Broussard
Mission Sunday School
Miss Mildred Lewis, Miss Henrietta Neine
Director Prison Work Miss M. F. Cripps
Employment Bureau with Teachers’ Agency
Church Undergoing Repairs at an Estimated Cost of $6300.
1917 - American Missionary Report for Community Worker - Alice O. Toler, Central Church, New Orleans, La.
Farewell Services of Rev. H. H. Dunn. B. D. Pastor of Central Congregational Church 1906-1921
Held Sunday, January 23rd 1921 moderated by Rev. A. Simmons
Invocation Rev. Milton Williams
Historical Sketch of the Church, Mr. Daniel Hollnd Trustee Emeritus
History of the Pastorate, Mrs. M. F. Cripps
Vocal Solo Miss Cecile Carter
Civic Leadership Rev. E. D. White
Remarks – Relation to the Public School System Professor H. T. Tatum
Remarks on behalf of Interdenominational Alliance, Rev. T. F. Robinson, Rev. E. Wittenberg, Rev. W. G. Alston
Remarks Relations to State Educational Association Prof. J. S. Clark, President of Southern Unitersity
Vocal Solo Mrs. Alma Lilly Hubbard
Farewell Rev. H. H. Dunn
From The Afro American - Oct 17, 1931
The colored community center, located at 118 North Rocheblove Street, was recently dedicated and named in honor
of Miss Isabell Hume, who came to New Orleans to the Central Congregational Church. Her leadership is said to have
marked the beginning of social service agencies in this city.
Among those responsible for the success of the project are: Mrs. Florence Chester, the Rev. N. Holmes, Mrs. G.
Labranche, Miss Lillie Phillipson, D. J. Buiday, Mrs. E. J. Allen, Mrs. E. A. Thornhill, Miss Mary Coghill, Miss Victoria
Pierson, Miss Ida Shamberger, Misses Hattie Dolar, Dora Cere, Georgia Keller and others.
The building which was far too large for the small congregation served for sixty-two years as the cultural center for
the entire Negro community, being the largest meeting place in the city. Commencements, conventions, grand
lodges, recitals and lectures were held the year round. In 1921, Central's Open Door policy premitted the Southern
Sociological Congress to hold its convention there when no other place of comparable size would accommodate the
integrated group. A city-wide banquet given for Booker T. Washington in 1915 was held in the spacious ground floor
In 1934 during Dr. Norman A. Holmes' pastorate, the Liberty Street site was sold when the area became commercial.
Fortunately, Straight College on Canal Street was preparing to merge with New Orleans University to form Dillard
University and its chapel was available for use by Central. The congregation remained there ten years until the Canal
Street property was sold in 1944. The church moved in with its sister church, Beecher Memorial Congregational
Church, which graciously offered its facilities and cordially welcomed the weary traveler. This amicable arrangement
lasted two years.
The present church site on the corner of Bienville Avenue and North Tonti Street was purchased in 1930 but the
Great Depression and World War II intervened and it was not until 1944 that ground was broken.
The Central-Beecher Quarterly
The Central-Beecher Quarterly was published quarterly by the Central and Beecher Congregational Churches in the
interest of the general life of the churches and the community, featuring especially the program of the Isbella Hume
March-June 1938 Board of Editors
N. A. Holmes Editor, Samuel A. Gillard, Assistant Editor, John Crawford, Central Church Activities, Mrs. Irma P. King,
Beecher Church Actives, Miss Beatrice Dunn, Religious Education, Miss Audrey Williams, Young People’s Activities,
Mrs. Mayme O. Brown, Civic and Social Relations, Miss Georgia Keller, Hume Center News, W. S. Davis, Jr, Boy
* * *
June 1, the minister of Central was elected the minister of Beecher Church for a period of one year. At the same time,
Messrs. A. V. Boutte, Sr., and Homer McEwen became assistants to the minister for both churches. The churches
also elected the following persons as lay preachers: For Central John Crawford and Samuel Hayward; for Beecher,
Samuel Gillard and Frank King. Two other important appointments were made. Mrs. Irma King was appointed Parish
Visitor and Miss Margaret Franklin, social worker.
July October 1938
The new church site and the parsonage legally became the property of the Central Congregational Church with the
help of the AMA Divison of the Home Boards (July 13)
Mrs. Mildred M. Clark was the head worker of the Hume Center.
William H. Jones a trustee of Central and a friend of the Hume Center died. Also Mrs. Lillie Simmons one of the
oldest members of the church
The New Church November 18, 1945
The new structure was a small one-and-a-half story brick veneer building with a 350-seat sanctuary on the first floor
and a parish hall on the second. It was dedicated on November 18, 1945 with Superintendent J. T. Stanley presiding
and Dr. Ernest M. Holliday, General Secretary of the Church Extension Board of the Congregational Church,
preaching the sermon. The Memorial Bell, sole relic of the Old Church, was placed on the front lawn and dedicated to
the thirty-two original members and the seven incorporators.
Minutes Oct 23, 1946
Meeting of the membership of Central Congregational Church was held on the above date for the purpose of
discussing the problems incidental to the liquidation of the indebtedness on the new church. The report on new
church building program was a follows: total costs $50,462.62. Present indebtedness $24,549.72 of this amount
$2600 to be paid in 1946.
This report caused much discussion because of misunderstandings. It was made clear that this debt was the
responsibility of the entire church and not of the few persons who so generiouly loaned money without interest, in
order to facilitate the building program. Proceeding to the consideration of the proposed budget in 1947 the body
voted to adopt the Budget of $15,800 which included $8220 to be applied to liquidation of loans including those to
members. The Every Member canvass to begin with a Fellowship Dinner on the 2inst Anniversary of the New Church
on Nov. 17th.
1947 the State conference was held at Lake Charles.
January 22, 1947
Rev. Homes stressed the fact that our beautiful plant and orgization would be of little avail unless we reached out in
the community and touched the lives of people. He projected a 3 point program in substance: 1. Faith in God thru
worship 2nd Fellowship in Christ 3 Freedom in the Spirit thru Education.
March 9, 1947 A joint service was to be held between the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational
Christian Churches on Palm Sunday 4:30 pm at Central a joint choir was asked to serve.
January 1, 1948
“that the church cease the practice of opening the body of any deceased person for review in the church.” After a
discussion of No. 10 it was decided to make a canvas of the membership before making a decided action.
Resignation of Dr. Holmes January 19, 1949
Just at this point the resignation of Dr. Holmes as pastor of Cental Congregational Church was read although it stated
June 30th as effective it caused much excitement. It is not possible to record the various expressions of regret on the
part of many persons present. We do regard as significant the fact that only after an appeal to the intelligence of the
membership did we accept the resignation in the spirit it was tendered.
Dr. Holmes was unanimously elected Pastor Emeritous He asked to be allowed to serve until the new minister was
received. The church was very happy and appreciative of this generous offer. The fact that New Orleans is not to
lose Dr. Holmes as he goes to a larger field at Dillard University compensates for his loss to Central Church.
1950 Ministers Report
On behalf of the members of Central Congregational Church, and myself, I extend to you the greetings of this Season
of love. As I look back over this, my first full year as Minister of Central, I can see many accomplishments, and many
things yet to be accomplished.
In terms of members, we have added 35 names to our rolls. In terms of organizations, three new ones have been
added to the life of the Church, namely, a men’s group, a young adult group, and a young people’s group. In terms of
worship, our choir has been increased to 24 members, and the organ and piano have been used each Sunday as
accompaniment. The Sunday morning attendance has averaged over 160 per week.
In terms of activities, many distinctive projects have been sponsored by the Church organizations, such as a May
Festival, a Neighborhood Play Program with a paid worker; an all-Church family picnic as well as several group
picnics; Vacation Church School; Hobby Show and Smorgasbord; Square Dancing; The use of crafts; An Anniversary
Dinner in the Parish Hall; Sunday Dinners in the Parish Hall, a completely renovated Church kitchen; a Minstrel by the
men; Broadcasts of our Morning Services; Great Woman of the Bible; Religious Movies; a Nativity Scene in front of
the Church; Watch Night Service on New Year’s Eve; First Sunday Evening Communion Service and Choir program.
Our membership as of January 1, 1951, is 335 members. Of this total there are 138 male members, 178 female, 19
children, and 208 families.
Hume Center 1952
(from 1952 Pastor’s report)
The Hume Center is one the children of Central in that it was born in the basement of Old Central during the
administration of Rev. H. H. Dunn, its founder. Later the Center was made a community program with members of
Central Comprising 51% of the membership of the Board of Directors. The ministers of Central have given consistent
leadership to this program since its founding.
The property in which the Center is now located is badly in need of repair, so for the past year, the Center Board has
been studying the possibilities of relocation or renovation of the property where the Center is now located. In April,
our Trustee Board set up a committee to look into the possibilities of working out a closer relationship with the Hume
Center, but this committee was kept on an inactive basis because of opposition to the proposal that the Center would
be relocated in our property.
The Center can not remain at the present location without extensive renovation of the property, and the Community
Chest will not grant permission to conduct a drive for this purpose, so the proposal that the Center relocate in the
properties of Central Church was renewed.
On January 10 of this year, the Hume Center Board of Directors voted relocate in the properties of Central Church,
and on January 15th, the Board of Trustees of Central Church voted to recommend to the Church that our property
be made available for the relocation of Hume Center.
The property refered to is the newly-acquired house at the rear of our building, and the educational portions of our
Church. Also, a building would be constructed on the Tonti Street end of our back yard for the purposes of
connecting our building with the property at 315 N. Tonti.
The Hume Center (November 8, 1956)
The Hume Child Development of our old church, and when the building was sold and the church moved to Straight
College campus the Center did likewise. By that time the Center had become a member of the Community Chest with
a board of directors composed jointly of Protestants and Catholics. Central Church has consistently maintained an
active interest in the welfare of the program, so in 1951 when the Hume Center was placed on a contingent budget by
the Community Chest and the Board of Health made it mandatory that extensive repairs be made to the property
which they were occupying at 118 North Rocheblave, the church felt that it should devote all of its resources to a very
important service in our community.
To achieve this end, it was necessary for us to purchase two pieces of property at 312-315 N. Tonti was torn down in
order to make play space, and the building at No. 315 was remodeled at a cost of $11,006.05, so that it would
contain four large classroom areas, a kitchen and storage area, adequate toilet facilities, an office and a loung
contains in excess of thirty-two hundred square feet of floor space.
Death of William Mitchell (The Afro American Feb 2, 1957)
Final rites were held this week for William H. Mitchell Jr. consul to Liberia and executive secretary of the Dryades St.
YMCA here, who died in Flint-Goodridge Hospital following a long illness. Mr Mitchell was 58.
Stricken on to Liberia, West Africa, Mr. Mitchell was taken to a hospital in monrovia where he was confined to bed for
more than a month. He was then flown back to New Orleans on Jan. 19 and was confined to Flint-Goodridge Hospital
until his death.
A native of Princeton, N. J. Mitchell came to New Orleans in 1924 to head the local YMCA and under his direction the
largest in the country.
For several years he had been consul here for Liberia and had been the guest of the African republic on three
He was a 33rd degree Mason, Prince Hall affiliation; a trustee of Central Congregational Church; a member of Alpha
Phil Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities; the Bunch Club and the Fronters of America.
Church Renovation 1958
In 1958, under Dr. Nicholas Hood, a major renovation of the structure, inside and out, was done at considerable
expense and provided many needed improvements. The church site was enlarged by buying two adjoining houses on
North Tonti Street; later, five small apartments were acquired for rental purposes. During the following pastorate, that
of the Reverend George A. Williams, a Wicks Organ was bought for $16,000, and the interior of the Sanctuary took
on the appearance it has today.
Resignation letter of Nicholas Hood
June 14, 1958
My dear friends:
In Augusti of this year, I shall begin my tenth year as your minister. During the past nine years, you have been loving,
helpful, forgiving, understanding, and you have manifested all of the virtues of Christians.
My one desire is to be a good minister of Jesus Christ, and I feel that for the full development of my ministry, I must
move on to a different experience in the ministry. In accordance with this thought, I have accepted the call of the
Plymouth Congregational Church, Detroit, Michigan, to be its minister.
I hereby submit my resignation from the ministry of Central Congregational Church, effective the first of September;
but my work withy you will actually cease as of the first Sunday in August. The remainder of the month will be used as
my vacation. In the past, I have used my vacation to take young people to camps and conferences; but this year, I
feel that a vacation with my family is essential.
I am taking this opportunity to call a meeting of the Church for Wednesday, June 18, 1958, 7:30 p.m. for the purpose
of setting up the Pulpit Committee with shall begin the process of selecting my successor.
Yours in His service, N
P. S. The above is the text of my resignation, but I want to add that working at Central Church has been the most
wonderful experience of my life. We, at Central, can boast that we have a church which is well on its way to becoming
a Church in which we have no dissention, no factions, no cliques; but we ar e one in Jesus Christ.
Leaving Central is a very difficult decision for me and my wife; but we shall always cherish the love and the friendship
which you have given to us. It has been thrilling to work so hard with the members of Central in the building of the
membership, the spirit of fellowship, the groups, the Hume Center, and all of the other jobs we have done together.
The extension of our property holdings and the renovation should assure the material future of the Church. The
assurance of the spiritual future of the Church is dependent upon the continued loyalty and devotion of each member
of the fellowship.
During the coming days of transition and readjustment, the future of the Central, as I know it, will be dependent upon
The 1972 Building
The new Educational Building provided for the needs of the Sunday School and house Hume Center. It was
dedicated at the Centennial observance on Sunday, April 23, 1972 at which time Rev. Roland H. Pantermuchl, D.D.,
Presidnet of the South Central Conference United Church of Christ, was the guest speaker.
Present church holdings valued at approximately three hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, include the church site,
a new brick parsonage at 2307 Bienville Avenue and the five small rental units, 2431-39 Beinville Avenue.
Always a small congregation with a membership that probably never exceeded 400 active adults, Central Church has
been a power for good in the community, motivated by a deep sense of commitment. This may be attributed, in large
measure, to the high type of leadership given by its pastors - fifteen regular, three interim and one associate - all well
educated and every one, without exception, holding a baccalaureate and graduate degree in theology.
For one hundred years, Central has enjoyed a closs association with its church-related school, Straight University
and its successor, Dillard University. The first five ministers were professors of theology at Straight (1872-1890) and
Dr. Holmes (1929-1949) was professor of Philosophy and Religion at Straight and Dillard for more than twenty-five
years until his retirement in 1957. Miss Isabella Hume, associate pastor (1892-1896), (for whom the Child Center was
named) and the Reverend Virgil Mayne (1929) also taught at Straight. Dr. Walter S. Alexander. third pastor (1876-
1884), was president of the University for seven of those years.
The Reverend M. C. Cole, Dr. Alexander and the Reverend George W. Bothwell, second, third and fourth pastors
respectively, were white as were Miss Hume and the Reverend Mayne.
The longest pastorate was that of Dr. Holmes - twenty years - and second longest, the Reverend Dunn - fifteen years
The saddest note in the entire history of the church was the tragic death of its fine young minister, the Reverend
Williams (1958-61), at the age of thirty. Afro American January 21, 1961: Funeral services were held last week here
for the Rev. George A. williams, pastor of the Central Congregational church, who died at Birmingham, Ala. He was
The Rev. Mr. Williams had been confined to a Birmingham hospital since he was injured in an automobile accident
last Dec. 5 while traveling to a convocation at Talledega College, Ala. Three persons were killed outright in an
A native of Cleveland, the Rev. Mr. Williams is survived by his widow, the former Beverly Adams of Detroit, and his
mother, Mrs. Azalia E. Williams; a brother, Stafford R. Williams, and a sister, Mrs. Irene Oliver, all of Cleveland.
Reverend William T. Green, began his labor at Central in 1961 and for eleven years has provided spiritual leadership
for the congregation. The Reverend Green was immediate past presidnet of the Greater New Orleans Federation of
Churches and was the first Negro to be elected to the presidency.
Five members entered the ministry: James E. Smith, ordained 1892; Homer McEwen, 1943; Andrew J. Young, Jr.,
1955; J. Knighton Stanley, 1962 and Archie Allen, 1965. All but Dr. McEwen were ordained at Central.
Six members have been have been honored for their dedicated service to the community and to Negro education.
The Orleans Parish School Board named schools for Mrs. Florence E. Chester, Miss Mary D. Coghill, the Reverend
Dunn and Dr. Lord Beaconsfield Landry, Lawrence D. Crocker, Alfred Lawless, James Lewis and Fannie C. Williams.
Dillard University named a women's dormitory for Miss Fannie C. Williams and the new Health and Physical Science
Hall for its former president, Dr. Albert W. Dent and Samuel DuBois Cook.
Central carred three denominational names: Congregational, Congregational Christion (1931) and United Church of
Christ (1957). It is an active member of the New Orleans Association and South Central Conference of the United
Church of Christ and of the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches. The church holds a life membership in the
Since 1960, the congregation of Central has increased the size of the church site by the addition of a double house,
321-23 North Tonti Street. Over the past six years, the membership has demonstrated considerable initiative and will
in its efforts to fulfill the mission of the church. A Captial Fund Drive for the new parsonage and the Educational
Building was promoted in 1966. And more recently, as a part of the Centennial effort, another major fund drive was
initiated. In these two capital fund raising projects, one hundred fifty thousand dollars will provide a bright horizon as
Central enters the second century of its history.
No history of Central Church would be complete without acknowledging the role of the American Missionary
Association in the life of the church. Central could not have survived without the wise counsel and financial
assistance of the AMA.
Around July 3, 1980 First Lady Rosalynn Carter attended the funderal services for Dr. Andrew Young Sr., at the
Central Congregational United Church of Christ. His mother Daisy Fuller Young was an elementary school teacher in
New Orleans and a graduate of Straight College. She died January 1, 1990
From the Afro American Jan 4, 1992
Vacation Bible School at New Orleans' Central Congregational church often looks like a children's science museum
these days. Smocked in plastic aprons, preschoolers blow giant soap bubbles, create make-believe tidal waves and
loot at bugs under magnifying glasses. Old children make batteries, build electric circuits and split light rays with
Church may seem like an unusual place to do sceince, but before churches like Central Congregational are through,
what once was odd may seem perfectly sensible.
Central congregational is one of several hundred Black churches throughout the nation that has teamed up with the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world's leading scientific organizations, to
do something about the serious shortage of Black science, math and engineering professionals in America.
With support from AAAS, the churches have set up various education programs that have children do hands-on
sceince or computer activities, visiting science museums, zoos, or botanical gardens, and learning about science and
technology related professions. The point is to stimulate young people's curosity about science, math and
engineering and encourage them to think about careers in these areas as real options.
Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard - A lot of people have been talking to me and they've been saying the music has a
lot of deep spiritual roots, and it does. I mean I grew up in a church, you know, I played in church every Sunday [at]
Central Congregational Church [in New Orleans]. As a matter of fact, Andrew Young was a member of the church,
and there were a lot of other local dignitaries who were part of that church. It is an amazing church. And growing up in
that church, you know, my father used to tell me all the time, he says "I don't care what time you get in from your gig,
playing a gig Saturday night, you've got to get up and go to church and play on Sunday morning." And so that was a
big part of my upbringing, you know, and that music has never--it's always been a part of me, always.
|Rev. Charles H. Thompson,
|Rev. M. C. Cole
|Rev. Walter S. Alexander, D.
|Rev. George W. Bothwell
|Rev. George W. Henderson,
|Rev. John W. Whittaker
|Miss Isabella Hume, Assoc
|Rev. J. D. Pettigrew
|Rev. C. Hunt (interim)
|Rev. Abraham L. Demond, D.
|Rev. Henderson H. Dunn
|Rev. Abraham L. Simmons
|Rev. A. Angold Brown
|Dr. James P. O'Brien, Interim
|Dr. Ludwig T. Larsen, Interim
|Rev. William L. Cash
|Rev. Virgil Mayne (interm)
|Rev. Norman A. Holmes D. D
|Rev. Nicholas Hood, D. D., L.
|Rev. George A. Williams
|Rev. Dr. Norman A. Holmes,
|Rev William T. Green
|Rev. Ralph E. Beets, Interim
|Rev. Dr. David E. Chambers
|Rev. Dr. Robert F. Harrington
|Rev. Paul H. Sadler, Sr.
|Rev. William Cox, Interim
|Rev. Dr. Lawrence T. Evans
||1993 - 1996?
|Pastors of Central Congregational UCC
|Wilbert Brown St., Vermon Martin Sr., Emile LaBrancche, Jr
|Philip Williams directing the Youth Choir
|Col James Breslin II and Andrew Young
Before 1913: Mrs. Henrietta M. Braden,Mrs. Henderson H. Dunn, Miss Annie Oten,
Miss Lucile L. Hutton, Mrs. D. D. Shackelford, Mr. Henry Stewart
Mrs. Paul Barnes, Mrs. Osceola A. Blanchet, Dr. Ernest Cherrie, Mrs. C. C. Dejoie,
Sr., Mrs. Mary Keller, Mr. W. J. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. W. I. McCann, Mr. D. D.
Shackelford, Mr. Wellington Thornton, Mrs. Andrew J. Young, Sr., Mrs. Jesse Young
|Rev. J. A. Adams
|Rev. W. S.
Alexander, D. D.
|Prof R. C.
|Prof W. J. McMurty
|Prof W. J.
|Rev. G. W.
|Charles B. Wilson
|Rev. J. W.
|J. L. Wimby
|E. W. Newsome
||1895-Sept 29, 1895
|James M. Rowland
||Oct 6, 1895 to 1897
|A. J. Starnes
|Early Sunday School Superintendents
| Register of Deacons
Register of Deacons
Frank Harris Jan 1981 to July 1, 1900 death
Charles C. Collins Jan 1891 resigned
Frank Taylor Jan 1891 resigned
Benjamin Keller Sr. Jan 1892
J. A. Norager died Dec 9th 1877
Leopold Bibolet April 26, 1876 to 1881
Isaac Wilson died March 25, 1882
Adolph Zemar deceased
Robert Robinson January 1884 deceased
James E. Smith Jan 1884 now a minister of the Gospel dismissed by letter to
Spain St. Church
| Sunday School Superintendents
Rev. J. A. Adams, 1876-1877
Rev W. S. Alexander, D. D. 1877-1881
Prof Cole 1881 1882
Prof R. C. Hitchcock 1882 1885
Prof W. J. McMurty 1885
Prof W. J. McClurtry 1886
Rev. G. W. Henderson 1889
Chas B. Wilson 1890
Daniel Holland 1891
Rev. J. W. Whittaker 1892
J. L. Wimby, 189429, 1895
E. W. Newsome 1895 to Sept 29, 1895
James M. Rowland Oct 6 1895 to 1897
A. J. Starnes 1899
| Society of Christian Endeavor
J. W. Whittaker Pres. 1892
Chauncy M. Crawford 1893
John Edgell 1894
Henry Franklin 1894
Mrs. P. E. Chester Vice Pres. 1892
Miss L. Philipsen Rect Sect 1891
Mr. W. H. Williams Vice President 1892
Miss O Harding Sect 1892
Miss Georgia Prime Sect. 1892
Miss Mary Ogleton Vice Pres 1892
Miss Rosa Fleming vice Pres. 1893
Miss Nellie Brisco Sect 1893
Miss Rosa Fleming Sect 1894
Mr. Joseph Mitchell Vice Pres 1894
Mrs. Fannie Hartsfield Sec 1894
Mrs. F. Chester Pres. 1895
Mr. H C Franklin Vice Pres 1895
Mrs. Cora Jones Sec 1895
Miss L. Philipsen Treas 1895
| Brotherhood of Andrew and Philip
J. L. Wimby pres
Henry Harris Pres
W. H. Jones Pres
J. L. Wimb Pres
J. M. Rowland Pres
J. L. Wimby Sec
E. M. Newsome Sec
Jas L. Mitchell Sec