Founded in 1847, Big Bethel is the oldest running predominantly African American congregation in Atlanta. Though records indicated that the church existed before the establishment of Atlanta, the church did not become associated with the A.M.E. church, the first independent denomination in the country, until after the Civil War. Growing as a center for African American faith and free worship, the Big Bethel church thrived during difficult times, a beacon of community to all in Atlanta. Famous speakers have stood behind the pulpit including President William H. Taft and even Nelson Mandela. The church itself has been declared a national landmark while the architecture of the building remains as unique, bold, and steadfast as its congregation. The steeple, which is visible from several blocks away, is an iconic construction situated with a large neon sign reading "Jesus Saves," proclaiming to the city their beliefs, calling all to their doors.
You can visit Big Bethel A.M.E. during one of their weekly services and witness first hand the power of the sermons, the beauty of the historic church, and the community that is so in tune with each other, their faith, and the city that everything else fades away.