Regulars and guests packed the sanctuary for Quinn Chapel AME Church's 164th anniversary service Sunday afternoon.
Choirs from several different churches performed during the service, with Rev. Clinton Stancil of St. Louis' Wayman AME Church delivering a guest sermon. Long-time and recent church members shared stories about the church and the relationships it fostered.
Freed slaves founded the church in 1850. A succession of structures held the congregation on a lot at 166 Miller Street until the mid-1950s, when the church had to relocate to 529 Lafayette due to highway construction. The church moved into its present facility last June.
Perry Douglas has been a member since his family moved to Jefferson City in 1947. He said the church was critical to black Missourians after the Civil War because the original church property was one of the few places where Lincoln University students were allowed to study. Douglas said he personally has fond memories of church members getting together to work on the building at 529 Lafayette.
"There was always God's work at hand," he said.
Douglas said he thought the Quinn Chapel congregation's fellowship, closeness and dedication to a common goal make it special among AME churches.