History of St. Julia A.M.E. Zion Church
St. Julia Temple A.M.E. Zion Church emerged from the family churches of St. Thomas and Moses Temple A.M.E. Zion Churches. When the membership of the St. Thomas Church declined, the few remaining members crossed the river and began worshipping at Moses Temple AME Zion Church. Though it is not clear when St. Thomas was founded, information on a cornerstone at Moses Temple stated that it was erected in 1873. The stone was placed in November 1922 by the Rev. W.L. Lawhorn. Other Pastors were listed as: the Reverends Jarman, Gilmore, Hill, McCarter as well as others whose names we do not have.
After several years of independent worship, the two churches consolidated. In the late 1930’s to early 1940’s Moses Temple was destroyed by fire. Bishop Elijah L. Madison promised to give the church $1,000 if the church would be named in honor of his wife, Julia. Julia Mosely Madison was a native of New Bern, NC and a member of Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church. The members took his offer and named the church Julia’s Temple.
Julia’s Temple began under the leadership of Rev. Hugh M. Reed. After worshipping for approximately two years in the sanctuary of First Baptist Missionary Baptist Church on Court Street, the family of Julia’s Temple made 112 ½ Kerr Street, Jacksonville, NC their new home. Information attained tells us that the first church, which was built from selling tons of fish sandwiches, fish dinners, hog chitterling sandwiches, and boiled peanuts, had saw-dusted floors and make-shift seats. The basement was the place where all sales took place, and was the main place of worship. In spite of the unexpected death of the builder, progress was made and the church was finished.
Progress continued to be made under the leadership of Rev. A.E. Hudson. During his ministry, windows were placed in the church. The Rev. A.W. Williams was instrumental in building the parsonage, which was located behind the church. St. Julia established herself as one of the leading churches in the area under Rev. Williams’ leadership. It is not clear exactly when the name of the church was changed, but in a twinkling of an eye she was no longer called Julia’s Temple but St. Julia African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
Under the ministry of Rev. Martin, the altar and choir areas were completely renovated. Carpet, cushion seats and a church bus were purchased during the ministry of Rev. C.L. Winslow. Reverends Felton, Martin, Bell, E.V. O’Bryan (who became a Presiding Elder), Reverends T.H. Harris, A.W. Washington, C.L. Winslow, Jeremiah Asbury (who became a Presiding Elder), Rev. W.L. Rush, Rev. Ellis Freeman, Rev. C. C. Satterfield, Jr., Rev. Larry Gordon and Rev. Dr. Robert Johnson (General Officer) have all been inspirational for the temporal and spiritual development of the church.
The Rev. Larry Gordon led the church in developing ministries in the Onslow community. He carried the church to a new level. Souls were saved and disciples were made as this pastor preached the Word of God.
August 2004 to February 2014, St. Julia was under the leadership of Rev. E.C. Dobson. Rev. Dobson is history; as she was St. Julia’s first female pastor. She came with a vision, empowered the people, and preached with authority under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Her leadership inspired the church to new levels spiritually, financially, and numerically. Rev. Dobson led St. Julia in building a 21st Century Church and paying $1.5 million during its construction. Though St. Julia has always been a progressive church, the new structure has afforded her many opportunities to partner with civic, cultural, and charitable organizations. St. Julia sponsors After School and Summer Enrichment Programs through the James C. Brown Youth Center, Inc. Outreach to the community continued and St. Julia expanded her reach in the AME Zion Church as members of all ages increased their attendance and participation at every level of the church.
On March 2, 2014, Rev. Dr. Amy S. Ciceron was appointed as Pastor. Under her leadership we have started a Youth/ Young Adult Choir, added noonday Bible Study and made additions to Audio/Visual. The word of God continues to be preached and new members are being added. The rich legacy of St. Julia continues and we look forward to many more years under the leadership of Dr. Ciceron. To God Be The Glory! Great things He is doing.