Apparently Murdock Chapel existed in the early 1800s, but the exact date of its origin has not been determined. What is known is that the grandfather of Mrs. Mary Murdock was one of the founders. It has also been confirmed that Murdock joined the Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881, under the leadership of Bishop Henry M. Turner, who was consecrated as a bishop in 1880.
The father of present day members Mildred Hollis and Gladys Taylor, Professor O. L. Pinkston, was born in 1891. His mother's father was a founder of Murdock and his father was a member of Murdock up until his death at age forty.
The cornerstone of our former edifice was dated 1904. It stands despite the fact that a tornado ripped through Mt. Meigs in 1937. It could have destroyed the church, but in God's providence, it was only knocked off its blocks on one side. Rev. R. A. Daly who was pastor at that time led in the repair of the structure.
We have determined that the pastors of Murdock since 1925 have been the Reverends Bland, Turner, Green, Hargrove, Spiers, Ware, Dennis, Daly, Wells, Cousins, Cowin, Owens, Dawkins, Norwood, Lowe, Brock, and Hollaway. In late 1997, Watford served as Murdock's Interim Pastor. Reverends Webb, Bush, Scott, and Stallworth followed. At the close of the 2009 Annual Conference, Pastor Watford returned to Murdock.
From A Circuit Church To A Station Church
Prior to 1995, and for as long as anyone at present can remember, Murdock was a circuit church. What that means is Murdock shared its pastors with a sister church. Murdock's sister church was the now defunct Parks Chapel AME Church, in Montgomery, AL. For many years, Parks Chapel met on 1st and 3rd Sunday, while Murdock met on 2nd and 4th Sundays.
At the Alabama Annual Conference of 1995, under the leadership of the Reverend Lamar Holloway, and with the blessing of Bishop C. E. Thomas, Murdock transitioned from a circuit church meeting twice a month, to a station church meeting fifty-two Sundays per year. It was during the tenure of the Reverend Holloway (1993-1997) that the choir area was enlarged and the fellowship hall was constructed. Following the untimely death of Rev. Holloway, then Presiding Elder Perry filled the pulpit, until Rev. Watford, then an itinerant deacon, was sent in September 1997 by Bishop Z. L. Grady, to fill the same until the close of the planning meeting in November.
On November 2, 1997, the Reverend James W. Webb came to Murdock, also appointed by Bishop Grady. The church immediately responded to the five purposes of the church: worship, service, evangelism, fellowship and discipleship. These were the same purposes for which the parents and grandparents of those current members worked to fulfill. But, shortly thereafter, it was as though the devil came into the midst (of Murdock) and attempted to destroy (it). For the next few years, the church struggled.
In November 2001, Rev. Tony Scott followed Rev. Michael Bush. It has been said that under the leadership of Pastor Scott, Murdock learned that through much prayer God binds us together. Murdock became a praying church, looking to God for direction, rather than looking to ourselves. Members learned to forgive one another, work together, sing together, and worship together. Determined to look beyond each other's faults, the members learned to work out their differences in genuine love and support.
Thus ends the history of Murdock as documented in its Church Anniversary Souvenir Journal, dated March 30, 2003, as recollected by Richard Bowden and as adapted by Pastor Watford, in June 2010.
In the years since this history was compiled, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland appointed the Rev. Carla Stallworth as pastor of Murdock. She served this congregation until such time as the Rt. Reverend James L. Davis appointed the Rev. Dr. Letitia Watford to this pulpit.
Since Pastor Watford's arrived in 2009, the Chapel has made tremendous strides in its growth and development. We have erected a state of the arts, multifunctional worship center. She served this congregation until 2016 as the Rt. Reverend James L. Davis appointed the Rev. Sheryl Shipman to this pulpit.
Pastor Shipman brings many gifts to the pulpit that will help us continue to grow from great to greater. We are determined to be that light upon a hill that draws to Christ. We are striving to be that positive force that impacts and transforms lives from within the walls and beyond. To GOD be the GLORY!